Of sleep, training and treadmills that bite

Perhaps it’s the effect of the 5am starts during the week, but I slept in today. Sleepbot reckoned on 12h7m of snoozing which is a lot compared to my average of about 8 hours. On the plus side, that’s the end of the regular very early starts for the time being!

Of course it might well not just be the effect of getting out of bed early. There’s plenty of bugs going around work at the moment and various people struggling in despite them.

And of course there’s the training. This is the end of week 5 of marathon training, and if I’m honest it’s beginning to bite now. The routine is there and life is beginning to revolve around what run is required of me that day. Thankfully the weather has been pretty reasonable recently after all the rain and I’ve been able to get outside onto the roads for the training, which is far nicer than hours on the treadmill. It’s harder work too as the earth isn’t as flat as is provided by the smoothness of a treadmill.

There are no obstacles on the treadmill either. No lamp posts to nearly collide with, pedestrians who somehow take up ALL of the pavement and the ever present hazard of traffic at junctions. Perhaps there’s a market for an extreme treadmill that occasionally throws dogs at the user’s head at random, just to keep them on their toes. Or off them if it’s a strike…….

Anyway, the combined encouragement via Strava and Smashrun has helped keep up the pressure. The training itself seems very much harder work at the moment although overall the times and speeds done aren’t actually that bad.

It has got me thinking more about nutrition which is something I really have never got to grips with. In 2012 I spent hours trying to understand a variety of marathon diets and in the end just did my own thing. However 2 years older and with a lot more effort seemingly required this time around, it’s something I’m looking into again.

I started using carb gels in 2012 but had mixed results with them, not least an unpleasant stomach which seemed to occur following a second gel. It seems that this is actually not unusual so I’m trialing a jelly-baby mid-running approach instead having had some of the foodie bits explained to me by my running friend who has the added complication of T1 diabetes to deal with.

I’ve also moved away from my stance of avoiding protein supplements. Something I’ve always associated with bulking-up, it’s an approach that didn’t seem helpful to a runner. In addition, one of the big issues with Multiple Myeloma is the production of paraproteins and a high level of protein level in the body which damages the liver and kidneys (and with amylodosis, the other major organs as well). So the message of too much protein is bad is evident to me!

However upon reading an article about recovery and gluconeogenesis¬†I began to think more about the protein side of my diet, having only broadly thought about carbs in the past. I’ve had the symptoms in the past whereby my weight starts to plummet when the training really kicks in as my body effectively consumes itself, turning muscle into glucose for fuel. And similarly, the achey legs and muscles post run and long recovery times.

As with anything food related, getting the right balance is the key ingredient, rather than hitting one type of foodstuff and expecting everything to be OK. I’ve started looking at the details on the sides of foods bought in the supermarket regarding the proteins and carbs levels and it would appear that the protein levels are too low. The OAS complication doesn’t make the situation any easier!

So I’m going to experiment a little with post-run protein shakes to see if a small change is beneficial. I’ll report back on any results that come up, but if you’ve used them and have anything to share, please get in touch.

And on that note, time to cook dinner, most probably roast chicken!

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