Blood Work For Runners | My InsideTracker Experience. Part 2; The Reckoning; The Sequel

I’m back at it with my results from blood test #3!

To briefly recap on my history and blood work results so far during the first half of this year, I’ve had a long run of lacking energy in my runs and feeling like my body isn’t getting enough oxygen, especially in the later miles of a long run or marathon. I began working with InsideTracker earlier this year as they provide a full circle approach to getting blood work, and most importantly for me, it’s as simple as simple can be.

The results from my first 2 tests came back showing mostly good results, except in Vitamin D and Iron (specifically Ferritin). While the Vitamin D was a concern, it wasn’t too out of whack and my symptoms didn’t align with a Vit. D deficiency nearly as much as they did to an Iron deficiency, but I did decide to take both an D and Iron supplement, just to ensure I’m in the optimal zones. Even after supplementing with Iron pills, my second test had came back with nearly no increase in Iron levels in general, so I opted for a double dose of Iron! 2 x daily 65mg of Vitron-C, which is an Iron supplement with Vitamin C ( Vit. C increases Iron absorption).

While Iron absorption and saturation can take some time, and may not have quick results, I did notice a major difference in my blood oxygen levels and endurance within days of taking my new dosage.

Where I am as of writing this today, is that I’m a couple months post-test #3 and feeling excellent. I will admit, I took my 3rd test prematurely, but I was interested to see if there would be immediate changes in my Iron. Having began taking a double dose of Iron, I wanted to test on the sooner side to ensure there wasn’t a dangerous spike in Iron, causing Iron poisoning.


Results: Test #3

Test #3

Now that I’d become somewhat of a data whore, I actually wanted to dive deeper into my blood work to ensure everything else was in the right range, even non-sports related biomarkers. I opted for the boujee test, the grand-master-King-Kong version, the Ultimate test! This test covers 42 biomarkers as seen in this chart, which cover everything imaginable from: Iron, Creatine Kinase, Calcium, Magnesium, to Glucose, Cortisol, and Sodium. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure this test also measures speed limit, internet speed and credit score, LOL! This test currently retails for $589 but gives you EVERYTHING, and does it in the typical InsideTracker fashion where you get lots of data regarding your results along with recommendations for lifestyle changes, as well as nutrition and supplementation.

Pretty much every biomarker except Iron came back with optimal results, so I won’t bother showing anything other than my 2 problem areas, Iron and Vit. D.


Iron

My overall Iron Group throughout the course of my testing has remained mostly unchanged, and is in the lower half of the “Needs Work” range. There are 11 biomarkers in the Iron Group and 4 of mine are/have been in the yellow, wheres other remain generally good.

While my Iron results haven’t changed much, this could be largely in part to the fact that I haven’t been supplementing with Iron for very long, but also, I had just started the double dose of Iron a month or so prior to this 3rd test.

Regardless of the actual blood readings, I can feel a noticeable difference in oxygenation and stamina. One reason for this may be due to the fact that my free Iron levels have greatly increased. Although Ferritin is the oxygen carrying protein, there may be just enough increase in free iron to have given me the extra oxygen transportation to my body that I’d been lacking. I will admit though, I can tell my levels aren’t perfect yet, there seems to still be a journey ahead, and this is consistent with a Ferritin deficiency as it takes months to fully saturate.

As seen below, my Ferritin levels have had no significant change. With time and dosage being an important factor, patience and resilience will be my best bet in seeing progress. Fingers crossed that after 3-4 months when I take the 4th test, there will be something of more substance. Until then, I’ll continue taking my 2x daily Vitron-C 65mg tablets!


Vitamin D

D is looking alright by me!

My D (giggity) was never really a problem as I had anticipated before, but after finding in my first blood test that my levels although were considered optimal, were on the low end of good. My personal preference is to keep my levels on the high end of the optimal range, with the mid range being the absolute floor. As training loads increase and more stress gets put on the body, and as nutrient losses increase through sweat and exercise, I want to know that I have a little extra in my system so that I don’t experience an unexpected dip in performance. As we don’t do blood tests very often, it would be difficult to catch a drop in these biomarkers in time to correct them during a hard training cycle.

For the past 6 months I’ve been taking 2,000 IU per day of Vit. D, and I plan to keep it this way for now, unless my 4th test comes back with my levels being too high, in which case I’d likely switch to a 1,000 IU daily dose.

The Saga Continues

I wish this post could’ve been more exciting with lots of drastic results to share, but it just isn’t. Ultimately I wanted to share my journey and show other runners what the journey of blood testing and correcting deficiencies looks like, and that it’s not always simple. Also, and most importantly, that you can’t take blind assumptions and hope for the best, you need actual testing, and follow ups to ensure things are going as you expect them to.

I’ll be back soon in a few weeks with my 4th test, I lagged on posting this one, so I’m actually due to take the next one soon.

In the meantime, let me know if you have questions, and I’d love to hear about your results with chancing down deficiencies in your own biomarkers! Hit me in the comments and/or on Instagram!

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Resources

Why You Need to Get Blood Work Done

Your blood caries a tremendous amount of information about you and your health, and as an athlete (specifically a runner) your performance, recovery and endurance will be significantly tied to the different data points that are measured in your blood work. While there are so many aspects to your health that can effect your ability to perform or be healthy, there are some specific indicators related to athletic performance for endurance athletes that are notorious problem areas that put runners into a slump or increase instances of over training or injury.

“As somebody goes from mild, to moderate, to significant activity, the stresses on the body become more intense and more frequent, and if there is an underlying problem in the body, the ability to continue to improve athletically can become compromised,” he says. A simple look at hematocrit and hemoglobin can go a long way toward telling if an athlete is doing well, or if there’s an issue somewhere. Ross sees anemia fairly frequently among athletes, particularly women. Because of that, he likes to check iron levels as well. He says anemia is often tied to nutritional imbalances, and notes, “When I see people who feel sluggish but have normal exercise testing, I check ferritin levels. Anemia can do weird things.” – “Doctor-Recommended Test for Runners” – Map My Run Blog, Michael Ross, MD

Runner’s World

Map My Run

Active

PubMed

Run To The Finish

Rockay

Seattle Marathon

Mayo Clinic – Iron Deficiency

WebMD – Vitamin D Deficiency

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