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How to make a proper checkpoint for your next ultramarathon

Become a stronger, fitter athlete in less time with minimal risk of injury.

How to make a proper checkpoint for your next ultramarathon

Do you have a support team for your next ultramarathon? Here's what you need for a successful race and a 'full' Check-Point.

The support team and a checkpoint just for you are the essential elements that can make the difference between a good result and a great result. A checkpoint just for you for an ultramarathon requires extra planning, but 10 minutes of pre-race planning can improve your result by up to half an hour for a 100km race that takes between 15 and 25 hours. Plus, you have an excuse to meet up with a loved one during the race who will put a big smile on your face during the toughest times. 

I’ve been running ultramarathons for more than 10 years and every race is an opportunity to improve my checkpoint and the routine I develop in the few minutes I spend in the hydration station. The best ultramarathoners spend a total of between 10 and 20 minutes in all the checkpoints of a 20-hour, 170-kilometre race like the UTMB.

The photo in the article is from the 2021 National Ultramarathon Championships where I finished 3rd, but everyone admired my checkpoint and Maria’s agility to set it up in minutes and give me just what I needed. If you’ll read to the end, I’ll tell you a tip on how to install it perfectly every time. 

Rule #1. Before you read the next few lines, the main rule is that your checkpoint is installed before you get to it. It has often happened that athletes get to the place where the checkpoint should be and it was not installed and the athlete wasted time. The idea is to do whatever it takes to gain time, not to waste time and linger in the cp.

Rule #2.The support team should have your flasks of water, isotonic, ready for both the checkpoint and the next leg of the course before you get to them. It is a mistake to spend time in the checkpoint just for this. 

What have I prepared in the checkpoint?

(As in the photo)

1. It is important that all gels (bars, baby food, etc.) stay on an envelope/pouch, so that when you leave the checkpoint it is empty and all nutrition is stuffed into your jacket pockets. This is your assurance that you’ve got what you need for the next section – leave that area empty.

2.Hydration for the next section, in flasks. As with nutrition, it’s essential to take everything you’ve planned with you. Even if your vest feels heavy after you leave the checkpoint, don’t spill water, because you’ll need it. It’s clear that you have a clearer mind when planning than during the competition, so trust what you’ve set beforehand. I generally put 500ml of water in a flask + 500ml water + isotonic or Maurten 160 in another flask.

3.Electrolyte tablets. The first thing I do when I get into CP is take 1-2 electrolyte pills like this one (SaltStick).

4.Hydration from checkpoint / 4.1 – Plain water / 4.2 – Mineral water / 4.3 – Isotonic / 4.4 Orange juice (in the last few ultramarathons I gave this up because it gave me insulin spikes, gave me energy, but then I quit).

5. Wet towel, cold – for wiping on neck/face/hands/feet (preferably in that order).

6. Salty cravings casserole – for salty cravings.

7. Fruit to eat at checkpoint, only if I have a craving.

8. Liquid Cravings – liquid stuff I’ve had in training and possibly crave during the competition. 8.1 – applesauce, 8.2 – ginger beer, 8.3 – mango smothie, raspberry.

9. Simple carbs – Coke, Red Bull. Useful for the 2nd part of the competition, when often the nutrition plan needs to be adapted. Still you need calories to keep you going; for me at Istria 100 miles these were the solution after nothing else worked.

10. Extra pair of running shoes, with clean socks – if you need a refresher for your feet or if you’ve blistered.

11. Extra gear/sunglasses for the next section in the strong sun. I advise you to always have a spare t-shirt, a light coloured hat that protects you from high temperatures. During an ultramarathon you should look for comfort. Change if you’re sweaty, put on an extra layer if you’re cold. Use the check-point as a point where you restart your equipment and motivation.

12. Cold spray for legs or other muscle groups. Apply it at a distance of 20-25 centimetres, otherwise you’ll feel the burn.

EXTRA (ce nu se vede în fotografie, pentru că am adăugat după acel concurs):

  1.  A small bag of salty cravings (Tuc crackers, small pretzels, salty pretzels).
  2. A small bag of soft fruit (mango, melon, apricots, etc).
  3. Ice – in a heat insulated bag. It’s very useful for warm weather, to put in your trousers, jacket pockets to cool down. it’s great to keep your drinks cold.
  4. Bread, breadsticks. They go great with Coke.
  5. Ginger shot – useful for times when you’re throwing up and need to change the sweet/dry taste in your mouth.
  6. A phone/timer on to time your CP time.

USEFUL for the support team

  1. Cutlery
  2. Pans of various sizes
  3. Notebook/pencil
  4. 2-3 bottles
  5. GPS track on watch and route map in google maps
  6. Thick clothes
  7. Tape and marker to write on flasks containing

Routine in each checkpoint

Time spent at checkpoints can make a difference. You can finish a 100 km race 25-30 minutes faster just from the time you save at checkpoints. At the same time, checkpoints can get you back on your feet after a difficult moment during the race. However, you don’t have to linger at the checkpoints, but don’t rush either. Only stay extra minutes if you’re feeling tired and feel you need to hydrate and eat better.

I remember at UTMB 2022, at mile 100 I had the lowest point of the race in terms of energy. I knew Arnouvaz was coming up, a checkpoint where I find soup, water and what I need for the next few kilometres. I knew it was a long way to the finish and allowed myself to spend 4 minutes in this CP, where I hydrated better and ate soup with Tuc biscuits.  I did well, as there was a long climb ahead, and the extra 2 minutes of rest put me back on my feet. 

Here’s what you need to do for an effective checkpoint routine::

  1.  Before 1-2 kilometres before you reach CP, mentally review what you will do at that checkpoint.
  2. Before entering a check-point, make sure you drink all the fluids in the flasks you have with you. If you’ve planned your run well, you won’t have much to drink. Don’t throw water away, drink it instead.
  3. Pocket (or you can even hold) your empty packs until you reach the CP. Throw them at the feet of the support team.
  4. Before you enter the CP, hold out your hand and let the support team guide you to where they’ve set up your table; they should pull you by the hand to your designated spot.
  5. The support team should put a wet towel around your neck to cool you down.
  6. Let your support team know how you are feeling, what problems you have had.
  7. When you arrive, start a watch, time how long you stay in CP.
  8. Drink 300-350ml of water in CP with 1-2 electrolyte pills.
  9. Put your nutrition from the envelope (#1 in photo) (gels, bars, etc.) in your pockets for the next section.
  10. Continue to drink/eat to your heart’s content, but don’t overdo it, as you will vomit. I choose to eat a warm, salty soup with TUC crackers in it.
  11. Don’t linger in CP unless you need to.

The person who decides to help you at a checkpoint will have a different but equally intense journey, almost the same as you. He will worry about you, he will worry about whether you will (and will) make it to the checkpoint on time. It will sleep on the run, it will drive between different locations. There’s no need to be angry at the support team, as they want your best and that’s why they’re helping you.

Keep in mind that mistakes can happen during a race, but don’t let that demotivate you. A.D.A.P.T your plan to your needs and continue the race with a positive attitude, eventually you can make use of what the organisers have prepared for you at the checkpoints, in case the support team fails to follow the plan.

Tips & tricks: for a perfect checkpoint, I recommend setting it up with the support team the day before the race and taking a photo of it. The support person will know how to set it up based on that photo, and you won’t be surprised by a different arrangement of items. 

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Antrenor Alergare - Hajnnal Robert
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How a running coach improved my training process

Why to have a running coach - Diversity Skimo

How a running coach improved my training process

Starting with December 2021, I chose a coach to work with for a more efficient process. How did I get to him? What benefits did a coach brings me? What is and is not a coach? Why you should do this step?

The first memory I have of myself is running in the schoolyard.

The first running competition I took part in was 10 years ago, in the Retezat mountains. It was 28 kilometers with 2200 positive level differences.

It was painful, but I was caught up in this sport of suffering even though I told myself I would never do it again. Since then I have started and finished more than 50 running competitions on different distances and on different surfaces.

Some of them did really well, especially those in my “niche” of ultramarathons on the 100 kilometers on the mountain.

All this 10 year span period I structured my training plan on my own, I chose my races and I had a continuous desire to improve my process. Both, to train and to train.

I think a change is welcome for a while, especially since I’ve been running for 10 years.

Starting in December 2021, I chose a coach to work with for a more efficient process. How did I get to him? What benefits did a coach bring me? What is and is not a coach? Why you should do this step,  I will detail in this article.

I wouldn’t have taken that step in 100 years because too often I was saying to myself, “No one else will know what’s best for me,” especially since I’ve been doing this for so long.

What I was really saying was that I was not prepared for such a commitment and I would not want to disappoint anyone in my training and competition process. It sounds familiar? That it is my right to choose when to run and to suffer or to take a day off.

Spoiler alert! Even though I now have a coach, I still have this right and I have more days off than I would have given myself.

Enjoying myself in an easy long run near Tășuleasa Social with Cristian Bilegan

How did I decide to have a running coach and where did I choose him?

I was in Bucharest on Mihai’s massage table. To my left, on another massage table, Florin, a triathlete talks about his today’s cycling workout. Cadence, watts, pulse, everything seemed very, very accurate. I asked him who was his coach and he told me that he had a training plan from Training Peaks that he was following.

When we met, one of the first conversations I had with Maria, about running,  was about a coach. If I have one or not. I told her that I am my own coach and that I prefer to make my own training plans, and without lack of modesty I told her that if I took a few podiums I was good at it.

He confirmed to me that I am good at this (ego boost), but that I should still have someone to guide and motivate me.

Besides, she told me I should just run and not bother with other things like my own training plan. And she said that it’s very easy to be biassed when it comes to your training plan. It’s easier to make the right plan for others, but it’s harder to make your own plan and follow it exactly. Smart girl, from the start.

This discussion was a recurring one, especially on the days when I used to say “today I will have a  soft day because I don’t feel ready for an intense workout” and these days have been more and more frequent lately.

The year 2021 was a year full of competitions for me but a year that could have been better in training. After MIUT, where I took 5th place, I told myself that I had to take another step forward, to fight for a place on the podium (top 3) at every ultramarathon I start.

Listening to Maria’s advice, and remembering the discussion with Florin, I told myself that for the next competition, I will take a training plan that I will follow with holiness from TrainingPeaks.

After about two hours of scrolling through training plans, I find a plan that suits my needs. “16-week training plan with 18-20 hours of training for 100-mile competitions on the mountain”

It sounded very appropriate for what I needed.

In addition, I liked  how the “demo” week looked like. It was very well structured and shared the same the principles after I train and considered healthy to have. Enough volume, enough intensity, enough recovery. Not not too many  not too few of each.

The plan was not perfect.

It was a 16-week training plan and there were only 12 weeks until Transgrancanaria. I bought the plan and gave an email to the coach who made the training plan to ask him how can I adjust the plan Transgrancanaria how It should be adapted, to cut the first weeks, cut the weeks of volume, and what to cut, how much to cut? I wouldn’t have thought that maybe I should add something,

The coach responds to my email congratulating me on 2nd place at UTMB and told me that he knows me and that he could restructure my plan, but at the same time, if I am interested, we can start a collaboration in which he will supervise my training process. In addition, he can give me a 50% discount for the first month.

We made a call after MIUT and I was caught.

Long treadmill training in winter. Actually an Uptempo that gave me confidence that I could run a marathon in less than 2h30min
The first long run of the year in preparation for Transgrancanaria.
The longest run of the year before Transgrancanaria. A run that I would not have done so early in the year, but whose benefits I felt at Transgrancanaria managing to have a strong finish
Between Transgrancanaria and Istria I had another 6-hour run, I preferred to climb 6 times in Postavaru, on cross-country skis keeping the specifics of the training. Even though it wasn't running, it was a busy day.

What benefits did a running coach bring?

Testing. Consistency. Diversity. Volume. Focus. Recovery. Attention to detail. Progress.

The biggest plus I have felt since I have a coach is that I can share with someone the successes, the difficult moments, a race plan, and a nutrition plan. I have someone on this journey looking in the same direction, with the same vision.

Testing. After a week of lightly running recovery after MIUT and setting goals for 2022, the plan began with flat running, treadmill tests, and a strength test. Because it was the end of the season, and because I had eaten a lot of pastel del nata in Madeira, orange cakes, and egg sandwiches, I felt heavy and out of shape from the beginning. I was not discouraged knowing that if I keep working hard it is very difficult to go lower than that. I said it to myself.

Consistency. I did more work than I would have done if I trained alone. I went out of the house more often even if I didn’t feel like it, which is a bonus from the start.

I have done all of that not because someone was following me but because once I took that step, I had to stick to the process. If I have done the same thing as before, I would have had the same results. Even Andrei Ivănescu was surprised to see me at the gym, in the evening after a running workout.

Diversity. I ran on the track, on the trail, on the treadmill, on the road. I did cross-country skiing. I used the weight vest, I cycled on the trainer, and I went to the gym. During all these 4 months I did all the job without feeling that I was losing the fun that winter offers me, without feeling that I was training too much or that I will be injured.

Volume. Not only did I train more, it was more fun, but I also ran longer this time of the year than I would have done with my own schedule.

Focus. Each training had its precise purpose and the Vertix2 watch confirmed to me that the training goal had been achieved.

Recovery. Often the coach informed me that I had to recover that day or not too pedal or run hard or too much. I remember running downhill at the first weight lifted west and the coach told me not to do that anymore. Or when I had an indoor cycling session on the trainer, I made it too intense and the coach told me to make it softer and pull when needed.

Attention to detail. After the TGC I was put in the practical situation, to write down what went well, what worked, what didn’t work, and what steps we should take to improve the pre-race process. For Istria, I have taken these aspects into account and I hope for an improved result.

Progress. From the first test to the last test a few days ago, progress has not stopped. Both in speed, and strength, and in my perception of effort. As long as we have progress in process or result I am delighted and “better” can be more often.

What does a running coach is and what a running coach is not?

A coach will not take you out of the house, but if you are a person who feels motivated when supervised then this service may be for you. I know that many people feel the need for a coach to be more motivated, productive, and communicative about training and goals.

A coach will not argue with you because you did not run, but he understands your reason.

A coach will adapt your training plan to your needs and unforeseen moments.

A coach understands the “struggles” you go through, he will motivate you to overcome them.

Under no circumstances should a coach punish you. He is with you, he shares this process with you. A coach sees the potential that you have and the negative passes are transient.

A coach (re)gives you confidence.

After 16 weeks of training, a few days before the start of the race, I thank Maria for sticking to the idea of having a coach and motivating me to take this step.

A few days before a hundred miles I find myself fitter, more motivated, and more prepared than ever to make a successful run.

And it’s good because I’ve never been alone in this, but now I have another person with me to share this journey with.


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Women in the marathon- Unbroken record 37 years

Women in the marathon- Unbroken record 37 years

Surely a list of the best times of the women in the marathon race would not have been what you expect from this article. The research was not easy, that's for sure. The history documenting women's participation in running events is a complex one, although much shorter than that of men.

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Bandit Runner, since 1896

Let’s go back in time for a bit, to 1896, when the Olympic Games were “revived”. Women were once again excluded from the running events. Since nothing can stop them from getting what they want, a woman named Melpomene entered the Olympic Marathon. Although the race organizers rejected her registration, she ran out of the competition (bandit runner, as they say), finishing at about 4:30h. Nearly a century has passed until the next woman officially runs the Olympic Marathon.

Proba olimpica de maraton, masculin


The first woman officially timed in a marathon race

Violet Piercy of Great Britain was the first female participant to be officially timed in a marathon event, with a time of 3:40:22 at the Polytechnic Marathon in 1926. Although the rule imposed by the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association (WAAA) was that no women’s race should exceed 800m, Violet Percy happily broke the rules that year. Because of this and the lack of competition, the record stood for no more, no less than 37 years.

Violet Percy, the first UK athlete to be timed in the marathon event

It wasn’t until 1963 in Culver City that the first record-breaking time was recorded: 3:37h at the Western Hemisphere Marathon in California by US athlete Merry Lepper.

Merry Lepper finishes marathon in 3:37h

The first female finisher at Boston Marathon

In 1966, Roberta Gibb hid behind a bush at the start of the Boston Marathon and managed to finish the race in an unofficial time of 3:21:25. She was the first known woman to complete the race.

Roberta Gibb finishes Boston Marathon

Probably one of the most famous stories in the marathon world dates back to 1967 when Katherine Switzer tried and succeeded in officially entering the Boston Marathon. Her coach, though unconvinced when she told him her plans, promised to take her to Boston himself if she proved she could run the distance. Unsurprisingly, Switzer ran the marathon + extra 5 miles in training.

The athlete entered the race as K.V. Switzer (personal preference) and her entry was approved, as they couldn’t know her gender. After about 2 miles, the press cars, led by the race organizer, appeared behind her. The photo speaks for itself and the full story, told by the athlete herself, can be read right here. 

Katherine Switzer, first woman in the marathon, Boston

I wouldn’t want to distort the words through translation, the event was more than touching and inspiring, so I’ll get straight to the happy ending: Katherine finished the race and thus became the first female finisher at the Boston Marathon, officially.

Bigger and bigger changes

  • On 31 August 1971, Adrienne Beames of Australia became the first woman to run a marathon under three hours, breaking this barrier with a time of 2:46:30.
  • In 1972, women were allowed to officially compete in the Boston Marathon for the first time.
  • On 28 October 1973, the first women’s marathon was held in Waldniel, West Germany. The success of that race was built on the following October when Dr. Ernst Ban Aaken, a West German and a strong supporter of women’s running, sponsored the first Waldniel International Women’s Marathon Championship. Forty women from seven countries competed in the event.
  • In 1981, the decision was made to include women in the Olympic marathon event, big day! Better late than never, right?

Two reasons were often cited for this exclusion, which took longer than it should have:

Firstly, some experts argued that women’s health would be affected by long-distance running. This theory has been proven false not only by medical studies but also by the success of women marathoners in the 1970s.

Second, the Olympic Charter stipulated that to be included in the Games, a women’s sport had to be widely practiced in at least 25 countries on at least two continents (for men’s events, the requirement was 50 countries on three continents). The women’s marathon, Olympic organizers argue, simply wasn’t popular enough to be included.


To be continued. 

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Magnesium – Supplement for runners

Magneziu - Supliment pentru alergatori

Magnesium – Supplement for runners

Robert Hajnal

Robert Hajnal

Last winter, before the „Running School” Workshop in Cluj, Viorica gave me a magnesium oil as a gift. About 2 years before at Apuseni Ultra, Toma spoke to me for almost an hour about the benefits of magnesium and how it enriches its water with this mineral.

I didn’t really know much about magnesium but I knew that due to the lack of magnesium you can get muscle cramps. To prevent this, we consume before the more serious competitions (Marathon 7500, CiucasX3) Magne B6.

I was doing a kind of pre-competitive loading. Now I realize that he was not doing much because he only has 100mg of magnesium although the recommended daily dose is 420mg.

If you have the patience to read the article for another 3 minutes, you will also know how you can add extra magnesium to your body and why it is good to do so!

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Magnesium is one of the most important minerals present in the body where about 24 grams of magnesium is found. About 49% is stored in the bones and about the same in the intracellular space, ie inside the cell.

About 1% of the total magnesium is found in the blood.

Magnesium is needed and intervenes in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, relaxes muscles, and helps regenerate nerves. You don’t have the “nerves” caused by your wife or girlfriend, but those that make your muscles work better.

Very few people consume it in sufficient proportions because it is no longer found in such high concentrations in the fruits and vegetables we eat. Although the recommended daily dose is only 420mg / day for men and 320mg / day for women; it is very rare to have too much magnesium in the body so do not worry that you will exceed this level.

!!! When consuming magnesium, be careful when installing therapeutic effects before laxatives. Let me explain.

Although there are many supplements or foods rich in magnesium, it is not absorbed 100% of what is written on the label. If a product has 200mg of magnesium, a maximum of 40mg of magnesium can be absorbed.

The absorption rate is very low. And the difference reaches the intestines and produces diarrhea !!


A magnesium deficiency can cause cramps, excessive fatigue, low strength, interrupted sleep, a weakened immune system, depression, and even fatal heart arrhythmias during intense training.

  1. Low energy;
  2. Insomnia;
  3. Constipation;
  4. Frequent headaches;
  5. Cramps;
  6. Low bone density;
  7. High pulse;
  8. Type II diabetes;
  9. Variable Heart Rate;
  10. Noise sensitivity, depression, and anxiety;


You’ve probably heard that the Epsom salt bath makes you feel more relaxed, lowers muscle tension, and gets rid of calcium ions accumulated in muscle tissue during workouts. This is because Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which is the active component that produces all these effects.

But concentrated magnesium chloride is even more effective than Epsom salt.

Why is pure magnesium so effective for recovery? As you read this article, you stored magnesium in your muscles and bones. This mineral is essential in hundreds of reactions.

Several important studies have shown that magnesium has a lactic acid attenuating effect, lowering the pulse and producing carbon dioxide during heavy exercise and improving cardiovascular efficiency.

Moreover, magnesium supplementation can increase your testosterone level and muscle strength by up to 30%.

Seeds, nuts, cereals, vegetables can be sources of magnesium but active people who consume these foods may be deficient in magnesium because intense sports activity can impoverish the body of this mineral.

Unfortunately, an oral supplement may not fully compensate for this deficiency. From personal experience, the amount of magnesium taken orally should be limited to about 1000 mg/day in several doses.

Unfortunately, magnesium is not easily absorbed and more of it causes diarrhea.

Even if the use of magnesium (for example that of magnesium citrate powder) is certainly helpful, a better idea for providing the dose of magnesium necessary for the proper functioning of the body is the local use of magnesium oil.

To speed up recovery you can apply up to 12 magnesium puffs before or after training on tired muscles after showering with hot water and your pores are still open.


Knowing all these things I do now after long runs, more demanding workouts, or competitions?

  1. Daily, after the shower I apply up to 12 puffs of magnesium oil on my feet; (100mg of magnesium) – Thank you Viorica!
  2. After demanding training or competitions I take a marine magnesium pill; (330mg magnesium) – Thanks Tei pharmacy!
  3. When I bathe in the bathtub I add magnesium chloride; (500mg magnesium) – Thanks Thomas;
  4. Consume foods rich in magnesium (nuts, seeds);
It is important to keep track of the number of magnesium supplements you take orally, otherwise, you will spend a lot of time on the toilet. I also tell from personal experience.
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Low sideropenia? Learn how to increase your blood iron if you are a runner!

Sideremie mica_Carenta de fier pentru alergatori

Low sideropenia? Learn how to increase your blood iron if you are a runner!

Robert Hajnal

Robert Hajnal

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Find out how to increase the amount of iron in your blood when the results of the tests show you low sideropenia and many other curiosities about this metal that is very important in physical performance.

You did your tests and found that you had low sideropenia. You already knew, or you googled and found out that sideropenia = the presence of iron in the blood.

What do you do when you find out that your blood iron level is not enough? Before we see how important iron in the blood is and what its role is, let’s provide a context.

The true value of iron is provided by oxygen and the optimal use of oxygen is due to the amount of iron in the blood. One hand washes the other.

If you are in the fog, I hope you understand by the end how the “factory” works.


If we isolated every substance that makes up our body, we would see that more than 80% of the body is oxygen – O2. I mean, if you weigh 70 pounds, about 43 pounds is O2. That way, you get an idea of how important Oxygen is.

All cells in the human body need oxygen. It is an important element both for the functioning of the cells and for keeping them at an optimal level. For everything to work as well as possible, oxygen goes through 3 stages:

  1. It must be taken from the outside environment;
  2. Transported by blood;
  3. Delivered to various parts of the body;

In the first stage, oxygen reaches the lungs from the outside environment, where oxygen is transferred from the lungs to the blood.

Then, in the transport stage, the red cells intervene, whose presence is crucial, as is the amount of iron that exists on them.

Hemoglobina_Fier scazut

Hemoglobin molecule decorated with iron shuttles

I say them because iron settles on hemoglobin like candy on a Christmas tree.

When oxygen sticks to the iron molecule, the blood has a light red color. Think of red cell hemoglobin as a space shuttle carrying up to 4 passengers (oxygen molecules).

This makes iron an important vital mineral: that it settles on hemoglobin and transports oxygen from the tank (lungs) throughout the plant (body).

Molecula de fier



The iron space shuttle, seen up close

Before you go any further, you need to know that there is a balance, a very well-developed system for adjusting the amount of iron absorbed from food and that absorbed from storage.


Large amounts of iron in the diet do not guarantee a good level of iron. This is due to the fact that iron absorption is complex and influenced by many factors. The most important of these is the type of iron.

In the current diet, iron comes in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron.

Heme iron is found in meat, fish, and poultry
Non-heme iron comes from bread and cereals, vegetables, and fruits.

Between 25-35% of heme iron is absorbed from the intestine, compared to only 2-15% of non-heme iron. So you need to eat considerably more non-heme iron to absorb the same amount. Therefore, eating red meat (which contains the most iron) or fish or poultry can really increase iron absorption. It is important to eat a variety of foods that contain non-heme iron for a good long-term iron level. Good sources for this type of non-heme iron:

  • beans;
  • lentils;
  • tofu;
  • Easter;
  • breakfast cereals (many of them are iron-fortified),
  • the bread;
  • rice;
  • eggs;
  • dried fruits, nuts and vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas and beans). In fact, most of our dietary iron comes from non-heme sources, such as bread and cereals.

For a healthy diet, women are advised to eat five servings of vegetables, two servings of fruit, six servings of bread and cereals, 2.5 servings of meat and 2.5 servings of milk per day.

It is possible to get 18 mg of iron if you follow these recommendations and if you include iron-fortified cereals for breakfast, which serves as a portion of bread / cereal, a portion of large green leafy vegetables such as spinach and a portion of meat, chicken or fish in the “meat” category.

Another key strategy when you have low sideropenia is to increase your body’s ability to absorb iron.

Foods rich in vitamin C are well known to increase iron absorption; so include them at every meal in the form of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads.

Other foods that help absorb iron are: lemon juice, vinegar and alcohol.


We have a one-kilogram beef steak. It has about 30 mg of iron. Of the 30 mg, a maximum of 9 mg will be absorbed in the small intestine.

The remaining amount of iron will be removed. The maximum absorption from food is 25-35% and the daily requirement of iron: 8 mg/day in men 15-18 mg/day in athletes; If iron deposits, more precisely ferritin and hemosiderin deposits, decrease, the absorption in the digestive tract will increase.

If this setting does not work, it will lead to excessive disorders and absorption of iron, which, in large quantities, uncontrolled, becomes toxic.

If the erythrocytes do not have enough iron (UFO shuttles on them), not enough O2 will reach the muscles. It means that the performance decreases or is not optimal. TO KNOW! Iron absorption is competitive with Magnesium and Zinc. That is, one inhibits the other. It is either magnesium/zinc / other minerals or Iron.


You end up with low sideropenia in situations such as:

  • Insufficient iron intake from food;
  • Hemolysis – when you run there is a mechanical shock between the sole and the hard contact surface (asphalt/tape/tartan) and the blood vessels are destroyed. This destroys a large number of red blood cells. These are in limited numbers, and their restoration takes about 80 days;
  • Loss of red blood cells -> loss of hemoglobin -> loss of iron;
  • Iron loss can also be caused by bleeding (menstruation in women, hemorrhoids in men);
  • Blood donations;
  • vegetarian, vegan, or a diet in which iron is not well absorbed;


  • Low energy level;
  • Reduction of immunity – accentuated by intense effort; (that’s why, for example, I catch a cold very often after an ultramarathon)
  • Attention deficit;
  • Nervousness;

BEWARE OF OXALIC ACID! It inhibits the absorption of iron!.

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13 Tricks to Fall Asleep Easy After an Evening Workout

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13 Tricks to Fall Asleep Easy After an Evening Workout

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After an evening workout you really deserve a good night’s sleep. But often when I put my head on the pillow after such a workout, I couldn’t fall asleep very easily. I guess I’m not the only one, and those who lift weights, in the evening, face the same problem.

Can you believe there are people who don’t love sleep and consider it useless? Well, we’re not one of them.

If you’ve experienced that feeling of not being able to fall asleep after an evening workout, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are different routines you can get used to in order to avoid such situations.

The body needs to have a low temperature, low heart rate and the central nervous system to be ‘calm’.

All these elements are crucial and contribute to a restful sleep.

 1. Pay attention to what you eat and drink after an evening workout!

What you consume before bed, whether it’s food or drink, contributes to the quality of your sleep. For example, if I go out for a run around 8 pm and by 9:30 pm I have a glass of orange juice, I’m more than likely not going to fall asleep until around 2 am. Some studies prove that small pre-bedtime meals are beneficial in muscle protein synthesis. Studies point to adding extra servings of protein.

If you usually do strenuous workouts late, try to eat your main, substantial meals during the day, not before bedtime. “The “problem” with eating large meals after a demanding evening workout is that they will make it harder for you to achieve deep sleep and you will wake up more tired the next day. You can try having a break between eating and drinking fluids before sleep.

Give yourself about an hour between dinner and liquids before sleep.

 2. Regulate your body temperature with a shower

After a strenuous workout, your body temperature rises and can affect your sleep cycle. Lowering your body temperature with a cool-moderate shower increases your chances of sleeping well after an evening workout. A hot shower can increase your body temperature and prevent you from sleeping. On the other hand, a cold shower boosts alertness.

Bottom line: find a ‘compromise’ water temperature to avoid affecting your sleep. I prefer to start the shower with relatively cold water and gradually increase the temperature, but not too hot. A warm shower makes the peripheral circulation work better and the blood vessels irrigate your tissues better.

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3. Maintain a cool temperature in the room where you sleep

A cool room will give you quality sleep by lowering your pulse rate. Your body will also relax, making it easier to get into a deep sleep.


 4. Take regular magnesium supplements

Magnesium supplements will help you get a restful night’s sleep and at the same time help your body regain its strength. Many runners are deficient in magnesium, an important electrolyte that is closely linked to testosterone levels.  Testosterone is an essential hormone that regulates the normal functioning of various organs in the body.

Another benefit of magnesium is that it reduces stress and helps muscles relax, contributing to a restful sleep. It also helps calm the body by relaxing the nervous system after an intense evening workout.

I get my extra magnesium from Nigari Salt or Magne B6.


 5. Turn off blue light sources

Darkness brings with it monsters under the bed, but also a secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone. Light generally interrupts sleep because it affects melatonin secretion.

The body follows a sleep-wake sequence determined by light and dark. When the light is on, the mind remembers to stay awake/wake; until it receives a signal that it is time to fall asleep, melatonin secretion is inhibited.

So I advise reducing the light in the room by turning on a lamp or a diffused light. If you have a red light source, you will speed up your melatonin secretion and fall asleep more easily.


 6. Try meditating before falling asleep

Even though it sounds fancy and oriental, the purpose of meditation is to calm yourself and focus a lot on your breathing. Meditation is a great remedy to induce a sleepy state and make sure you rest after your evening workout. When the mind relaxes, you’ll fall asleep more easily and rest for a longer period of time.


 7. Run during the day

We also forgot to mention this point. If you have the time, we recommend starting the day with a light 25-30 minute run, with your main workout at 6-7pm. Running during the day takes up your available energy. If you don’t see it as a solution, try to run at least 3 hours before getting ready for sleep. Between the end of your run and when you go to bed, give your body enough time to recover and get into a sleep state. In addition, you make sure that the last dose of adrenaline from the run has been used up.

8. Use your bed only for sleep…and sex.

The bed is a sacred place. It’s where two of the most important activities of the day happen. Sleep and sex. Don’t use your bed as a desk or a place to sit on your phone. The bed is a temple where gadgets should be banned.

 9. Keep hydrated

You need to consume enough fluids before you lie down. During your run there’s a good chance you’ll have consumed large amounts of fluids from your own reserves. Be careful not to consume too many fluids just before you go to bed, though, as you’ll be making lots of trips to the toilet afterward. If you are lazy, it will keep you up all night precisely because you don’t want to make that visit and your sleep cycle may be affected.


10. Make your bed comfortable

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting into clean sheets and falling asleep on a comfy mattress. I think people who don’t love sleep have forgotten that feeling. Since we spend so much time sleeping, let’s at least make a comfortable bed with a good mattress and nice linens.


11. Avoid caffeine and alcohol

You already know you should do what the priest says, not what the priest does. Caffeine takes about 5 hours to get out of your system and alcohol takes two generations. That’s if you go to church. These two components are stimulants and keep your mind alert when it should be resting. That’s why it’s best to drink coffee in the morning to get it into your system, and only use it when you’re training hard.


 12. Avoid extra portions and shaorma with everything

It’s crucial to avoid heavy meals after an evening workout. I’ve said that before, haven’t I! A heavy meal affects your digestive system, but it will also affect your sleep. Plus, if you throw in garlic and something spicy, you might regret it the next morning.


13. Not a MUST, but go to the doctor

Not all doctors have 8 classes. Most of them are well educated and know what advice to give you. If you have sleep disturbances for more than 2-3 days in a row, it’s clear that something else is wrong. Some cogs are failing you and it’s good to grease them with something more than running.


14. Avoid sleeping pills

Most sleep-inducing pills are melatonin-based. In the long run, they can cause hormonal disturbances. Try natural remedies like valerian tea or lime tea.

What tricks do you use to sleep like a princess in a castle?

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