Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Nutrition is Key

Everyone knows nutrition is a key part of performance in triathlon and indeed any other sport. Unfortunately, knowing something and acting on something are not the same thing. For me, this has been brought home by the trouble I have been having on my long run days.

Basically, after my long run on a Wednesday night I have been feeling ill and finding it difficult to eat. I have also been taking a long time to recover from the run, feeling stiff and tired for the next couple of days. During the run I wear a running belt with two 300ml bottles on it and a small pouch for keys, wallet, phone, etc. Normally I fill the bottles with water and drop half a Nuun tablet in each one then carry a gel in the pouch. Due to my poor planning I didn't have any gels for my last run so just did without. I was fine up to the 1:30 mark but the last 45 minutes were really tough, even more so than usual, and afterwards I felt ill as usual. So I decided to get some SIS Go to keep at work ready to fill my bottle for my long run home, I already use Go on my longer bike rides.

Roll forward to my long run this evening. Rather than drink Go the whole way round I decided to go with one bottle of Nunn and one of Go, plus a gel. For the first hour I drank the bottle of Nunn and bimbled along as normal. At around 1:10 I ran out of Nunn and switched to the SIS Go. I had my Gel at around 1:30 as per usual but I did notice I wasn't feeling as tired as normal. In fact I kept going, feeling really strong, without any difficulties right up to the end of the run. My heart rate monitor was set to keep my pace heart rate in zone 1/2 and near the end I was still finding it hard to stay in the correct zone. Not because I was struggling but because I kept wanting to go faster.

My lesson from this is that I was obviously trying to go further than my body was capable of without food. What is more, I have been feeling fine since the run and have managed to stuff my face, so I think it may have been the lack of calories that was making me feel bad. Just one good run is not enough to say I have found the problem and sorted it out but I think I am well on the way. It all comes down to something I already knew, nutrition is key.

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