Saddle up those hedgehogs!

Wednesday 18 Jan

I am so tired.

For just over a week now I’ve been in a semi-permanent state of fatigue. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been running faster/longer sessions than my schedule dictated under the premise that if it felt comfortable then it was probably OK to continue. My legs have been tired as a result, especially my ankles and calves, but I’ve been able to maintain it and that has a positive influence. Whilst my schedule includes my daily mileage requirements, however, what it doesn’t include is all the other vital ingredients which I guess is an unspoken assumption:

I’m not eating nearly as much as I should be to cover my exertion. For example, the other day (which happened to include a 900 Calorie run) I calculated my calories in vs. my calorific out and I was short by a good few hundred Calories. This is something that simply can’t continue. The last thing I need right now is to lose weight (I can’t believe I’ve actually said that! That’s a first for me!!) as I know I will end up losing muscle mass just at a time I need it most. I know the value and importance of a nutritionally balanced diet but I’m really struggling getting enough good quality, high Calorific content food when I need it. There’s only so much a tub of cous cous for lunch can do for you. What I really need is a jacket spud or something with more substance but I don’t always have the time or facilities to grab one. The alarm
bells really started ringing when I started to need to grab a snack in the night and when my stomach routinely felt so empty at the start of a run it was as though there was a fist pressed into it for the duration. I think I really need to re-evaluate my eating plan.

I’m not getting anywhere near the sleep I require. A particularly busy and demanding time at work, coupled with some travelling has meant a disrupted sleep pattern over the last week or so. To add to this, my daughter has been particularly unwell too over the last 3 days, so my wife and I have been taking it in turns sleeping with her on the sofa, catching a couple of hours’ sleep in-between tending to her needs as and when we could. I think over the last 10 days the most sleep I’ve had in one night is 6hrs, the least being 2hrs. I just can’t function without lots of regular, quality sleep – especially when I’m running as I am – and circumstances have meant I’ve not been getting chance to recharge.

Going into tonight’s scheduled 8-miler I left the house yawning and really feeling quite drained. The effects of yesterday’s 9-miler were still around and last night’s broken sleep did little to flush it from my system. As I hauled myself round I spent a lot of time thinking about how I can recover myself before I either burn out, injure myself or simply lose my mojo. I finished off feeling absolutely shattered and as though I’d run 18, not 8.

The events of the last week or so have caught up with me and there’s no wonder right now I feel as though I could sleep on a galloping hedgehog.

Tomorrow’s another day, though, and a chance to make pro-active changes.

For now…time for bed!

87 days 8 hours to go…

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2 thoughts on “Saddle up those hedgehogs!

  1. There was an interesting interview on the Marathon Talk podcast a while ago. An elite triathlete turned endurance coach suggested that 90% or thereabouts of endurance athletes (for we are they!) don’t take on nearly enough fuel. He gave the example of Ryan Hall, the fastest non-African marathonner EVER (2:04 at Boston last year). He used to be good, but he became world class when he started eating MORE! It’s a fine line to tread, though, and although I’d eat my own right arm if it guaranteed me a sub 3.10 marathon, I’ll settle for continued weight loss over minor performance gains any day. I feel better, certainly, when I’m having to transport less weight around.

    Be careful when going faster/further than your plan would dictate. That’s another fine line you’re treading. I did that last year and was in the form of my life for the East Hull 20, and the time I finished there would have put me on for a definite 3.20 ish at Rotterdam. Of course, the record books say otherwise. I’ll blame that dodgy sausage roll, but really, I think I was slightly overtrained as well. And I’m not learning from that mistake either!

    Sleep well!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Darren. It’s almost like the unspoken side of training – the more people I connect with the more I learn that many of us have this tightrope to walk between under/over training, under/over eating etc. especially when so many of us started out to lose weight. It’s a difficult shift in attitude to make.

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