Friday, February 22, 2008


So life slowly returns to normal. Wedded life is nearly as hectic as
living in sin - John has croup and has a cough that is reminiscent of a
pack a day smoker. The poor little bugger is not sleeping well and as a
result neither are we.

Life didn't really return to normal until a couple of weeks after the
wedding, and when it did I felt like I was surveying the wreckage of my
Canberra preparation and trying to pick up the pieces when I reviewed my
training. I'd managed a couple of 30K+ runs in January but really it was
not looking like the training diary of a bloke preparing for a proper
dig at a marathon. I've not been getting much above 55K a week.

Since then I've really managed to dig in and turn it around. One thing I
did at that time was to start taking a few vitamin supplements. Marlz
has been using this stuff for a while and he has been able to ramp up to
100K+ weeks in his first 18 months of running, so I started taking:

-Fish oil

Fish oil caused me a real moral dilemma. I've been a vegetarian for
nearly 30 years because I don't want animals killed unnecessarily, but
at the same time it was going to be very difficult to get the sort of
Omega 3 boost I wanted without fish oil. In the end I looked at the
leather shoes on my feet and the rennet in the cheese I eat and I
decided that there was blood on my hands already. If that sounds a bit
weak to you, it sounds pretty weak to me as well, and I'm not all that
comfortable with it. But for the moment, I'm taking fish oil.

Now, I don't know which of the supplements it is, but for the last
fortnight I've had more energy and mental stamina than I've had in my
entire life. Even before John was born I'd get to three in the afternoon
and I'd really struggle to stay awake, even on days where I didn't run
in the morning. This has changed radically. I'm not sure which
supplement is primarily responsible for this, but I have a sneaky
suspicion that I have been iron deficient for nearly thirty years (yes,
I could fix this by eating a dead cow). I've even cut back on the amount
of coffee I drink.

The follow on effect of this is that for the past two weeks I have been
able to train at a higher volume than I have ever trained at before
without feeling overly fatigued. Last week I did a 30K training run in
the morning and felt great for the rest of the day. Last week I also
cracked 70K for the week for the first time ever and after this morning
I'm on 42K with a 32K run planned for Sunday.

I'm still worried about Canberra. The closer I get the more daunting the
prospect of 42.2km at 5:41 pace seems. Even with the extra energy it's a
tall order. The excesses of the last few months have left me at 74kg at
last count - 5kg above race weight. But you never know - if I put the
hard yards in for the next month things should look much better.


Blogger Jen_runs said...

Wow, it sounds like the supplementation is really working for you!

You've still got some time before Canberra - just keep working towards it & you just never know what might happen :-)

8:13 pm  
Blogger TA and the Gnome said...

Fantastic news about the energy. It's still 6 weeks to Canberra and you're peaking at the right time.

How about this time you forget all about the target times and target paces and run according to how your new body feels. You're a different you now, so there's no need to be constrained by the thinking of the past. Treat this one as your debut marathon, just run for fun and you'll have a fantastic time :-)

Gnome (who's always full of advice that he can never manage to follow himself... )

11:30 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

That's good to hear Ben. At a guess I'd say it's the iron. You can have a low Hgl reading and not be classed as anemic - as a runner, it's better to have higher Hgl readings. Keep the iron supplement going.

I tend to be in Gnomey's corner on the pacing issue. Stressing about running a 5:41 schedule might not be the best option for a happy Canberra. Run as you feel - 5:41 pace might turn out to feel easy.

4:03 pm  
Blogger Tesso said...

That's so interesting about the supplements. I guess sometimes we don't even realise we aren't 100% as how we are feeling has been normal for so long.

I agree with the guys on the pacing thing. My favourite marathons are definitely the few where I haven't worried about my pace and have just gone out there for fun. And in those I've always done way better than I've expected to do.

3:29 pm  
Blogger Robert Song said...

It is easy to get a blood test done that will show what your blood iron levels are. If you are deficient it will also be a guide to how much supplementation is needed to get up to proper levels.

Good luck for Canberra.

11:37 am  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

I take all of those supplements, Ben, plus Zinc & magnesium.

Don't stress about Canberra marathon or you'll have me worrying about you as well as myself & I can only handle one of us.

You'll be fine. Enjoy the day...that's really all that counts.

7:17 pm  

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