At the start of the year I spent the first month or two training and being very controlled about my diet. The result was I dropped below my previous race weight. As the months went on and with big training camps the amount I was eating justifiably increased. The problem comes when you have easier weeks, recovery and tapers and you don’t adapt your diet enough. So this post is at least partly about my favourite topic and not about the sub-mediocre Simon Pegg comedy I was glad I didn’t pay to see.
Standing on the gym scales this week confirmed my suspicion that it was time to revisit my diet and cut back a little. So now I’m avoiding bread as much as possible, no more cheese and low fat options as much as I can. Plenty of fruit and veg, no limits on that, but generally a lower volume of food. The details are something I’ve not always been good at in my training, slacking off on these isn’t an option any more. I’m not setting or stating a particular weight goal, I need to lose a couple of kilos at least. It’s more important to adapt to a sustainable, lower fat diet that can deliver my nutritional needs. Cutting calories is easy when you’re starting back into training with low intensity and volume.
To an extent it’s true that when you’re training all out you can pretty much eat what you like. Calorific demands go way up as does the micro nutritional needs. On Epic Camp I ate as much as I could, more concerned about lacking the energy to keep training than the potential effects on my waistline. Despite the huge amount of energy I expended each day I did gain weight, I wonder in part if this wasn’t to do with the way some of those calories were spread. I tended to binge at meals and eat a minimum throughout the day, better even snacking (just like the dieticians recommend) might reduce the actual amount I ate whilst maintaining more even energy levels. Towards the end of the camp as I suffered more I started to think about the link between energy levels and mood and wonder if I should be eating more. It’s tough to get enough calories when you’re hanging on to the back of the group though!
A period of lighter training is the ideal time for me to sort this out. With the lower calorific demands there’s less impact to adjusting the diet, but I’m getting some sense of what is and isn’t going to work. What I then have to do is take the good practices forward into my heavier training periods. No more junk calories to meet my daily needs. I’ll allow the occasional treat, at the very least I can’t entirely go without an occasional slice of my favourite New York Baked Cheesecake. Last year in Oz this almost became a daily habit and perhaps that was taking things too far!
Having mentioned waistlines I’ll leave the topic by stressing it’s not that I’m really fat. By everyday standards I’m in a perfectly healthy weight range, with the way things are going I’m probably considered thin. From the perspective of racing to my best I am not going into my races at my ideal weight and compared to when I was just running I’m a heavyweight! Admittedly a good portion of that is the muscle required to swim and bike to a reasonable standard so I can’t look at my running days as a guide. It’s all about the body composition for racing and training at my best, whatever weight that might mean.
Also relating to the title I’m back to regular training, without too much structure. I’m sticking to an easy run everyday this week, nothing too far just 30 minutes or so. Then mixing in some swimming and biking with that again going by overall feel and not concerning myself with effort level too much. I’ll carry this into next week, but increase the duration a little. Then I’ll have a long ride a week Friday to celebrate my first day as a full time athlete. Yep, just one more week to go now.