Nutrition, as you would come to expect, is a major focus of mine. I believe that what we eat has an impact on everything that we do from how well we sleep to how well we perform at work and on the athletic field. This week I begin the first of three overload weeks in training for the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Ultra Trail Run. So far the training has been going on for 6 weeks without any major issues in terms feeling tired or worn down. The first week took its toll but I attribute that more to the fact that I had not run 50 miles total in two months and the first week of training I was over 50. My body had to figure out what was happening and I had to make adjustments. Since that first week things have been going very well.
That was until today, Wednesday January 8th. This morning was the first of the mid-week long run at a manageable distance of 10 miles. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but after the first few steps I knew it was not going to be the unicorns and rainbows run I had been experiencing for the past 5 weeks. This run was going to suck and suck it did for the first 5 miles. My legs felt like lead. I could feel them shuffling along, especially the left leg, rather than a smooth high knee cadence that I am accustomed to.
As the steps ticked away I thought about what had changed or what had happened over the last couple of days. Yesterday around 1pm I felt light-headed and grumpy. I had a sales meeting to drive to and along the way I felt out of sorts. I realized that I needed some protein and stopped at a grocery store to pick up a Kind Bar and immediately felt better. While on the run I realized that I needed to start logging my food and tracking my nutrition because I was most likely not getting enough protein to help recover from the long runs I was embarking on.
Last night I also got on the trainer and rode a bit harder than I had throughout this training. My legs felt strong when I started pedaling, and most likely because the previous week was a step-back week of ‘only’ 33 miles. I started to calculate in my head that I had not truly recovered from a nutrition stand point after that ride. I was also most likely dehydrated although my measurable showed a Body Water % over 60%.
Thinking back to how I managed to get through Ironman training without this feeling led me to the fact that I was tracking my meals on a daily basis back then, and that included snacks. Today, my nutrition tracking is back and while it will be great to see how many calories I am consuming I am more interested in hitting the ~100g of protein that I need on a daily basis. In addition to that the meals that I have after the runs need to be in that 3:1 – 4:1 Carb:Protein ratio. Ensuring that I hit these numbers is going to be the key to getting through the next three weeks without feeling horrible.
Once I figured out what was happening my mind reacted positively and I finished the 10 mile run today on a strong note. I negative split the 10 miles and then when I got home it was feast time. I made eggs with sweet potato, brussels sprouts, crimini mushrooms and 2 slices of Alvarado St Bakery Sprouted Rye bread. The meal consists of lean protein (eggs), healthy fats (eggs), complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes) and plenty of fiber (brussels sprouts and mushrooms.) The macronutrient breakdown of 567 calories, 72g Carbs, 16g Fat, 36g Protein will keep me full for hours and help my body recover. The ideal carb to protein ratio was not hit on this meal and I will need to adjust for the future. That being said, getting back to logging my nutrition is going to be a huge benefit for this training.