Thursday, March 28, 2013

Squirrel Wipe Book is Available!

"Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel: A trail running, ultramarathon, and wilderness survival guide for weird folks" is finished! As of right now, it's only available in ebook format, but it can be purchased from me (.pdf or .epub format), Amazon (Kindle format), or Barnes and Noble (Nook format.)

Links to all the formats can be found over at Barefoot Running University on my "Books" page.

Want a sample? Get it here (uses e-Junkie, my file distribution service): Squirrel Wipe Sample

Here's the topics covered:

Why DO people run trails?
What is a trail?
Technical versus nontechnical trails
How does trail running compare to other activities?
Trail etiquette
Elements of good running form
Run efficiently
Difference between road running gait and trail running gait
Uphill technique
Downhill technique
Snow and ice
Water crossings
What to drink
Food before a run
Food during a run
Food after a run
Trekking poles
Carrying water
Knowing where to find water
Water from natural sources
Map and compass
Natural navigation aids
Cell phones
Personal location beacons
Personal protection
Flashlights and headlamps
Familiarity with local weather patterns
Checking the weather forecast
Natural weather predictors
What to do in a severe thunderstorm
Dangerous fauna
Stretching and rolling
Learning to fall
Falling off a cliff
Preparing for trouble
First aid kit
Survival stuff
Building a fire
Running with dogs
Running Naked


Why you should run ultras
What does it take to run ultras?
Do you have to be a good runner?
The different race options
Choosing your first ultramarathon
Learning about the race
Elevation profiles
How much do ultramarathons cost?
What about fatass races?
The difference between road and trail ultras
Taking the leap and signing up
Finding the time to train for ultras
Balancing life commitments
Is there such thing as a perfect career for ultramarathons?
Give me a training plan!
How do you choose a training plan?
Using heart rate as a training tool
Do you have to follow the plan religiously?
Listening to your body
Training partners
Training run conversations
How to get rid of that annoying training partner
The art of experimentation
Hill repeats
The long run
Course specificity training
Losing weight for race day
Race etiquette
Runner personalities
Race strategy
Run/walk strategy
So how do you get faster?
Walking technique?
Speeding up strategy
Fasting while training
Gluttony training
Shave the junk or rock the ‘fro?
Foot care
Popping blisters
Night running
Sleep deprivation training
Learning when shit’s about to go bad
Racing as training
Coaching and ultramarathons
Does body type matter
Drop bags
After the race
Some additional ultrarunning tips
About us
Other writing projects

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Confirmation Post

Regular readers, disregard this post. I'm working on making the book available via Amazon and need to conform I'm the owner of the material. Details of the book will be released soon.

Folks at Amazon, I am indeed the author, copyright holder, and sole owner of distribution rights for the content here on the Squirrel Wipe blog,some of which appears in the submitted ebook "Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel..." (ID:3460400.)

Some of the material in the manuscript also comes from my Barefoot Running University blog.

-Jason Robillard

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Food: Eating During a Run

Fueling during a run can be difficult logistically, so I would recommend taking two approaches:

1. Train using food typically found at ultra aid stations, like candy, chips, boiled potatoes, cookies, soda, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or any specific food a goal race advertises. This will allow you to use aid stations for fueling if necessary. I prefer to use my own food, but have run into situations when it wasn't available. Learning to fuel off what is available can solve a lot of potential problems.

2. Find foods that work well for you. This includes foods that are easy to carry, can be stuffed in drop bags, or can be carried by your crew. Since many ultras are run far from civilization, non-perishable foods that require little or no preparation would be ideal. Also, your palate will change throughout a race. What tastes good at mile five probably won't taste good at mile 35 or mile 95. Test different foods at different distances.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Food: Eating Before a Run

Through extensive experimentation, I've managed to find a handful of foods that work well as a pre-run meal. The criteria is straight-forward: The food has to be easy to digest and give me plenty of energy that will last for a relatively long time, yet still be relatively "digestible." 

My preferred foods, in order of preference, are:
  • Pop Tarts (frosted strawberry)
  • Muffins
  • Miniature Donuts
As you can tell, I'm a fan of sweet pastries.

To figure out which foods work best, test a different food before each run. I would recommend giving a food at least two opportunities as results can be influenced by other factors.

Some other popular foods include:
  • Fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Pancakes
  • French toast
  • Anything from the breakfast menu at McDonald's


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update on progress

Hey all, I'm prepping for my upcoming clinic schedule and haven't had a chance to write the new posts as frequently.  They're still coming, it'll just be a little slower.

Thanks to all those that have commented with additions!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Food: How Much Do You Need?

Running burns energy... a lot of energy. Most people burn somewhere around 100-130 calories per mile traveled. Over the course of an ultra, that adds up to at least tens of thousands of calories. As I prepare for an ultra, I like to get an idea of how much food I will need to consume. I like to simplify this process as much as possible.

Before starting the process, let's look at a few principles. Our body can use two primary fuel sources- fat and carbohydrates. Carbs burn quickly and efficiently. Fat burns slowly. If you're running fast, our body will burn carbs. The slower we run, the more fat our body uses as fuel. The “crashing” feeling we get is the result of making the switch from carb-burning to fat-burning.

Our bodies have a limited supply of carbs available at any given time, but we have a HUGE supply of fat. If we want to burn carbs, we need to constantly replace them by consuming calories during the run. This will allow us to run faster. We could get by without eating anything and rely on our fat stores, but we would have to keep intensity to a minimum. It's like the difference between throwing a piece of newspaper on a fire versus a giant oak log- the paper burns quickly with a huge flame while the log burns longer with a much less intense flame.

Through training, I know I can run about 18 miles before my carbohydrate supply is exhausted. At that point, my body switches to fat-burning mode and I slow down considerably and experience a crash. I can calculate a ballpark estimate of the carbs I have to consume during the run to avoid that crash by subtracting 18 from the total miles of the race, then multiplying that number by 100.

50 miles - 18 miles = 32
32 * 100 = 3200 calories needed during the run to avoid the crash

In a 50 miler, I know I have to consume approximately 3200 calories. This is where it gets a little tricky. Most people can only digest about 200-300 calories per hour. Let's assume we can process 250 calories per hour. If you're running at a 12 minute/mile pace (for a 10 hour finish), you could consume 2500 calories during that 10 hour race. Since you need 3200, you won't be able to consume enough to avoid a crash.

The problem becomes more pronounced with longer races. How about a 100 miler?

10 miles – 18miles = 82
82 * 100 = 8,200 calories needed during the run to avoid the crash

This is what I do to remedy the situation:

1. Train to eat. I've managed to get to the point where I can comfortably eat up to 500 calories per hour when running, which allows me to keep fueling throughout most races.
2. Train to burn fat. This is the idea behind the Maffetone method discussed earlier. This is also the reason I occasionally do long runs after fasting for 24 hours.
3. Start consuming calories from the beginning of a race. The longer you wait, the less opportunity you have to stay ahead of the carb game.
4. Find foods that are palatable even after running long distances. I have at least four “backup foods' in case the aid station foods aren't cutting it.
5. Know what the 'crash' feels like. When it starts to hit, slow down and consume something sweet.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hydration: Drinking Water from Questionable Sources

You're out on a long run and your bottle goes dry. You start experiencing the early signs of dehydration. You nowhere near a drinking fountain or a store. What do you do?

I've run into this scenario many times over the years... and always choose the same course of action- I scavenge for water anywhere I can. That has included drinking from streams, lakes, a water hose in some random person's yard, and making a funnel out of a leaf during a rain storm.

There's always an inherent danger in drinking water from questionable sources. The water may contain organisms that can make you sick, like giardia or dysentery. The water could also be contaminated with poisons which could kill you. It's always a gamble.

In an emergency situation, I look for water that contains some form of life. If a water does not have any signs of life (fish, plants, etc.), odds are pretty good that it's undrinkable. Next, I make a filter out of a bandana and a water bottle by placing the bandana over the mouth of the bottle and attaching it with rubber bands (I keep a few rubber bands wrapped around all m water bottles). When the bottle is submerged, the bandana acts as a filter.

It's not nearly as effective as boiling the water, using a commercial filter, or chemically purifying the water, but I rarely if ever have the tools required for elaborate purification. The homemade filter will likely trap most of the harmful stuff and is better than drinking straight from the questionable source.