I should point out that I'm a bit of a skeptic and also a cheapskate when it comes to nutritional supplementation. I should however point out that I had taken supplements in the past during a 5 year bout of bodybuiding in University so I am familiar with the concept and the benefits that some supplements can add to a nutritional plan. I'm someone who generally eats lots of food, and most of it healthy, so I have a better base than most folks my age. I'm constantly tweaking my diet and training always looking to make improvements but at this point in my life I felt I was in a good position to evaluate the benefits of adding some specific nutritional supplements. To go back to my comment that I'm a cheapskate, I considered going to the bargain bin at the grocery store and grab expired supplements like I did in University, and that is certainly one option, but in general the supplement industry has a bad rap and its for a reason. They frequently are caught overstating quantities claimed on their labels, using less expensive sub-par, similarly named ingredients, and/or are creating products full of fillers that provide no benefits.
After hearing about a local supplement company called Liv9, I invited Greg, founder of Liv9 and a local pharmacist, to my house and share some information about his packaged products and his custom formulations. During this visit I realized one thing, that if I was going to supplement my nutrition I was going to do it with Liv9 because I trust them to provide me with what I'm paying for. I can live with the fact that I may take something that my body doesn't need but I will not spend hard earned money on products that are fake or fraudulently labelled. Liv9 products are created by pharmacists whom I personally trust and their packaged products are manufactured by companies they carefully selected to meet their standards so at the end of the day you get what you are paying for. The next question I wanted to answer was whether or not any of this would or could help me.
During the 12 week winter training block, I took turmeric and vitamins every day and then after my hard workouts I took the recovery blends mixed with juice/gatorade/etc. What I noticed, as someone who has been training quite diligently for 6-7 years and who has a good nutritional base, is that my knee pain flare ups were certainly less intense and less frequent and I was recovering noticeably faster. For me, someone who runs 1-3 times a day, this meant I could get back to training hard much sooner after my hard workouts. I was running harder, faster and able to do so more frequently than I have for quite some time. As any marathoner knows, long term consistency is the key to success and to meeting goals and those small incremental progressions over the long term add up. The earlier in your training block that you plateau the less likely you will be to break your previous best time so ideally progress continues right up until close to the end of the training block. For this marathon I had set out to improve my time by 5mins, which was quite lofty for someone who's been at it for quite some time. My Boston race didn't quite go as planned but coming within seconds of my best under some pretty tough conditions was definitely a good sign. But then, what blew me away was that I was able to follow it up less than 3 weeks later with a Personal Best in Fredericton Marathon, which was a huge indication that my recovery had improved.
It's now June, the marathons are done and I'm taking aim at two 100mile races taking place in August. As expected, I'm ramping up training, and designing a new improved supplementation program. I've also signed on as an official Ambassador for Liv9. I promote Liv9 because I like what Greg is doing and see value in the products he and his team creates, but now I'll get a discount on the products and in exchange I'll share my experiences with the various products and custom blends I try. Once I've got my next batch of supplements I'll share the details. As a sneak preview I'm working with Greg on a supplement I can take during my races to reduce cramping episodes, which I'm prone to in long hot races.