Tired Legs - My Nutrition Slip

Since coming back from vacation my legs haven't been 100%. I'd say, even less than 20%?

At first, I thought it was hydration related since I came back, it  has been oppressively hot and humid. I had been running in heat while out in Colorado, but there obviously isn't the humidity.

The first run I did back on MN was not good... to say the least. I went through a water bottle after just 3 miles (hand held) and then was searching for a farmhouse that might have a hose or a spigit that I could refill at. I stopped to use the bathroom 3 times. I was sweating buckets, and I'm not normally someone who sweats in normal temps/dewpoints. I was supposed  to go 15 miles, but when it started raining at 11 miles (as I was trying to fill up my water bottle), I called Nate to pick me up. I was miserable. Dew point was 72 or 73. I was completely soaked from head to toe.

I made it through the week and tried to drink a ton, but am sure I didn't keep up. After a 20 miler mid-week, which I stopped for water several times. After finishing, I lied on our basement carpet for the longest time. I had millions of beads of sweat coming from my skin - and that wasn't the sweat that had already dripped off of me onto the carpet (gross - I won't ask you to come to that corner of our basement, ever, promise).

My legs never felt great after vacation, but they continually felt worse. I upped my sodium intake. What else is there to do to combat heat and humidity, I wondered? I was already waking up early and doing my second runs late. I ran in the Arb (shade) more often than normal.

Then... the 10 mile race on the weekend that went pretty poorly.  Race recap here. My quads weren't firing properly. It almost felt like the quads would collapse with random strides. Not normal...  at all.

So, Jerry and I decided to take TWO days off. Two complete days! That's a ton for me. My first run back after those days off was equally ugly, though. My quads were not working properly and I noticed myself running very jerky - as my quads weren't fire right when I landed, I couldn't move through my stride normally. Ug, so frustrating to still be feeling this way, especially after two complete days off. I was so disappointed.

I was also gaining weight like crazy during this period. 109.0 last week to 114 this Tuesday. What the heck? I might as well be living off of chocolate chip banana bread, cheeseburgers, and cheesy puffs!

I had an appointment with Rasa already lined up, so had her look over my nutrition logs for the last 3 days to see if she could see any patterns. Of course, I didn't put together my logs until the day of my appointment - had gotten out of the habit of tracking online or on paper. I was shocked to see the results. I wasn't even getting in 50% of my protein needs for the day!! I am SURE that during our week of vacation I was even lower. I would guess that for the last 12-16 days I've been averaging between 25-50% of my daily needs.

Protein needs are so high when you're logging high mileage! Pay close attention to it!!

The thing  is, I know that I need to be eating a lot of protein. I've been doing this long enough! I can't believe I let this slip. I think during vacation I let myself eat whatever was available (hard to eat chicken breast, eggs, or Greek yogurt when you're out hiking on a mountain for an entire day...). Then, when coming back I didn't get back into the habit of tracking everything.

What I know you're thinking eating protein looks like

But really, it's all about simply adding a protein source to each of your meals. I'll often be lazy and just grab what's readily available, especially during the day. Who wants to just cook for themselves? So, that either means I need to stop being lazy and cook something for myself or make extras one evening and save it for left-overs. It's not that hard... I just need to think about it and plan for it!

There are plenty of non-meat protein sources as well, including beans, eggs, peanut butter, nuts, etc. It's all about being creative... something I haven't been lately.

So - after just 3 days of meeting my daily needs, my legs are feeling slightly better. YAY! I've been making sure I re-fueld every workout with a Generation UCAN protein drink (if not using UCAN, use Sunwarrior or another high-quality protein powder). Shakes are a GREAT way to get in protein immediately after a workout (who feels like chewing on a chicken breast right after a run, anyway?!?)


Lesson learned... tracking things online everyday is just something I need to do. I use myfitnesspal.com, setting up my nutrient ratios there which makes things super easy. Even though I know about how much is in most things, I simply forget how much I need to be eating, and nothing helps you add more protein to a meal than tracking it each and every day. 20 grams/meal or snack (on average) is what I need to hit my 100-110g/day target.... which is not easy unless you're really mindful of it! Try it!

Hopefully this is the start of me coming out of a 2 week slump. I'm excited to start feeling normal  again, I have a lot of mileage and quality to log!! :)

Anyone have any great protein recipes to share? I'd love to see and try them!!

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

2 comments:

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