14.Feb.12 A dish fit for runners at the Duchy Athletics Network Nutrition workshop
No Cornish Pasties I’m afraid, but a dish fit for runners at the Duchy Athletics Network ‘Nutrition workshop’ held on 7th February, 2012.
Nutrition is not necessarily overlooked in an athlete's training programme but it may not always be utilised in the best way to optimise performance. We are bombarded with multi-million pound advertising campaigns in the media and we get all sorts of articles written in fitness and running magazines bestowing the latest wonder foods for training and competing, but it can very often take the focus away from what we need to do on a day to day basis in our working, home and training environments to keep ourselves fuelled properly for our running needs.
Building on the feedback from coaches who attended the Network's ‘Periodisation for Marathon Training’ workshop back in October 2011, a nutrition workshop was prioritised on the needs list by the Netowrk's coaches and through the work that Simon Groves - the Lead Coach at Hayle Runners - has been doing on nutrition at his club with Jan Watson’s assistance, a Level 2 endurance coach at Falmouth Road Runners we managed to secure the assistance of Jan to deliver a nutrition workshop for the Network. (Simon and Jan pictured top)
Jan, an experienced ultra endurance runner and triathlete, who includes the 2012 Hawaiian ironman Kona world championship in her portfolio of events has a passion for nutrition borne out of an ironman she competed in her early days of being a triathlete that went horribly wrong due to the wrong choice of a pre-event meal and thus she has a real empathy with her fellow endurance athletes who have suffered a similar fate. Jan has studied Clinical Chemistry at doctorate level, is a certified Level 3 REPS Personal Trainer, holds a Certificate in Sports Nutrition (Luton University) and is currently studying for a level 4 REPS certificate in diabetes and obesity weight management, which has given her a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology, nutrition and current national health issues. (pictured are attendees inspecting food and supplements)
The workshop started with a vegetable pasta supper, supplemented with bananas and low fat rice pudding to get everyone fed after a day's work or for quite a few, a post training meal. This set the scene for the evening with Jan discussing how we can eat certain foods to help maximise energy usage and to keep healthy at the same time. Her description of the body's physiology and how the intake of certain foods can affect the production of hormones required to help release energy from muscles, improve the flow of oxygen to muscles and aid muscle contraction was very enlightening.
She discusseed the balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates needed by an endurance athlete and each element was focused on, including looking at the best forms of carbohydrate foods to use and how their glycemic rating can affect how they are utilised before, during and after an event or training session. She also covered the importance of protein for muscle repair and building, and the role of fat and what forms to use or avoid. Jan also looked at why after an hour or ninety minutes our body runs out of energy stores and how we can keep ourselves going by using energy gels, drinks etc.
Jan highlighted why having a varied diet - especially a good mix of fruit and vegetables on a daily day basis is important as we can sometimes get carried away with eating a particular food to ensure we absorb a certain vitamin but we don’t realise that without consuming another vitamin your ‘target vitamin’ will not be absorbed into the body. Jan also looked at how our lifestyles, jobs, sleep patterns and stress levels can affect our diet and she finished by looking at the good and bad sides of supplements.
Jan’s workshop was very much appreciated by the 35 attendant Coaches, LiRFs and athletes from Hayle Runners, Falmouth Road Runners, Carn Runners and Truro Running Club. There was no quick escape for Jan on the night as she was inundated with attendees asking her all sorts of questions even as she was packing to leave and Jan enjoyed it so much she’s offered to assist the Network again with future nutrition workshops.
Thanks must also go to Sarah Choak, a colleague of Jan’s at Falmouth RRs who helped prepare and cook the supper for the workshop.
For more details on Duchy Athletics Network workshops, please contact Rob Cockings, DAN club and coach coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org 07973 813550.
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