Here I am, doubled over, feeling horribly UN-fit, after doing what should have been a punchy energized tempo run. I am not unfit, not sick, and I had plenty of sleep the night before; but when I reflect, it is plain to see that my recovery nutrition (or lack therof) in the 24hrs before, is squarely to blame.
24 hours earlier: Friday morning is my heavy weights session at the gym. Now, I know what you are thinking… “why do a heavy weights session the day before a lively tempo run?” In a perfect world I would move them further apart, but this is what fits in with my family, and I also know that any DOMS from weights kicks in on Saturday night, so I can sneak in this intensity run before that slows me down.
This is was my day of food before the run…
The food I’m eating is healthy. BUT. Firstly, there isn’t enough. Secondly: it isn’t anywhere close to being optimised for recovery…
“Good recovery requires complex carbs to refuel, and protein to kick-start muscle repair. You’d also do well to drip-feed your muscles protein throughout the day, to keep repairing those muscles”
Let’s break it down:
The chia bowl: on balance, I’d call this meal a mixture of different fats. Chia seeds are nutrition powerhouses sure, but there is neither carb, nor protein content here of any worth for recovery. The redeeming feature about the chia seeds is the good dose of anti-inflammatory / healthy fats they provide.
Counterbalancing this though, is that most chia bowls are made on coconut milk, which are predominantly inflammatory fats, and again, zero carbs/protein. So still no recovery benefit, and infact, possibly working against me.
What about the yoghurt – surely some protein in there? Ahhhhh, no. Coconut yoghurt is pretty much wholly fat. So I’ve NOT refueled with carbs, and I have NO protein for muscle repair. Being as substantial as this meal is though, it will keep me going for ages. And this is part of the problem. My hunger is wiped out so much that all I feel like for lunch is the veggie sticks – again, I miss the vital protein/carb macronutritents needed to drip in for muscle repair.
Brazil nuts: Healthy snack for sure, but again…not a huge amount of protein, and zero carbs.
Dinner: Finally some recovery nutrition. Yet unfortunately, the entry of these necessary recovery macros make an appearance all too late.
Grainy toast: starting to actually switch my brain on and think about how my day of food rolled out (and my run tomorrow), so I try to make up lost ground on the poor recovery nutrition!
During the run? Dead legs, I literally felt like I was running with bricks as quads. And at the end where I like a good sprint finish, I have no fuel in the tank. My little boy asks me why I’m puffing so hard!
This is what I OUGHT to have done:
Sports nutrition is NOT just what you do in & around training. The whole day of food can have impact on your recovery & subsequent training sessions. Just because you eat ‘healthily’ doesn’t mean it will match up to your training goals. Where can you make changes?