Monday, August 4, 2008

Garbage In Garbage Out

I have had some problems in the past with fueling my engine. Several years ago after running quite a bit during the heat of the summer I started having chest pains. Now chest pains at 31 are pretty dang scary. It was July 4th and the family and I had just gotten back from a parade and I was sitting in my recliner around 3:00pm. My heartbeat started racing. I mean like 160 to 170 beats a minutes. I was seated with my legs elevated in the air conditioning. There was no reason for my heart to be racing. After 20 minutes it had not stopped. An overnight trip to the hospital and several IV bags of potassium and I was ok. From that day forward I realized that distance running was something to be respected and that I had to be extra careful of how I fueled my engine.

Since I have upped my mileage and have also been swimming and biking several days a week I am learning the importance of nutrition. Not just what I eat but what I eat before a workout, what I eat during a workout and what I eat post workout.

During the last few years I have been reading everything that I could get my hands on about runners nutrition. They drink gatorade and swallow GU's. They eat some carbs and try to eat a balanced diet high in protein. But then I entered the "DARK ZONE", the world of TRIATHLON. Now marathons last for 3 or 4 hours but triathlons can last anywhere from 8 to 17 hours. Now fueling for an event like that is serious science. I started reading and searching for information on tri fueling strategies. It was like someone had just opened a magic book up for me.

My training had suffered in recent mesocycles due to fatigue issues. I had blood work performed and was instructed to start taking iron supplements. This really made a difference. Today if I have a bad workout, chances are I forgot to take my "pills" the night before.

I also sensed that I wasn't getting enough calories. I quitting worring about weight issues and just started trying to fuel my engine with good high quality jet fuel. The problem quickly became that it isn't easy getting top grade food into your body in enough quantity between and after workouts. The only time left is during and right after workouts.

I have switched up my training nutrition from water and GU to Perpetutum and Endurolytes and have started taking Endurox 4 for my post workout recovery drinks. I really believe that this has made my workouts of a higher quality. I have been able to push harder and last longer during intense workouts.

One downside to hard workouts is that I am able to go 100% for a longer time. The next day I have been pretty wiped out. Even if my plan calls for a 6 mile recovery run and I am dead, I just skip the workout. How much will I really get out of a 6 mile easy run? Is the point of the workout to help my body recover? If the result of the recovery run on makes me more fatigued haven't I defeated the purpose of the day, to recover from yesterday's hard workout. I am recovering faster and I am not skipping all recovery runs just the ones after really hard efforts and where I feel completly wiped out.

I am working on designing a diet for all of my meals and snacks. I let you know how it's coming. Definitely not going to be easy with a wife and 3 kids.