When I was a lad, at the end of training on a Sunday morning Monty (Alec Montgomery) always used to say. “Right, when you get home I want you to kick the door open and shout at your mum ‘where’s my dinner?’.” He was always telling me to go home and eat.
The best part of forty years later and I have just been reading about carbohydrates on this site, amongst others.
What I found shocking was the 4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight formula.
So, I got my scales out and did a little weighing. Just a few things like rice, pasta, oatmeal and breakfast cereal.
Then you have to take into account that these things are not completely dry, so there is a portion of water in them. Cereal grains are usually dried to 16% moisture for storage, so there is a big chunk out for a start, then whole grains have a proportion of indigestible fibre, which is carbohydrate, but does not give you any energy, and the protein, vitamins and minerals that even refined white flour contain, and I realized that I am well short of that target amount.
Admittedly this is for a top athlete doing a lot of training, but I was over 100 grams short of just the dry ingredients. I do not think that the fruit and vegetables and potatoes I eat would make up that shortfall. If potatoes are 20% dry matter, you are looking at over a pound more needed a day!
So, what do I do next, eat more sweets? Start putting sugar in my tea again?
This would be difficult as I do not particularly like sweet things.
So I am making a conscious effort to eat just a little more. I put a little more rice in the pan, a bit more oatmeal for my porridge and I’ve started having an extra “Weetabix”. If I remember I shall put sugar in my cup of tea after my run.
I am one of those people that can eat and not put on weight. I stop eating when I’m full and only eat when I’m hungry. This is probably an enviable position to be in; most of the time.
Unfortunately, in this case it is not. It is hard work trying to eat more than you want! I tried it a few months ago. I intuitively felt I was not eating enough, so I tried eating more. But the old habits took over and my food consumption dropped. My stomach thanked me for it, but I notice that I lost a few pounds.
There is a serious side to this as well, as Monty was trying to tell me. You have to eat if you are training to rebuild your body as well as to do the work. It applies if you are running for fitness or for gold medals.
It is this rebuilding side that is more of a concern to me because if you recover slowly, you can’t do the running you want, and you are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses. You need a certain amount of muscle bulk to store the glycogen that keeps you running as well as the strength to run that bit faster.
I do not know how accurate the above carbohydrate formula is, but it is a good guideline. I have more confidence in it because I also felt that I was not eating enough and this formula confirmed it and gave me an idea of how much more I should be eating.
Hopefully I will see an improvement in my recovery in the coming weeks