We dashed 22 miles up Snowdon the other day (http://www.ratracemanvsmountain.com/). It was lovely. A really fun day out. I well recommend it to you.
Anyway, before it, there was plenty of discussions about “optimal refueling” and “rehydrating” and should we be “carbo-loading” or did we have enough “electrolytes in our precision gels” etc. All wonderful, interesting discussions, but totally pointless for 90% of the people discussing it!
Now don’t worry, I’m really not holding myself up as some role model here, but I reckon I got my prep about right. Here is is:
- Nice tasty meal the night before (pie and chips)
- Couple of my mums home made flapjacks for breakfast on the day
- Plenty of flavoured water I like the taste of to take with me
- Couple of good, man sized handfuls of my mums flapjack to take with me
- Topping up with water and chocolate chip cookies on the pit stops on the way round.
- Another tasty pie and chips meal the evening after the event.
I was told I should have an energy gel every half hour. A quick google search showed me this page that suggests a similar thing (2-3 gels per hour). Was I a fool to not follow the advice and be so slap-dash about it? I mean, I didn’t even bother checking if I was replacing my electrolytes! I didn’t calculate my macros based on my weight or anything! I mean, bloody hell! I just lobbed a few homemade flapjacks in me pack and made up a bottle of Robinsons barley water! What was I thinking?!?!
But it helps that I have:
- Actually read up a bit on the subject and not just accepted what the adverts have told me
- A degree in science that helps me understand results and think critically
- 25+ years of actual, real world, coaching experience that helps me figure out what is important and not.
You see, I was not racing this thing. I was not going to try to win it. I was simply having a bloody good day out, with some bloody good people, back in gods own country of Wales (have I mentioned I’m Welsh???). Number 1 in my list of priorities was “have a great time”. The last in my list of priorities was “performance”.
Because of this, I did not care the 2-5% increase in performance “optimal refueling” would have given me. Instead, I cared about getting round it and having a nice time. And my eating/drinking was “good enough”. It followed the 10 simple rules of healthy eating and that was fine. In all honesty, I would not have even noticed an extra 2-5% performance…but I sure as hell would have noticed having to squirt rank tasting gloop down my gullet every half hour when my watch beeped 🙁
Now don’t get me wrong, in the past and again in the future, when I am racing something, I will take a lot more care about when and when I eat/drink. And I think you should too. Because when we are racing, we should be willing to make sacrifices and a 2-5% drop in performance will be no good. But a serious question we should all ask ourselves is are we really so elite that we actually know what 2-5% increase in performance feels like? And how much of a boost in performance do you think you get when you are free from anxiety and actually enjoying the thing you are doing? I reckon that for most of us, that will probably be more than 2-5%…
So I guess what I’m saying here is:
- Figure out your priorities. What is actually important to you.
- Figure out what will help you achieve your top priority.
- Stop worrying and getting anxious about things that don’t really matter.
And here is the obligatory bit of self promotion…If you want help doing any of the above, maybe I can help. I’m actually pretty good at helping people get fitter, stronger, healthier and happier, you know 🙂