Nutrition Experiment: Week 1 – Control

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I want to start by talking a bit about my purpose and goals for this experiment.  The main purpose is to see how different nutrients effect my performance, energy levels, and overall mood during my runs.  Week 1 was a control week in which I ate what I would normally would.  In week 2, I will increase my intake of healthy fats.  Week 3 will focus on carbs, and then, finally, week 4 will be all about protein.

Throughout this process, I will try to be as detailed and scientific as possible. I will track everything single thing I eat, and break down the nutrient count using MyFitnessPal.  I will also be keeping a daily journal tracking how I react to different dietary changes.

This being said, I still want to have a life. I know there are a lot of variables that I cannot take into account, but that’s not the point.  Life happens, and so, keeping that in mind, the goal is to get a real world idea of how diet effects running performance.

OK, so this week I am eating as I normally would, which is, in many ways, suboptimal.  I tend to work long hours and eat when I can.  I usually eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a bagel sandwich and chips for lunch, and then a protein and carb like ham or chicken and quinoa, with a salad thrown in here and there for good measure.

So far, on my runs, I encountered a mild to moderate nausea from around 1/2 a mile to mile 2.  This is pretty normal for me, and one of the reasons I am trying to change things up.  I call it the 2 mile sickness, and it has been the bane of my running experience.  I just feel unwell for the first part of my runs no matter what the distance, almost like my body has to slowly shift into running mode.

I have also felt sluggish and a bit weak, with a low overall energy.  Running feels like a chore until the last mile or so in which I feel much more energetic.  Along with this lack of energy, came bad moods.  These improved as I ran, but, again, I was not really enjoying myself like I knew I could.

Nike+ was no help on the mood front either.  On my last run, after 2 miles, Nike+ inexplicably began telling me my pace and time roughly every 30 seconds.   It really started to feel like my iPod was mocking me and intentionally trying to piss me off (#technologyisawesome).

As I see it so far, there is definitely room for improvement.  However, I am optimistic and am really looking forward to the next few weeks.

So, to wrap up, I wanted to share my Week 1 Tip: Eat regularly!

As cool as it would be, we are not robots.  Eat small snacks throughout the day, and make yourself eat 1-2 hours before a run.  You will be more energetic, and have more fun.

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