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Monday, May 31, 2010

Nutrition, the underrated training tool!!

I have always been a huge advocate of eating properly and making certain that I am fuelled for my activities.  This weekend I learned first hand why it is so important to pay attention when you are training.  Saturday was my day off and I spent most of the day driving to go see family.  I was wise and packed good food and snacks to eat along the way, apparently I did not pack enough of them.  When we were about 3 hours into our drive we stopped at a chicken place to get some food as we were another 2-3 hours before we reached our eventual destination.  So, I had a quarter chicken with salty sauce thinking it was the lesser of the evils available.  I did bring a bottle of water but that only lasted an hour into the drive, driving into the middle of no where there were not a lot of stops to refil the water supply.  So, I suffered and drove along to our destination.
Once I got there I had a club sandwhcih for lunch and figured I would reward myself with some fries.  Apparently I have lost my taste for fries, they sucked!  Later in the day, I had a little more water but not nearly enough for what I have been and would be doing.
Dinner on Saturday night was the ultimate!  Probably the best pizza I have had in a long time.  The kind of pizza that is covered in the greasy stuff that tastes awesome!  I loved it!  I tried to drink as much water as I could to make up for the lack over the day, I did not seem to be able to catch up.
On SUnday morning I got up at 7AM to go for my run.  We were leaving early as we had some more family to visit on the way home on the 5 hour drive.  So, I jumped out of bed, had a glass of water and headed out the door.  Yeah, that's right nothing to eat or substantial to drink, just out the door for my run!  I though it is an easy run, long slow distance stuff I would be fine.  As I started out, the first km had 2 long hills, just long enough to get the fuel machine kicked in and eating what little energy was in me.  I focused on keeping my HR low and was very succesful managing that even with the hills to start out.  As I got about 30 minutes into the run, I decided my destination should be towards a Tim Horton's as I would be able to hydrate as I ran by them, not totally stupid about my nutrition.  My target time for my run as 1h45m so water was going to be required.
The first 45 was not to bad, then it started to come off the rails a little.  The run was very hilly with no real rest along the way to allow myself to relax.  I found my legs starting to cramp as I continued along, only to make it worst by telling myself how dumb it was to go out with no fuel knowing I was dehydrated and would be out for a while.  The further I got into the run the harder it became.  One good thing about it was that I was able to maintain my pace and not have my HR explode.
Then as I got to my turn point I figured I was the smart guy and would take the short cut!  DUMB!  I ended up adding 15 more minutes to my already wrong adventure.  I deserved it for not following my own rules!
 SO, to learn my lesson it took 2 hours, 22km of running while being angry with myself to figure out I won't do that again!  Good part is the run was done and I suffered a bit, likely nothing compared to some future race adventures!
Sunday was not a total idiot athlete waste!  I got to do my first open water swim at the end of the year.  With the weather this week being near perfect. the water in Lake Ontario is up in the mid 60's quite comfortable for a swim.  So, no time like now to start getting into some waves and getting a rhythm going in open water.  It was a short swim of about 750m with waves around .5m high.  It was great to get back into the open water with the exception of the green stuff that I was afraid of inhaling along the way.   Overall happy I did it!  I did have hte entire day to refuel with good food so the swim was done feeling like I should rather than my earlier experience in the day!
Today was a technique swim practice, I would rather be in open water, but needs to be done.  After recovering from bad eating i felt great and did 3600m in under 1h30m with a lot of kicking for good measure.  Throughout the swim I was able to keep form and technique without getting tired towards the end.  I can now see the benefits of the gym in my swim practice. I felt this swim to be a pivotal one as far as building towards being able to get stronger.  I finished hte distance without a ton of effort without losing form. I think it is a good time to turn it up a bit and see what else I can do.
As I am almost 50% through this training journey I am quite happy with the adventure to date.  I have learned a lot about myself as an athlete and as a person.  I have developed my passion into something that is more than my simple obsession, being able to share it with others as a coach.  I am looking forward to the next 52% of this adventure and the new things I will learn along the way!  Hold on tight, here I go!


  1. Hey - I fueled my first ironman on gels, and eatmore bars and gu20 drink and bananas offered on the course. I had a great nutrition plan and then I trained for a week in BC in the heat that might be the same on race day and none- NONE - of my nutrition worked so I went to plan B. It was great. Also - taking salt tablets helped me a lot. It helped me avoid that "ican't eat anymore bloated feeling" and aided my nutrition plan, cramping and overall well being greatly!!

  2. Well, I think sometimes we have to learn the hard way! You needed some calories before that run for sure!! Before I long run, I try to eat about 1-1.5 hours before, nutrigrain bar, orange juice and maybe a yogurt. Just something with some carbohydrates (quick, not high in fiber, not whole grain) and then some protein. Glad the technique work went well though. Let's get back together and talk soon ok!!

  3. Sounds bad, but hopefully you'll never have those cramps again. I'm lucky I run so slowly that I can eat whilst running ;)

    0.5m waves!(panic!) Remind me not to come swim in your lake ... ;)

  4. your struggle with the hydration is oh-so-easy to follow. Many times we are just lazy or do not think ahead enoug. Good on the open water swim!, although it's a cold one.

  5. I have had bad experiences with lack of hydration too! Not fun! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am doing IM 2010! Are you going to be at WIBA?

  6. You should come! Course, might be hard as it is a hike for you! Check it out: