I am getting over a cold. It is the second one in a month and I am generally healthy and can avoid such things. But not when I start running. You could even make a joke when you sign up for a race. When will the sickness come? As long as it isn’t on race day right?
So, I just started into my actual training for the Oregon Epic Relay. I need to get into some serious running shape for this event. And I am sick again. It is that time of year, but I thought how much I want to be training and instantly changed everything about my diet with the thought of betting better as soon as possible.
I started making smoothies with spinach, berries, flax, and chia seeds. I put together muesli and added more veggies. I didn’t miss any vitamins either. Then it hit me. I am supposed to be doing this for my training! I used to do this everyday with a focus on fueling my athletic endeavors.
In reality, I am just getting back from some time being really laid back. For many years I took my fitness very seriously. Everything I ate was about fueling my body and nutrient density. Then I got a little burned out (a conversation for another day). I have never stopped working out, but it was done with a casualness. My diet has never gone off the rails, but it lost the need to be intentional and focused.
Endurance sports increases your susceptibility for illness. Most specifically upper respiratory and congestion problems. This is most pronounced when someone is beginning training, ramping up their training, or in a post event time frame. Where tapering is really important it can also be the perfect time to get the cold that keeps a person out of a race.
What can be done? Shifting the focus of dieting to nutrition fueling. The body is a machine. It is getting everything that it needs to be healthy and perform well?
I warm up the car in the morning. On the way to taking the kids to school the other day my daughter brought up that they warm up in PE and it’s kind of the same thing. YES! It is exactly the same thing. If you have ever seen a car with water in the gas tank you know that what goes into that tank is instrumental to your ability to drive. Our bodies are the same. We can get away with a lot when we aren’t trying to be high performance individuals. But, I want to be a high performance individual.
What can I recommend to someone who is looking to increase their nutrient density?
Green smoothies! This website has put together a formula for great smoothies and the combinations are endless.
The Feed Zone Cookbook. This has information about fueling in the beginning and includes a lot of recipes. The website is great too. The recipes are focused on eating for training.
Power Hungry. Camilla has endless recipes for homemade bars and they are all packed with what your body needs.
Of course, the information options are seemingly endless. But, if I could recommend anything it is just to change the diet to a nutrient density focus.