Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Proper nutrition

Very often I forget the importance of getting enough nutrition as part of my training. Then when my body starts to feel tired with the daily strenuous workouts, I suddenly get into an extreme drive to nourish the body again. This time however I've decided to make it a point to get sufficient nutrition and keep the body properly hydrated at all times throughout the eight weeks of planned training. Speaking of hydration... let me grab some water before I continue.

I am generally a meat lover and hardly make it a point to eat much vegetables or fruits. I suppose it's more of a habit so I need to make a conscious effort at each meal to ensure that there is some kind of vegetable or fruit with what I eat. I've now stocked my refrigerator with fruits which has please my wife quite a bit.

Other things I like to eat are pasta, pastries and most of all not leaving out deserts of all sorts. Now come to think about it, my fridge is stocked with more chocolates than fruits... haha! But that does not happen very often though, it's just that my wife's recent trip to Australia and our family trip to Langkawi saw us picking up a whole bunch of those yummie chocs.

I do take one multivitamin tablet a day which has helped quite a bit with my poor eating habits. I don't get much 'affordable' healthy choices where I work and getting a decent lunch can become a problem sometimes. Little do we realise that the plate of fried rice or kuey teow that we normally eat has little or no nutrition in it. To compensate for a poor lunch, I've limited myself to a healthy breakfast of cereal, low fat milk, bread and fruits in spite of my regular cravings for nasi lemak.

I wonder what triathletes actually do to ensure they get enough nutrition? I would suppose their food intake would need to be much more in order to sustain their active lifestyles and it has to be expensive as well. So far I've been able to keep to my training schedule for the first week with 5 days of running, one day of swimming, and 3 days of light weight circuit training. Let's see if the next few weeks are going to take a toll on my body.

10 comments:

CHLow said...

Wonder if you still remember me. Talking about training and nutrition is interesting. I run about 4 days (mon to thurs)on weekday (about 5 to 7km each day). On Sunday i try to run further a little (about 10km) when there is a run coming up, but lately weekend lazy, also run about 7km. What i want to tell you is i just don't seem to improve. If i increase my mileage i will be very tired the next day. My body just can't take the extra. Could be my age (45) but then again i see so many people older then me running higher mileage. Just get frustrating at times. I struggle when i participate in those 10km runs. So now i am wondering if i am not getting enough nutrition. I have this weight problem so my daily food is normal breakfast (mee), lunch i only take oatmeal and fruits and dinner is just 2 spoons of rice and alot of vegetables. Even with this diet and exercise i can still put on weight. I would like to be able to increase my mileage in training as i would hope to run my second 21km run in Singapore this year without having to suffer so much. So far i just cannot increase my mileage as my body just can't cope with the increase. Maybe i need supplement like what you mention. Or maybe i just don't have what it takes to run longer distance. Each time i try to 'force' even when i am tired i get injured with all kind of pain. Maybe i should run longer but on alternate days instead of running continuously everyday to enable my body to have some rest. Any tips on how to improve.

Dinesh said...

Low, of course I remember you. When are we going to meet in person? Looking forward to meeting you.

Firstly, I think your running between 5km and 7km 4 days a week, plus one longer run of 7km to 10km in the weekends is a really good base training which should have improved your aerobic capacity by now if you have been doing it constantly for the last few months.

Now coming to the point of increasing mileage, to be very honest for most of us runners it does not come easily unless our body has perhaps many years of "conditioning" as they call it.

So each time mileage is increased, we are bound to feel a little tired the next day. The key to improving is to maintain this slight increase in mileage instead of decreasing it again. This is the only way the body is going to adapt to the increased running and pounding on the roads and slowly you will find that perhaps running 7km every day is not a problem.

The other thing to take note of is the pace you run on your daily runs. We should ideally be running at a base pace which is between one minute to two minutes slower than race pace. You don't need to worry so much about speed when trying to get in the mileage for a half marathon. Speed can be improved with specific speedwork at a later date.

If you are running daily, it's good to keep yourself hydrated even while in the office. I just started keeping a bottle of 100plus in the office and it does help. Of course water should also be enough. We need to drink more than what we normally would.

To be honest I can understand your difficulty in reducing weight and increasing mileage. I had the same problem when I lost from 86kg to 70kg before my KLIM. I did control my eating and at the same time was running high mileage which made my body very tired.

I think perhaps you need to set a goal to get yourself to an ideal body weight or at least to a weight you would feel comfortable with before concentrting on serious training. Meanwhile use the running as a means of helping you reduce weight. With your age, the problem of reduced metabolism would mean that you body's required food intake has reduced and your burn rate has also reduced.

To lose just one pound (not one kilo), we need to create a deficit of 3500 calories in our body. The only way to do that is either to burn those calories by exercising or reducing our food intake. So for instance if we did not reduce food intake, we need to run appx 50km to lose one pound.

I found this really mind boggling and its no wonder many people are getting more and more obese these days. I think what you could do to help immediately is to start taking one Multivitamin tablet a day. You will be amazed and the difference it makes. I take "CENTRUM" as it's affordable and a good brand.

I don't think you are not cut out to run long distances. I think you will be just fine. Perhaps we can even arrange one day where we can train together so I can see your running pace and also give you more tips. The other thing which helped me was running with friends. That makes a really big difference and motivates me even when I am dead tired.

Carboman said...

Wonder if you still remember me. Talking about training and nutrition is interesting. I run about 4 days (mon to thurs)on weekday (about 5 to 7km each day). On Sunday i try to run further a little (about 10km) when there is a run coming up, but lately weekend lazy, also run about 7km. What i want to tell you is i just don't seem to improve. If i increase my mileage i will be very tired the next day. My body just can't take the extra. Could be my age (45) but then again i see so many people older then me running higher mileage. Just get frustrating at times. I struggle when i participate in those 10km runs. So now i am wondering if i am not getting enough nutrition. I have this weight problem so my daily food is normal breakfast (mee), lunch i only take oatmeal and fruits and dinner is just 2 spoons of rice and alot of vegetables. Even with this diet and exercise i can still put on weight. I would like to be able to increase my mileage in training as i would hope to run my second 21km run in Singapore this year without having to suffer so much. So far i just cannot increase my mileage as my body just can't cope with the increase. Maybe i need supplement like what you mention. Or maybe i just don't have what it takes to run longer distance. Each time i try to 'force' even when i am tired i get injured with all kind of pain. Maybe i should run longer but on alternate days instead of running continuously everyday to enable my body to have some rest. Any tips on how to improve.



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chlow:
Very interesting email from you. Your weekly schedule is very good (in fact you're very disciplined and determined) and with that kind of weekday runs, you should have no problems doing a comfortable 10K but you said you don't improve - so this is one area to discuss. Your tiredness is most likely not due to age.

Your diet sounds "extreme" to me, with 2 spoons of rice. Weight control/reduction should not be performed at the expense of nutrition. What this means is that the amount you eat shouldn't be at the cost of sacrificing nutrients. By eating so little, your body may be deprived of essential nutrients necessary to keep up with your 4-5 day training program. Instead of quantity, focus on quality. Cut down on fats. Your fibre (veg and fruits) intake looks good but swap what you eat for breakfast and lunch. Have toast with cereal (oats is best, instead of those sugar laden types) for breakfast. Lunch you can have noodles or rice with vegs and fruits. Eat these noodles or rice in smaller portions. Dinner can also be the same.

Maintain your 4-5 schedule and you'll have energy to go thru the week. Eating smart will ensure you have energy to keep up with your workouts and your weight will go down as you increase your mileage and intensity. Don't worry about it so much - it will come down. I've got friends who have successfully adopted the above diet adjustments and are now very fit runners. Running is one of the best, if not THE best sport for weight management there is.

Cardinal rules:
1) Don't force yourself, be it in diet or training
2) Don't do too much too soon. Build it up and be patient. Distance running teaches patience, so it defeats the purpose to rush
3) You are you, so don't try to follow the others. Everyone's different.
4) Enjoy yourself. No point doing it if it's not fun. If you can run in a group. Check out http://pm1.blogspot.com on where we usually run. Or join the Beginners' Running Program http://www.runnersmalaysia.com.my - a free community service
5) Once it's fun, motivation will come in. That's when you start seeing improvements

Perhaps you can share with us the following info:
1) How long have you been running?
2) What pace do you do your training runs?
3) What's your 10K and 21K timing?
4) What's your weight/height?
5) What shoes do you wear and where do you normally run?

Good luck!

Carboman said...

Another thing. Your tiredness sounds chronic. So I believe you're cutting too much off your eating. Balance it up per my earlier posting, pop a multi, maintain your runs at an easy pace and review the results. Let us know.

C-CUBE said...

Hi all,
i am 45 too, my diet is almost 90% vege, lots of fruits and very little meat, I dont feel any deficiency in running longer distance. This diet also makes my body lighter and coupled with my runs, I hv reduce from 83kg to 70kg in 9 months. on top of that i have regular intake of multivit, Mag + calcium which are all organic herbal base. so far this combination works for me.

As for running further, you just have to increase gradually and listens to your body.

my 2 cts.

CHLow said...

Dinesh/Carbo man/C-cube,

Thanks for all the advice and suggestion. Before i go any further i better clarify one point. I am not a fast runner, to describe myself, slow jogger would be more appropriate. So don't get me wrong when i say i want to improve by being able to clock higher mileage definitely not in term of speed. Cannot even run comfortably to complete a run so guess no point talking about speed yet.

Dinesh, yeah still hoping to meet you but i think this year would not be possible as my next possible run would be in singapore which i don't think you will be going. Somehow you are always the motivator to get me to run a 21km. I remember reading about your training for your first marathon (KLIM), that's when i got the idea of going for my first 21km (also KLIM). Now when i read about you training so diligently for Bidor,somehow you got me motivated to try my second 21km in Singapore.

Maybe what you said about decreasing my mileage when i feel tired is true that is why i never managed to train my body to adapt to the increase. Coming to my pace, aiyoh i never think of all this i just hentam only when i run. Already run so slow if have to go 1 or 2 minutes slower must as well walk (Ha! Ha!)

Carbo-man,

Thanks for your input. First i would like to let you know that i do read your blog. Good blog, very informative.

A little about myself. Was active during my school days. (played many sports) After school gave up everything that is when i started to put on weight with the sudden inactivity. Since then my weight have always been my biggest enemy. During my bachelor days when i was in my 20's still ran a little just for exercise. Ran in a few PJ half marathon 10km run in the 80's. After that got married and when i had my first son (16 years ago) that was when i slowly stop all form of exercise. Those days just cannot find the time and energy to go for exercise. You are in the position that i am in when my son was at carbo kid's age. With work commitment (doing OT, to survive) and having to take care of my son just cannot find the energy to do any exercise. Then came my second son 3 years after my first son, that's when i stop completely. Even when i go for any run at that time it would be just about 10 to 15 minutes jog. Only now when the two boys are a little bigger can i find some time to run more. Started to run longer only last year by taking part in more 10km races. I have never run beyond 10km until this year 21km in KLIM. As for my pace in training don't know lah i just run only never give this a thought. My last 10km run was last week Shah Alam 10km. My timing was 62'15" (surprised to get a medal for this run even with this slow timing) for my first and only 21km my timing was 2hr 34m 39s (first 10km timing was 1hr 05m 56s). As for my weight i am about 77kg and height 5'6.5". As for shoes i am wearing a Nike Air. Not an expert on all this, normally just go into a shop see something that i like within my budget and just buy it. About time to change a new pair of shoes, any suggestion within the price RM250-RM300)

I normally run around my housing area in Subang Jaya alone. I fully agree about the importance of running with friends, unfortunately i don't have any friends interested in running. (all my friends just don't like to exercise). Tried to get my sons interested but they are not interested too. I think my pace is just too slow to join any group. Anyway time is also another factor to consider. I agree that running alone is not easy especially when you want to go for longer runs.

For my first 21km run i know that i did not clock enough mileage to be able to run comfortably. For that run i only did about 4 runs more then 10km distance and the longest only about 14km. When i reach the 17-18 km mark i was hit by cramps and it got worst at the last km. So for this time i was hoping to do a weekly mileage of up to 40-50km, hoping that with that mileage i will be able to run more comfortably.

C-cube,

Thanks for your input too. At the moment the only supplement i take is Ester-C250 vitamins, will see if i need to take anything extra.

Thanks again for all inputs. I will experiment and see how it goes. Will keep you guys inform if i managed to 'improve'. Yesterday my legs were so tired (maybe due to no rest after my SA 10km run)but i still went for a run (7.6km) at a pace slower then my normal 'slow' pace, guess what after the run i felt better and my legs were not so tired anymore.

Carboman said...

Low
Thanks for visiting my blog. Wow, looks like the gap btw Carbo Kid and his sibling is also the same as for both your boys! You're right abt taking care of endurance before speed. Your 10K and 21K timings are really not bad. Keep it up.

Rm200-300 can get you quite a decent pair of shoes. There are different shoes for different types of feet. Eg if you pronate (ie foot slightly collapses inside, then you need stability shoes. NB makes some good stability models such as the 766 or 718.

If you're neutral, you can pretty much wear anything that's comfy to you.

C-CUBE said...

CH, join me on my Sat run at Lake Garden if you are interested. A few of us are training for the SG marathon. We start at 0600 and probably finished by 0830 for a 20k run. our pace are between 2:10 - 2:20 to complete the run. let me know if ur interested.

Dinesh said...

Low

Your recent 10k time is not considered slow at all. With that kind of timing for 10k and gradual increase of mileage you will be running the half marathon comfortably.

I'm glad that I've been an inspiration to you in running the 21k. I'm sure you will be just fine in Singapore. Most importantly enjoy the race and get to know more runners, they are mostly a great bunch of people.

CHLow said...

C-cube,

Thanks for inviting me to join your group for the run on Sat. I would love to, but i don't think i have the endurance to go for a 20K training run. For this Singapore run i would try to increase my long run gradually in the coming weeks, but i think 20K is really too tough for me at the moment. Hope in future can have the endurance to run 20K in training. Then maybe i would be able to join your group. Now can only 'dream' about running 20K in training.