Hunger Strikes: Marathon Training Week 4

Well I guess I spoke too soon last week when I stated that although I was finding I was getting hungry quite suddenly, it was ok because it was generally around mealtimes and therefore bearable, because this week that all changed…

In the early part of the week everything was fine. Training continued to go well and I had a huge appetite, but there was no problem. On Wednesday, however, I noticed that within about an hour and a half of my (carefully constructed carbs and protein) lunch, I was starving. On Thursday it was even worse, and accompanied by the sort of fatigue that makes you feel as if someone has pulled out the plug. It is clear, therefore, that I’ve reached the stage in my training where I need to increase the number of calories I’m taking in to account for how much my body is burning. Taking today as an example: the average female needs to consume roughly 2000 calories per day, but in the space of a run lasting less than an hour and a half I had burned 1000+ of those calories. Not only that, but the body continues to burn calories for some hours after running, so nothing I’ve eaten has filled me up for terribly long!

Obviously, nutritional adjustments need to be made. Most people would stick to a “little and often” kind of plan, eating regularly to prevent excessive hunger. The problem I have is that as a teacher I’m much more limited in when I can eat and have to fit snacks around my classes. This means I have to plan very carefully what I’m going to eat and try to include even more protein in my diet in order to sustain me. In the week ahead I’ll be working on this as experience has taught me that I need to keep a careful eye on my weight during marathon training and if I don’t get on top of this issue now, the next stage is quite dramatic weight loss. It’s an interesting problem to have: most people I know would be delighted to have an insatiable appetite whilst at the same time losing weight, however in order to train hard, I need to fuel my body right as well (although I’ll admit the weight loss, within reason, is quite nice!)

Nutrition aside, I’ve been happy with my training this week and am pleased with the progress I’ve made.

Planned training this week:
Monday – Gym
Tuesday – Club run
Wednesday – Gym
Thursday – Club track session
Friday – Rest/Swim
Saturday – 4miles
Sunday – 10miles

One or two adjustments were made, starting on Monday when Steve was unable to see me for a PT session so I opted to swim instead. I was glad of this at the end of the week when I was exhausted and could therefore opt for complete rest on Friday (apart from work, obviously!). Tuesday’s club run was another enjoyable one and I averaged a decent pace over a hilly route. On Wednesday it was arms ‘n’ abs on the TRX again then on Thursday I finally made it to the track for my first session there with the club this year. The session was 10x 400m with 1 min recovery (30secs for the last 3). It was one of those sessions dominated by the faster runners in the club so I was one of the slower ones there, but I held my own and completed the session with a nice case of “jelly legs syndrome” so I knew I’d worked hard!

After a rest on Friday I was all set for my steady run on Saturday morning and covered about 4.4 miles. I’m enjoying these Saturday morning runs as I get to plod along at a nice comfortable pace and loosen my leg muscles ready for my long run on Sunday. I was all set to run a solo 10 miles on Sunday, however Steve’s best mate offered to come out with me and run at my pace. He normally runs a bit faster so although he slowed down, this still spurred me on to run faster and I completed my 10 miles in a very pleasing 1:26:30, beating both my 10k and 10 mile PBs along the way. Excellent!

Overall, everything is going in the right direction and I’m excited to see how I perform in a race and how my results match up to my targets. In the meantime, however, I’m away to have something to eat…!

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