I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks (birthday, bridesmaid duties, clients) with one week where I was not able to run (more on that later) and as of two days ago, I have at least another week out with a sprained ankle. I’m absolutely gutted, I was supposed to be running 16 miles today but that’s obviously gone out of the window. I actually hurt myself fencing of all things – I’ve just been working with one of the coaches of the Team GB Fencing athletes on a sports nutrition plan and he kindly invited me along to have a go – needless to say I wasn’t very good!
Last weekend I ran 14 miles and I started experimenting with gels. I took one around the 9.5 mile mark and felt I had ample energy until the end. It was an SIS orange gel which is the brand I used last time I ran the marathon. I had a mild stomach cramp later on in the afternoon but I can’t say for sure if it was attributed to the gel and it passed quickly. It is really important to drink a good amount of water with the gels to aid the digestion – which can be problematic in the training runs but on the actual day there are water stations every mile which helps somewhat. Next long run (I pray next weekend) I will experiment with GU gels and report back.
The night before my long runs I am making sure I have a meal rich in carbohydrates but you should also make sure you are doing this 2-4 hours after finishing the run. It is so important to replenish your muscle glycogen stores so you are ready to go for your next training session with adequate energy in the bank. This meal should also include a good quality protein source (by this I mean lean meat, fish, lentil, chickpeas, beans, tempeh, eggs) as protein is essential for the recovery and repair of your muscles. A good variety of fruit and vegetables will also give you those important antioxidant nutrients which will help to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals which can be produced from endurance exercise. So a couple of example meals would be a chicken breast with brown rice and 3-4 handfuls of a variety of colourful vegetables or salmon with wholewheat pasta in a tomato sauce with 3 other colourful vegetables.
Finally I would try and include omega-3 food sources into your diet. The best sources are SMASH fish (sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring) and veggie sources are ground flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds and dark green leafy vegetables. And why should you include omega-3 foods? To reduce inflammation in the body that this sort of exercise can cause. I would aim for 3 portions of these fish a week.
So for me this week is rest, elevation and an ankle support. I’ll also be eating a lot of pineapple – it contains a compound called bromelain which can help reduce swelling and inflammation in sports injuries and help combat pain. Fingers crossed!
Here I shoved a handful of frozen pineapple in blender with around 150ml of coconut milk (from a carton, not a tin!) and a sprinkle of turmeric (another anti-inflammatory) and whizzed!
Happy Running! Hopefully I will be again soon!
PS For the ladies – my previous week not being able to run was due to swollen boobs from ineffective sports bras (I use the most robust shock absorber as well!), gosh they were painful. I found the best solution in something called a Booband – you can buy 2 online for about £25 and I can tell you it was an absolute lifesaver. It essentially straps those bad boys down. so they can’t move. Just don’t do what I did the first time I tried it and attach it so tight you can’t breathe!