As I’ve become more and more invested in my running and racing I’ve felt the need to educate myself. Everything I’ve learn has been self taught for the most part so please don’t use what I say as the end all be all. I’ve read books, magazines that focus on fitness, and have talked with many other athletes and trainers-we are by no means professionals.
In the last few years I would say I have taken my training to the next level where I compare my race times to previous times, consider my age bracket and where I place, and really have become concerned about my food as fuel. After running the Philadelphia marathon at what I considered was a “comfortable” pace for myself without pushing myself at all I finished in 4:18. To say I was impressed with myself would be an understatement. I followed a strict training schedule and overall ate healthy and restricted myself to having minimum alcoholic beverages. After that race I realized I wasn’t pushing myself to my full potential. I set new goals. Quicker times and hard races that I plan to work up to- it doesn’t happen over night.
I picked up a book, Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I’m only about a quarter through and I’ve already have learned so much while solidifing some ideas I had about how to fuel when training. One thing I am focused on right now in the reading is high and low quality foods. Fitzgerald developed the Diet Quality Score Calculator or DQS. This gives points to higher quality foods such as fruits and veggies, lean meats, and multi/whole grains. It deducts points for foods that are fatty, high in sugar, or highly processed. You do not need to reach a specific number because every person is different in how much or how little they may eat. If you end up with a negative number you just aren’t eating well.
Now I’m not saying I’m perfect at following this, but I like the idea of having this structure. I have days I eat plenty of junk-who doesn’t love some crispy French fries or ice cream now and then. Just trying to keep it to a minimum!
Fitzgerald includes 6 main steps in his book for endurance athletes to follow: improve diet quality, manage appetite, balance energy sources, monitor yourself, time nutrition, and train right. Since I haven’t gotten through the entire book yet I will have more information to share with you later on more of the steps.
In the very first chapter I had interesting read about the different body structures of athletes body types depending on what type of sport he/she competes in. Runners tend to be light and skinny, but cyclists having more muscular legs, but a triathlete is a hybrid between the swimmer/cyclist/runner. Fitzgerald explained that the triathlete body type is really its own special body type of lean composition. He even mentioned shorter triathletes do quiet well (Yay-I’m only 5’4”)! Overall this type of athlete needs to have lean body composition.
Back to reading!