Monday 31 January 2011

Ultra-running: For fat people who can't run very fast? Indeedy

Thanks to Murdo for sending me this. Made me right giggle, so it did. And saved me actually writing a proper post.

Thursday 13 January 2011

The Nutrition Transition

I'd like to think I'm a healthy eater. I like fresh, colourful food and (unless full of beer) greasy make me queasy. I'm not a must-have-chocolate-everyday kind of girl and crips just don't cut. My downfall is sweets. And picking. BC (before Cairn) I was out most evenings, generally training, but now I spend most evenings at home - too close to the fridge. It's not usually out of hunger or boredom, more just because it's there. If it wasn't for the fact that I work full-time, you could probably run reps round me!

I make more of an effort with food, but I know I'm not a healthy drinker. And that's not including the wine. I hydrate on coffee, tea and Pepsi Max. I very rarely drink water. Not because I don't like it, I just don't get to the "oh I could murder a glass of water" stage.

When it comes to eating and drinking during training and races, that's where I really suffer. I could probably list from memory exactly what I ate during the four ultras I did last year. For example, during the 53 mile Highland Fling, I ate the grand total of four jelly babies. I overcompensate with Lucozade and Coke, which generally leaves my bagged-up. You know I don't do toilet chat, so that's as graphic as it's going to get.

So in a vain attempt to start the year's training/races on the right foot, I went to see dietitian Nathalie Jones, who's based at Achilles Heel on Sundays.

There's just so much conflicting advice out there: You need carbs for energy, but carbs make you fat. You need protein for recovery, but runners eat too much protein. Sugar's bad for you, but sports drinks will make you run longer/faster/better. Runners need dairy to fend off osteoporosis, but milk gives you runner's trots. Run on empty to train you body not to hit the wall, don't run on empty or you'll risk muscle breakdown and long term fatigue. It's a mindfield out there. And that's before you take into account fad diets and bogus supplements.

Prior to the appointment I had to submit a training plan and food diary. Basically everything I ate over four (average) days. It's amazing seeing what you consume in black and white. And more so, I was very conscious of how much I pick and eat mindlessly. And that was me "randomly selecting" the good days :-)

The one-hour appointment with Nathalie was very insightful. The plan essentially goes back to basics and seems relatively easy to follow. OK, I've only been doing it for three days. No calorie counting or weighing, thankfully. It's all based on portion sizes. Upping my carbs and dairy and using protein for after exercise.

I'll actually be (well, consciously) eating more than I'm used to and should keep my weight steady, without having to have really good days to compensate for the really bad days. Losing 5/6 lbs would be a bonus though.

Friday 7 January 2011

Let the fun and games commence

The Marcothon is finished. The parties are over. My house looks like Hamley's. I've acquired a muffin top. And I'm on the wagon. It must be a New Year then.

It started so well, with a nice big thaw of the snow and ice. Yay! And now it's creeping its way back in. My long-overdue return to club training last night, involved six miles of treacherously icy pavements, with some gobby neds in Maryhill thrown in for good measure. Oh joy.

I hope it doesn't overstay its welcome this time, as I really need to get some sort of training - which doesn't involve plodding - in. I did my first session in over a month on Wednesday. I would say speed session, but I fear you may laugh. Let's split hairs and just call it a session with effort.

The last (published) of Johnson's Joggers training plans went out the window - along with my mojo. But I'm all fired up and ready to start my new schedule. I'll post it later this week, but here are the lunch speed (ok, effort) sessions.

w 08/01 - 18, 8, 6 (90 secs)
M 10/01 – 8 x 3mins (1min) [canal - kelvin]
W 12/01 – 2 x 1 mile hill loop (2mins) + 7 x triangle hill sprint (continuous)
M 17/01 – 20min tempo + 6 x 200m [kelvin & kelvingrove park]
W 19/01 – 4 x 6mins + 1 x 3mins (90secs) [canal - kelvin]
M 24/01 – 15 x 1min brisk, 30secs steady fartlek [kelvin]
W 26/01 – 3 x killers [kelvingrove park]
M 31/01 – 4.8 mile out & back tempo [canal]
W 2/02 - 2 x 8mins (90secs) + 4 x 2mins (75secs) [canal - kelvin]
M 7/02 – 2 x 1 mile hill loop (2mins) + 8 x triangle hill sprint (continuous)
W 9/02 - 3 x 12min (2min) [canal]
M 14/02 – 15 x 1min brisk, 30secs steady fartlek [kelvin]
W 16/02 - 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1min (90secs after the 8 & 6 then 1min) [canal – kelvin]

I still haven't really done any long runs, which I'm getting slightly concerned about. I had a second stab at the Mingavie-Drymen out and back (24 miles) last week - with Sonic, the GM, JK, Crazy German and unstoppable Mister C. Disaster number two. The big thaw hadn't quite reached surburbia. It's only five miles up the road, but it was like stepping into a parallel universe. Exaggerated by the sight of Richie in a pair of Pantyhose. Under Armour, Rich. The clue's in the name :-)

So on to the West Highland Way we went, which was the first mistake. It was like a rink. Second mistake was going with a Kahtoola/yaktrak clad group. My ice grippers were worn down after a month of pavement pounding and were what I described as "f*ck all use to anybody!". After a very frustrating seven miles of cross-country/field running, I threw in the towel and about turned. A wise choice, as without the grip 14 miles was tough enough. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and my legs were knackered.

I was glad to get to the car and remove my sodding-wet socks and shoes. A great excuse to put on my lovely new Hunter wellies. Hey, it's been a least two postings since I mentioned new shoes.

I picked up Cairn earlier than expected (bonus) and decided to go shopping (double-bonus). Can you imagine the above outfit teamed up with a skelping red face and a pair of wellies? Now imagine the look on the faces behind the Estee Lauder counter at Frasers when I appeared waving an over-eager credit card. I'm sure Cairn was just pretending to be asleep.

I got home to discover the postman had tried to deliver my new Kahtoolas. I would have been miffed if it wasn't for the fact that when I went to collect them, the company had sent a pair of large microspikes in error - which, again, would be "f*ck all use to anybody".

All was not lost though, as a self-administered big dollop of TTFU and I went out and ran the missing 10 miles. I would not be beaten.

Then came the Marcothon Grand Finale. I was kind of sad to see it end, as it was what kept me (and many others) motivated throughout the weather chaos. I met and was encouraged by lots of great people along the way - the usual maddies and some real troopers. I organised a last-minute small group run in Pollok Park, which was a nice way to end it.

We even had a Marcothon proposal! See the Subversive Runner's blog for more details.

My first run in 2011 was on the Kilpatrick Hills with the Gibbering Midget. The aim was to meet in Old Kilpatrick at 8am. The GM was out on the vino the night before, so I was half expecting a call off. I was woken by a text message, which I thought was said call off, only to read: "Is everything OK?" and I then noticed it was 8:15. F*********ck!! Even Cairn, who's my back-up alarm, was still sound. I was up, half-dressed and out in minutes. I didn't even brush my teeth, but used the mouthwash from the glovebox (ok, it's an Aygo, so it's more of space where the glovebox should be) which I swirled round my mouth and spat out the window. If I had been more awake, I would have realised when driving at 50mph that it was obviously going to come back in and hit me. I got there just before 8:30, minty-fresh and slightly startled. First stop was the al fresco powder room.

Thankfully the run was well worth the panic. Amazing views and the terrain wasn't the usually marshland, so I finished with semi-dry feet. And ready to murder a coffee.

Happy New Year everyone :-) My (small) Kahtoolas arrived today.