When fatigue sets in you have to go with it.
This time in 7 weeks I will be relaxing (or partying) in Cozumel, Mexico after my first race as an Australian athlete at the Triathlon world championships. I have been race training for 5 weeks now and it’s been going well. I hired a coach and he is really making me approach training with a different mindset and to trust the process. A process that is different to one I have used before or with clients of my own.
The results are showing this approach is paying off. I am getting fitter, and building strength and endurance so I am a happy girl. My coach sent my stats through Wednesday afternoon and after showing me my fitness line, my effort line and my fatigue line, expressed some appreciation for how well I continue to perform fatigued but also concern that we should rest before I hit the wall. I then told him about that morning at Run squad. We had to do 10x400m at effort. Big, full steam ahead can’t hold much longer than the lap effort. I usually love this kind of training but that morning I got to about lap three and thought ‘I’m tired, I could really do with a rest soon’. I told coach this and well “there you go, right on target” so rest week it is.
Unfortunately I still had a couple of days of big training to get through including swim squad that evening. That’s when the carb monster hit. I was just feeling flat, tired and generally shagged. On the way to pick Katie up from school I found myself in Coles ‘getting some things for dinner’ but you know where I was… yep the lolly aisle. I bought a honey nougat log and a packet of allens retro party mix. While Kate was at her drum lesson I devoured the log and picked all the honey bears, pineapples and red ones out of the party mix. Oops! Should I tell you I had a few choc chop biccies and a small bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes before swimming as well!?!
This is the oldest trick in the book and I was too tired to care that I was falling for it. Girl gets tired, too tired to prepare good food, too tired to care what food, gets overwhelming craving for quick high sugar carbs, tries to resist craving for about 5 seconds, succumbs to the sugary carby goodness determined that it WILL make her feel better… You know the drill.
Very common when breastfeeding a new born bub, bub is awake a lot through the night or just sleep deprivation in general – the all body tiredness that overwhelms you.
So that night after swimming as is becoming our lovely new tradition we headed to the Three weeds to have a wine and dinner by the fire. Are you ready? I had a lovely glass of pinot, buttermilk soaked fried chicken wings and French fries and enjoyed every mouthful. Who orders those usually? Who eats like that? I’m pretty sure not many of the other athletes going to worlds eat that much crap in one day. Very strange, totally inexplicable and kind of sad. I had been doing so well, no chocolate, only drinking one night a week, felt lighter and like it was paying off. Today however I feel like it’s all back on. Not surprising either I guess considering I ate 2-3 days calories in one afternoon!!!
So It’s not pretty but its real. It’s not stuff of legends but human. It’s a slip up that I regret yes, but will move forward with a new sense of commitment to getting lighter for the race. When I am less tired I will prepare some go to nutritious snacks to keep in the fridge and have on hand for those moments.
A week of recovery and good fuel to get this machine of mine firing for the next block of training is just what I need so I’m going to enjoy it.
6 weeks of training till race day!!
The magic of magnesium and how to get more!
Today I want to talk about Magnesium. A session with a long running client ended short this week as she experienced a sharp cramp in her calf. The conversation that followed triggered me to ask whether she was taking magnesium and in fact had I asked all of my clients that question so here I am.
Do you use Magnesium? Do you understand how important magnesium is for a healthy lifestyle and why as active, sleep deprived, working, exercising, life juggling mothers it is even more critical to ensure we get enough Magnesium to stay on form for all that life throws at us.
Experts estimate that 80-95+% percent of adults are deficient in magnesium, and this can have negative consequences on our health, mood and lifestyle since the body uses magnesium in the processes that regulate heart health, mental health, blood pressure, and during pregnancy. In fact, magnesium is one of the most-needed minerals in the body and is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions.
Low magnesium levels are often diagnosed by symptoms alone, and I fyou suffer any of the following there’s a good chance you may need to address your magnesium levels:
• Muscle soreness or spasms
• High levels of stress
• Heart “flutters” or palpitations
• Fatigue or unusual tiredness
• Inability to sleep or insomnia
• Sensitivity to noise
• Mental disturbances
• Anxiety, depression or restlessness
• Infertility or PMS
• Coldness in extremities
• Fuzzy brain or difficulty concentrating
• Allergies and sensitivities
• Lack of appetite
• Back pain
• Body odor
• Bad short term memory
• Carbohydrate cravings
• Frequent cavities or poor dental health
• Gut disorders
• Thyroid problems
If you have more than one of the above symptoms and more importantly over five then it is highly likely you are low in magnesium. It even got me wondering whether baby brain is really a thing or whether we are all just magnesium deficient!?
Either way it is highly likely that you could benefit from magnesium supplementation. And unlike other minerals and vitamins, ingesting Magnesium is not considered the most effective approach. Often times taking an oral supplement is not ideal as ingestion of the magnesium can be as little as 20-50% and can often make the kidneys work a lot harder than they need to in order to digest the supplement.
How To Get Enough Magnesium
Magnesium can be found in many of the foods that are readily available such as yoghurt, almonds, spinach, pepitas, avocado, dark chocolate. (In fact craving chocolate can often be a sign you are magnesium deficient).
The tricky part of the magnesium puzzle is that our lifestyle, the way food is sourced and prepared, fluoride in out water supply, high levels of caffeine, alcohol and stress, f can deplete our levels of magnesium as fast as we try to absorb it.
Added to this, magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive track, and is even more difficult to absorb if you are deficient or are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other conditions.
Either way, ingesting Magnesium is not considered the most effective approach. Often times ingestion of the magnesium can be as little as 20-50% and can often make the kidneys work a lot harder than they need to. The best way to add magnesium to your life is topically. Ideally a good soak in the bath is brilliant but if you are like me, baths are something you have time for on holidays or that one night you skip off into the city and dump the kids on a poor unsuspecting relative for the night.
Lucky for us magnesium comes in crystals you can add to baths, foot soaks or even drinking water. You can buy or make your own sprays, creams or roll ons. Magnesium is far more effective absorbed straight through the skin which I find very convenient. Unlike internal doses of magnesium, topical magnesium does not have to pass through the digestive system and kidneys and can more quickly enter the blood and tissues of the body.
I rub some on after workouts and on all my soft spots before I go to bed ie. soles of feet, behind my knees, underarms and behind my neck. With all the training (and sweating!) I do I am actively working against cramps and tired legs so for me life is not worth living without magnesium, and I definitely cannot lie down, let alone sleep with the restless legs and cramps I get without it.
I have experimented with a variety of magnesium supplements over the years and now drink a post sports magnesium/electrolyte powder to help with rehydration and magnesium replacement after workouts. Sometimes if I’m training twice or doing a particularly demanding session I will also have a magnesium supplement powder for muscular energy or recharge. Then at night I apply a topical roll on as mentioned above.
After races and when I can I try to soak in the tub. I will be trying a foot soak this weekend too. Figured it will make me relax for twenty minutes after a four-hour bike ride, plus give me a good dose of healthy magnesium without the stress of the bathroom door knocking every 2 minutes with another question from the kids!
Training has kicked in.
Week two of my twelve weeks training leading up to the World Championships in Mexico in September this week and I’m loving it.
The last few weeks has seen me “training to train” meaning I have been training for a good base aerobic fitness so we can really crack into some good specific training for the big event in September.
Whilst I see the point of training to train, it seems far more exciting to finally be training for the race. What’s also exciting is I have hired a coach this time around. Only a few weeks in I am a big fan. As you may know by now I like to be learning. All the time. And even though I am a good trainer, and really know how to push my clients and get them results, I wanted to just be the athlete through this process and focus on what Im doing in training – take a back seat so to speak, and get pushed to my limits by someone more experienced in this game than me. I have only been doing triathlon for about 3 years and have gone pretty well so far on my own steam. I have experimented with training and tried different approaches and formats in training to see how I respond in races and which gets the best results. I have loved the adventure so far and have learnt loads about what my body can do, how I can tweak things, how I cannot. But this is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!.
Who knows if I will ever get to go again. I may only have this one opportunity to wear my name on my arse! I just didn’t want to experiment and give it a crack. I want to push my limits, get as fit and strong as I can be and show up to Cozumel on September 18 knowing I have done everything I can do to be a contender. To me this just means doing the BEST I can on the day. Leaving nothing behind in training, or on the course on the day.
So as we roll in to day six of week two I have done my bootcamp with stair set and high intensity runs then after a quick breakfast headed out for a 60km ride at Olympic park. Every step I take (or stroke or pedal) gets me closer to Cozumel wearing green and gold, closer to realising a dream I have had for a few years. Closer to realising what I can truly do. Closer to a big hug from my proud husband at the finish line. Closer to smiling up at my mum and wishing she was there with me.
I feel very grateful at the moment. Pretty knackered but grateful and looking forward to an early night. This is my time and I am grateful to my husband and family for supporting me in this dream. Next time it hurts, when I am dripping in sweat and feel like I just want to fall off the bike, stop my legs from burning or just breathe in without the burn I am going to channel gratitude instead. Think how lucky I am to be feeling that burn and get on with it.