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Improving Endurance


XRe
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I shot the SpaceCity match in a half-day format. I went through 5 stages with no penalties, and 1 D, otherwise shooting a bunch of points. Stage 6, I dropped a bunch of points. Stages 7 and 8 each had a mike, both as a result of loss of focus. I noticed around Stage 6 that I was starting to flag both in terms of physical energy, and mental clarity.

I have a couple of ideas on how to improve on this, but I'm interested in what y'all do to help keep it together on a long (or short, even) day, and keep your game tip-top. I can think of things ranging from better physical fitness, to better nutrition, to better energy management through the day (like, sit down once, for gosh sakes...) - what works for you?

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Hydration is the single biggest cause of low stamina. Most people don't drink enough on any given day, but when we are on our feet all day and taking part in competitions then the effect becomes more prominent.

Hydration needs to start days before a big match (preferably contstantly well hydrated).

If you fell thirsty then you are de-hydrated, if you are shooting in a match then your body needs more fluid than normal but if you are already thirsty then the damage is done.

If you search on the Internet for hydration you will find more info. than you can read in one lifetime. Put simply if you are not properly hydrated then all the fitness work, energy bars etc. won't help you.

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Hydration is huge for endurance. Even a small dip in your body's level of water ie: 2%, can reduce your endurance by 30%.

Try jogging or riding a bike. Just remember, that last 10 minutes that hurts so bad is where all the gain is.

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It's interesting that all three of you guys mention hydration... I'm notorius for losing fluids in a hurry, especially in humid conditions. And somehow, I didn't show up at the match w/ enough water in the car. I had a couple of bottles of Gatorade that I finished with, but somewhere in there I definitely fell behind on the fluids.

That one is relatively easy to implement quickly. Good stuff. I'll do some research, etc, and put this in my goals as something to improve, so I stay focused on it.

What else?? :)

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I read a quote regarding hydration "drink till you pi$$ Evian." A Camelback or similar hydration pack makes a big difference, IMO. It is just so convenient to have the hose right there.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think I may have finally learned this lesson as well. I would "melt down" at almost every match I shot. This year I finally learned to eat a little something before I go, take a few "snack bars" and some Gatorade type drink (I found water just doesn't cut it). I take a few sips between stages even when i don't think I'm thirsty. Now I'm not saying I shoot better but I feel better at the end of the match. :)

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Gatorade should not be consumed just at matches as it can cause cramps. When drinking Gatorade start drinking it days before in practice so the body gets used to it. Better yet, mix 2 parts Gatorade with 1 part water to cut down on caloric intake. Drink enough so you feel the urge to urinate every couple of hours.

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I rarely sit down during the course of a match and never feel physically or mentally 'zoned-out'.

I attribute that to adequate hydration and improved physical fitness (started a consistent exercise program 18 months ago, and have never felt better).

So...I agree with the other postings...

+1 on the hydration (cool water works best for me).

+1 on the exercise regimen - resistance training & cardio work (walking, running, elliptical).

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One of the things I have noticed is that my worst stages tend to be the ones I shoot early and the better ones typically come later in the day.

I attribute this to lack of quality practice time.

It usually takes a couple of stages to get into a good rhythm.

Therefore I do better in matches that I shoot in a day rather than the two day format.

The problem is that 10-12 stages on a hot summer day is gruelling.

The things I do to deal with this are:

1. Others have stated it, I'll say it again ... stay hydrated.

2. Sit down once in a while and conserve your energy.

Even if it is just for a few minutes you'll be surprised how much that helps.

3. Keep your range bag light. I used to start the match with all my ammo, now I only carry enough to get me through the morning and go back to my truck for more at lunch.

Either that or get some sort of cart to pull your stuff around.

4. Gold's Gym baby! .... Started doing cardio and weight lifting about a year ago expressly for improving my IPSC game. It has made a world of difference.

Tls

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XRe, that's why I was wearing a camelback last weekend at Waco. I'll also tuck in some food, whether that's a power bar, Gu, or jerky - something to snack on during the day. That, and exercising helps out a lot.

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Hydrate a couple of days before the match. Load up on carbs the night before the match, and the morning of. Try to stay away from meat and dairy products.

The night before our state match, I ate salad, a little baked chicken...and tons of baked potato.

I continued my hydrating the morning of (I had to go once a stage), and during the match. I also ate a powerbar and some fruit during the match, nothing heavy.

It was hot down here (MS), and I shot all 8 stages in one day. I could have gone another 4.

Edited by BlackSabbath
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Gatorade should not be consumed just at matches as it can cause cramps. When drinking Gatorade start drinking it days before in practice so the body gets used to it. Better yet, mix 2 parts Gatorade with 1 part water to cut down on caloric intake. Drink enough so you feel the urge to urinate every couple of hours.

I agree about the gatorade. I mix it 1 to 3 myself. Straight water can throw your electrolyte balance off. Gatorade "lite" is the way to go.

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My son and I started the tradition of eating a big breakfast before silhouette matches. He would set targets and needed the energy. Now that he doesn't shoot with me anymore I have a big breakfast with my shooting buddy. Lunch is not a certainty around here. I really think it helps, plus we get to talk trash while we eat.

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what works for you?

Major match:

Breakfast: Normal, eggs, bacon, hash browns, rollaids, advil, and 2 cans of RED BULL

Hydrate with Gatoraid as necessary

Mid morning snacks: GORP(homemade) and a can or two of RED BULL

Hydrate with Gatoraid as necessary

Lunch: Tuna on a hardroll some chips and a can or two of RED BULL

Diner: Bourbon (Dinkle) and its bed time

The caffine in the RED BULL helps keep me alert, that Rollaids kill the acid build up and the Advil dulls the pain from previous injuries. The Bourbon helps with the overdose of caffine when its time to crash.

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Dave,

Having just completed teaching my 800th Hot Weather Injury Prevention class (not literally, but it's not far off and it definitely feels that way), I'll give it to you in brief and what I would recommend for a match.

I won't say you were dehydrated, but rather inadequately hydrated. Meaning, a combination of not enough fluids and a drop in electrolytes. So, the obvious answer is hydration and chemical balancing.

Now, the first answer that folks think of is Gatorade. And, frankly, it's not a bad option in a pinch. However the same ingredients that make it good for an immediate solution make it equally a problem. The sugar and salt content of it help restore electrolytic balance, but in turn also act as a diuretic.

So, here's a solution (and it's what I use when we're in the field for days on end, and especially when I was at Benning during Heat Cat 5 conditions). Several days before the match, begin adequately hydrating. Meaning, figure that 3-4 liters of water per day is your baseline. If you do any cardio, add about a liter of water for every 15-20 minutes of aerobic activity. As a side note, I really, really like the elliptical machine. Great workout, great sweat and definitely gets you breathing correctly (especially if you're a runner).

On match day spend 10-20 minutes stretching out all your major muscles, just working head to toe and get the blood flowing. Kind of out of order, drink a liter before bed. Have a light but balanced breakfast. Easy on the fast release carbohydrates and again, balance is the key. Be constantly drinking during the day, especially in a humid environment. True story. The '03 or '04 Area 4 in Princeton, LA, I drank 24 bottles of water and never went to the bathroom once. Humidity is a bear and I sweat a lot! So, the rule of thumb as others have noted is if you're thirsty, it's already too late.

Use lunch to be your chance to refuel but don't over do it. Again, light and balanced. And again, hydration. An initial sign of proper hydration is always clear urine. It's not definitive, but it gives you an idea of where you are at.

Tips: I keep a couple of small packets of PowerBar gel in my aid bag, just for points in the day where I'm hungry, or need that little extra boost of energy. Too, if I ever do reach that point of needing a quick shot of electrolytes (and for some reason don't have my aid bag around) a 50/50 Gatorade and water solution is the ticket. About 1.5 Liters of 50/50 and straight water after that is all you need.

Like others have said, and I'll reitterate, hydrating a couple of days (2-3) before the match day is the biggest key. Hydrating the day of or the night before will help, but the fluid perfuses and stabilizes much better if done days prior.

Hope that helped.

Rich

P.S. I forgot to mention on the cardio. Do 20-30 minutes between levels 8-12 of the Hills routine on a good elliptical machine 3 times a week and you're golden. You'll burn about 350 calories (during) and about 600 total (if you don't eat for like 30 minutes afterwards). With my soldiers, we train twice a day and specifically restrict water intake after a workout to at least 30 minutes. But that's us.

Edited by uscbigdawg
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Rich, what are your thoughts on potassium supplements? I know from a previous life that potassium is supposed to help your body "manage" fluids. I used to do a banana before or early on in a match (when I remembered), but what with having to watch my blood sugars I've taken to using a dose of potassium carbonate the day before and the morning of hot-weather matches. It's been very effective at helping me stave off those headaches that come from losing too much fluid.

*Side-note: My head sweats something fierce! Or at least, it used to.

Honestly, I sweated like Mike Tyson taking SAT's. All day long I was wiping my face with a towel, to the point it would be raw by the end of a match.

On a recommendation I started using "Dry-Sol" (aluminum chloride hexahydrate) on my head, including my forehead. It will burn the hide off you at first, sort of like one of those chemical peels ladies pay so much for, but it has definitely gotten the cranial fluid loss under control. Once you get conditioned to it it's no problem.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Waiting for someone to suggest blood loading :D

Seriously, I'm going to get away from the hydrate and exrecise comments since it has been more than covered.

Big Key, learn to turn your focus on and off. By this I mean, if you have finished a stage and it's awhile before the next, like a Nationals sched. or an area match with big squads, you don't need to stay keyed up. Relax, shoot the breeze with your squad mates, pick up some brass...but just get your mind off the shooting for a bit. You don't have to get wired up again until you get the walkthrough for the next stage. Too many times I see guys that are staying (or trying to) stay tight for the whole day. You can't, mentally it's too tough. Physically you may still feel strong but your mind will fade. You only have to be 'on' for about 5 to 10 min per stage, including the walkthrough, planning and shooting, for the rest of the hour or so you are on the stage it's pointless to keep your game face on.

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On potassium supplements, a banana is actually great pre-match food. Normally, my only gripe about bananas is that it's a natural weight gainer, and you can find identical potassium levels in an orange.

I honestly don't know that much about supplementing potassium, but it's sound. I would think that a good daily multi-vitamin (Megamen, Centrum, et. al.) would do the trick too.

Pat hit the nail on the head too. You see this a lot in tennis players and it's where I learned it from (played tennis in college). If you watch the pros, after a winning point, they will almost on cue, clinch their fist, and exhale abruptly. This is a focal release trigger. It's a cue to relax, and reset your pre-point preparation. Go to the baseline, wipe off your face, hands, arms and racquet. Bounce the ball a couple of times at the service line (if you're serving), breathe and go as if it was 0-0.

It's a great way to stay in it, especially in humid/hot environments. When you come off a stage, unload your mags, wipe stuff down, clean the mags, reload, and reset. It's why when I RO/CRO a stage I really push that the "In The Hole," shooter is down along with the "On Deck," shooter so that there's ample time to reset and program the stage.

Rich

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WOW, there is some GREAT info here guys!!!!

Drinking enough is very difficult, but I have found that by drinking "room temperature" water it is much easier to drink the large quantities that are required of "high endurance" sports. The cold water, yes I prefer water over Gatorade, seems to be easier to consume in the high volume required.

Give it a try, it might work for you too. Remember, it is about health, not the instant gratification of taste and refreshment!!!

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I hate Gatorade as a basis for hydration. I tell my soldiers that for every drop of Gatorade they owe me two of water.

Gatorade is high in calories and sugar. It's great as a means of electrolyte replacement, but should be used with water, not to replace water.

Rich

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Good stuff, guys... It's hard to find info on the web that gets some of this across. Literally, every article that I found suggests Gatorade (or something just like it) 100% - mainly referencing that water has a tendency to activate the bladder, cause there's no electrolyte content to force osmosis, etc... While that also makes sense to me, it seems like it would make more sense for someone engaging in a constant high energy sport, and not something like what we do where it's mostly "stand around and wait".

After a couple of experiments, I have found that if I find myself behind on hydration (as witnessed by an inability to focus, heart rate way up, etc), Gatorade seems to be much more effective at helping to catch up (catching all the way is basically impossible at that point) than straight water.

Next time out, I'll try diluting the Gatorade down 1:2 or 1:3, and using a lot more straight water, and we'll see where that gets me. For some stupid reason, I haven't remembered to start the hydration routine until day before, so I need to make a better effort there - especially in this TX heat (going to be 103 this week....).

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