Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The waiting game

The last two weeks before a marathon are the hardest. This is because this period of time mainly involves: waiting around/resting, and attempting to lose weight. As you may have noticed, these pass-times/behaviors do not typically go hand in hand.

Picture: there was lots of down-time in Kenya too, but at least I had daisy to keep me company!

At this stage you’ve been focused on the marathon for months. With eleven days to go before the race, you’re fatigued in the body and in the mind. You haven’t had a sip of beer or a piece of chocolate in weeks, and most of your personal/leisure time in recent memory has been spent resting at home instead of socialising or enjoying the usual pleasures of life (hill walking, holidaying, leisurely cycling to name just a few). But when you’re in the midst of a demanding training regime, you barely have time to notice what you’re missing out on. And the training is often quite enjoyable, so it’s all good. This all changes when the taper starts. From here on in, training will be tapered back in order to let the body recover in time for the London Marathon.

Right now it’s hard to imagine running a marathon at my target pace. In fact, if I were to attempt to run the marathon tomorrow I would fall well short, because I’m tired. To prepare for the race then, I’ll spend a significant amount of time stationary and off my feet. Sitting around or sleeping is usually a luxury that should be appreciated, but it can also get boring fairly quickly. Especially when you’re also trying to lose weight.

Training for a marathon is hard, but sitting around on the couch for two weeks thinking about not eating is even harder. As well, it’s not particularly relaxing sitting around waiting when you are anxiously awaiting the marathon itself! It's the unsettling ‘calm before the storm’.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely won’t be starving myself. I need to stay strong and healthy so there is absolutely no benefit in depriving myself of essential nourishment. But I will be carefully controlling my diet/food intake in order to shed a couple of kilograms before the race. The idea is that you don’t want to carry any more weight around the marathon course than you need to. So I’ll only be eating as much as I ‘need’ and no more. I won’t be running as much so I’ll be eating less than usual, and I’ll only eat and drink healthy food types with low fat and sugar content. My diet will be fairly unexciting. Not dissimilar from the Kenyan approach, except that now I’m in Dublin so I’ll be surrounded by people who are enjoying the full western diet.

I’m not sure what will come as more of a shock to the body – the marathon itself, or the Big Mac Combo that I throw at it after the race.

1 comment:

Finbar McGurren said...

Best of luck at the weekend Jase. Thanks for the tips on Rotterdam!