Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ever Feel Like an Elephant When You Run? | It Happened To Me Last Week

This past week my training became something of an African Safari – and I was the Elephant. I swear, if you put gray ears on me, during any of my runs – I would have been mistaken for an Elephant. My legs felt THAT heavy, all week.

Even after adequate rest, massages and stretching when I hit my mid point of my 11 mile run on Saturday – I wanted to be home. Energy level was fine, my mindset was fine but the legs – were not.

Either I had Elephant legs or legs that could have been cement. I can’t remember the last time my legs felt so heavy.

Thankful to be home – I had my recovery drink of low-fat/dark chocolate milk, stretched, iced, stretched some more and iced. Later on, I used heating pads on my legs – especially my calves.

As I sat on my couch – my mind began to replay what could of caused this heaviness?

Of course, I will admit that part of me was fearful – was I heading to another injury, that I can’t figure out?

And to top it off - my glutes hurt – maybe I was destined to break my butt? (try to read that with a straight face!)

I thought about my diet – and within a few moments, I realized I had not eaten the same level of carb’s I typically do in a week. You see, I LOVE pasta. I eat at least one bowl full of pasta everyday. When I go to carb load, I am eating bowls of pasta for 2-3 days pre-race.

Maybe it was that lack of my typical carbs? Maybe. Then I went to get off my couch and a cramp twinged in my calf. You know that cramp – the one where you realize you have not even enough potassium.

A-HA! Since I have discovered I cannot eat raw bananas, I have been taking supplements.

Maybe that isn’t enough?

After some online research, I found that the average person needs a minimum of 1000 mgs of potassium each day. More, if you are an athlete. Supplements only have about 500mgs. Banana’s only have about 400+ and I use to eat several a day.

Kept researching to find out what other foods were rich in Potassium. Found out that BAKED potatoes are VERY high in potassium – like 1000+ mgs for one potato. WOW!  That explains a lot. I typically eat a number of baked potatoes or baked French fries every week. I did not do that last week.  Grrrr

I was lacking in my pasta AND my potato intake – which of course, can lead to heaviness in legs and overall muscle fatigue.

This week, I have developed a food guide to remind me to eat pasta and potassium.

If you are looking to add more potassium to your diet – here is a great link.

Did you know Cantaloupes and Honeydew melon's are high in potassium?

I am going to keep my same training schedule and see if this altered way of eating will affect my long run on Saturday.

I will let you know how it goes. If you have any insights into adding more carbs and potassium into your diet (without eating bananas) – I would love to hear it.

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011

Celebrate Your Finish,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Athlete and Public Speaker
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