Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the Way Back! - Little bit on weight etc.

Have had an awful week workwise- had my second set of professional exams so was working around the clock from about last Thursday till Wednesday in order to make sure I was completely okay and had nothing to worry about (fingers crossed!).

Have just kept up running a steady 60 or so minutes a day this week as well (with a few faster spurts at ~tempo pace on the run into work on Tuesday) - have also realised in my usual post target race slump I've managed to put on half - three quarters of a stone (usual weight is 10 stone, sometimes dipping down to 9 3/4 during heavy training) - clearly got to cut back on the hot chocolates at work!

Seems as reasonable point as any to address weight! My policy (which may or may not be healthy but it seems to work for me!) - is that I know ten stone is about the right weight for me when running decent mileage - if I'm a few pounds either way I don't  really care. If it creeps out to a quarter stone or so out I generally just make small adjustments. If I'm at 9 3/4 then there'll be a couple more soft drinks/takeaways etc. and if I'm at 10 1/4 then I start cutting them out. As those who know me know - I've an awful soft drinks habit putting it away by the litre - and I like my junk food! - regular Indians and a 17 slice best at the Pizza Hut Buffet - long term once I start hitting some barriers it might be something that'll need serious consideration but I have to admit that I slightly live by the maxim that if the furnace is hot enough - anything will burn!

When I find myself considerably out (never been much lower than 9 3/4 generally) - and know I need to lose a couple of pounds - if I'm in full training I don't really worry as I know that running 80-90 mile weeks just by not eating as much crap but still getting all the healthy stuff in it'll drop off. If I'm not in full training (which is likely as usually the reason the weight can balloon is if I'm not training due to injury etc.) - then I start using the exercise bike more. When I get the Nintendo DSi up or something on TV and just cycle away at a very low heart rate/intensity you can get a lot of cardio/aerobic time at minimal stress to the body.

This is particularly useful as a lot of the time the weight can be contributing to the injury problems. During my worst ever period of injuries lasting 18 months I finally clocked on at one point and got on the scales for the first time in about 12 months- I'd gone from being a very slim 18 year old at about 9 3/4 stone to a 20 year old at close to 12 stone - you wouldn't necessarily notice to the eye- but in terms of my body it meant that for every footstep my already weakened legs/tendons were taking they were carrying an extra 2 stone - by cycling I managed to lose the weight (I usually reckon that 2 lbs / week is the maximum that should be lost and can actually be kept off).

Eating/weight is obviously a slightly taboo subject in the running world as there is  a problem with a lot of serious athletes having eating disorders or more commonly disordered eating! The unfortunate fact is that losing weight below what's best for you usually does improve your running- for a very short while until continual illness and general health problems catch up with you. It's also not helped by the seeming ability of some African athletes to look incredibly lean whilst seemingly fine.

 It's a hard balance to strike - perhaps not helped by the huge divergence between the athletics community (where generally people tend to be very slim) and the running/jogging community (where occasionally people might need to lose a pound or two for optimum performance but generally have very different aims in terms of life goals often not being just to run as fast as possible) - which makes frank discussions about the subject difficult. I once got a text from a friend after a run commenting that I was now looking "much leaner than before and was everything okay?" - whilst I was slightly shocked (my biggest eating problem generally seems to be avoiding stealing food off people's plates due to my greed issues...) I didn't mind being asked- if someone's concerned to my mind they should always say something!

Okay- this is starting to get a bit too long now. Basically try and be healthy people (I won't advise you on diet- that'd be a very much pot-kettle-black discussion!) -  measure weight regularly (but not obsessively!) - and over time find out what weight works best for you. I find a BMI of 19-20 my "optimum" for performance and much over 21 I need to lose a pound or two but that may be totally different for other people.

I definitely need a catch-phrase to sign off with. Answers on a post-card please. Winner will get the pair of trainers in the last post (or maybe one before that?) signed by me, Bryn Reynolds - or there are some used batteries on the table in front of me- you could have those instead.

Time to fly
Keep running
Jog on
Let the demons loose (Once a Runner aside...)
Run for the fun of it?

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Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.