Fast and furious today – could it have been my diet?

The Garmin missed it big on first lap

Today’s run (track): 4.25 miles (3 mile tempos plus 8 x 200)

My running experience on Saturday was disheartening and my poor performance caused an alarm after I started reading the July issue of Runner’s World. This issue’s theme focused on people who use running to raise money for cancer research and on those runners who are coping with the disease. One story quoted a runner whose running performance was unaccountably slipping and a checkup revealed some horrible affliction that is (happily) now under control.

I’m not really a hypochondriac so I didn’t take any of that to heart, but I was still puzzled by my bad run. Paul, a local runner who I met at the NHP 8K, suggested that my diet may have left me depleted of needed carbs as an explanation for my failure to generate speed during yesterday’s run. He knows his stuff and suggested trying more complex carbs the night before a long run. He competes a lot and tunes his pre-race meals according to distance and time of the day.

I took Paul’s advice and (for dinner) had a modest portion of Garden Delight Penne Rigate with roasted chicken, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower mixed in. Earlier that day, I had a recurrence of the sinus headache that plagued me a couple of weeks ago. Around 4:00 AM this morning I got up and took two Pseudoephedrine and went back to bed. I woke up at 5:30 feeling great. After a couple of cups of coffee, I headed for the track.

My plan for today was to generate some speed after yesterday’s tough run. It was humid, but not too hot, and the cloud cover was thick. I started with a mile warm-up at a brisk pace (7:50 min/mile) and then ran 8 x 200’s averaging 6:50/mile overall. For me these were blistering paces. The Hattori’s performed well on the track, my landings were much more front than mid-foot and neither my feet, ankles nor calves balked at the strain.

I followed the speed work with two miles of “easy” running, maintaining an 8:20 pace through that distance. I haven’t managed that pace over two miles in a long time, clearly the speed work had activated those fast twitch muscles. What a difference a day makes. I’m no longer feeling that I’m on an unstoppable performance decline and I’m thinking that I need to do speed work more often than once every three weeks. Perhaps a trail run tomorrow will be a great coda for this 4th of July long weekend. Speed’s not an issue on Monday — I have nothing left to prove.

3 thoughts on “Fast and furious today – could it have been my diet?

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