Wednesday, March 29, 2006

4 - Nutrition

Probably the part of Joe Beer's talk that caused most interest was the idea that it was better not to eat before morning runs, well any run up to an hour, because it helped train the body to use fat as a fuel. As an example professional cyclists tend to train fasted, using just water, for up to two hours.

There was a certain amount of resistance to this from some people I was talking to as they said they felt cranky if the did not eat first thing. One girl was completely adamant and we could not persuade her to try it even once as a trial. That is fine because we all know what works for our own bodies and should stick with it. I know I like to run before eating and do it on all of my holidays where, because you have time to enjoy and feel you have earned it, the delayed breakfast is even more enjoyable. However I had no idea I was doing it for any good scientific reason!

I think that the point of fasted running was made to balance all the attention paid to refuelling and how we can get carried away with different sports products. He was for example sceptical about recovery drinks, saying we were much better off with real food. However he was very insistent about the need for gels during long races and made the point that a bad race might just as easily have been the result of bad fuelling as inadequate training.

The key point was however trying everything several times so that everything we did was habitual. He made the point that training is mostly regular and you don't do new things just before a race but with nutrition there is a temptation to change the normal pattern. Don't - stick with the food you like and get used to your gels at ever 30-40 minutes.

It is however one of the great paradoxes - we should be trying to combine running with a good healthy lifestyle by eating healthy wholesome foods, yet we are encouraged to consume quantities of these expensive chemical concoctions during racing and training. Ho hum.

No comments: