You might have already noted that I’m taking part in a 100km race on Saturday. It’s something I don’t feel prepared for, but am going to take part anyway. I’ve not put the training in to feel at all comfortable. A combination of summer holidays, business trips, and a knee problem after the Yukon Arctic ultra, have led me to be more sedentary than perhaps I would have liked. Having said that, to protect my knee, but to retain some level of cardio fitness, I have taken to cycling my commute to work, rather than get the train. That’s on hold though this week, in the run up to the race on Saturday.
Whatever happens on Saturday, happens. I don’t expect to finish it quickly, but I do expect to finish it. I am treating it as a reintroduction to ultra distances, and the commencement of some serious preparation for the Legends Trail in Belgium next March; which by all intense and purposes, is going to be a real tough one to complete! That means a few things:
- I need some more races this year
- I need to lay out a revised training plan
- I need to revise my diet
I’ve never typically worried about the races or the training. Once I’m in the groove, that part normally looks after itself. The diet though is a completely different thing altogether. Why? Well, I love my food, and there seems to be a common misconception that you must be able to eat what you want, when you want, when you’re training for, and participating in ultras. It’s just not true. Typically, because of my indulgences, my weight yo-yo’s in between races. I don’t think that can be a healthy approach, and so I want to take some steps to address it. After all, I’m not getting any younger either, and there are still many things I would like to try to achieve that are going to be health dependent! 🙂
Not to get too scientific, with the help of a simple online calculator, I’ve calculated my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs just to keep it ticking over. If I stayed in bed all day, I would need an intake of about 1800 calories. Considering I never get the opportunity to stay in bed all day :), a normal day, with little or no exercise, would see me need an intake of about 2160 calories per day, to maintain my current weight. The formulae to provide these numbers are based on the Harris-Benedict equation. Depending on how active you are, you multiply your BMR by a given factor. So, if you do little to no exercise, that factor is 1.2.
My ultimate goal is to become leaner; less weight, same power, equals more efficient, and ultimately faster running. That’s my theory anyway. To start to drop weight, I am going to need to reduce my daily calorie intake. What I also need to consider though, is the energy expenditure of my training, and ensure those calories get replaced.
My BMR is 1800 calories with little or no exercise, so to start to lose weight, I am going to cut 500 calories from that value, giving me a revised figure of 1300 calories. In addition to the 1300, I need to add on the extra calories I will burn through training. For example, I know if I run to work, I burn about 1600 calories. Those 1600 need to be replaced, giving me a revised total of 2900. However, I want to bring a little consistency in how much I intake on a daily basis, so in combination with my training plan, estimated calorie burn, I will calculate a daily average, based on expected weekly activity.
For example, if I run to work 3 times per week, that would see a calorie expenditure of 4800 calories. If I cycled to and from work for the remaining 2 working days, that would be about another 3000 calories. That’s a total training expenditure of 7800 calories. 7 days of my reduced BMR total, to help promote weight loss, would total 9100 calories for the week, giving a required weekly calorie intake of 16900. That averages out to 2400 per day. So that, to begin with, will be my goal. Based on my training schedule and revised BMR, use a daily required calorie average to help steer my diet.
This will be a big learning experience for me, and I’m sure it’ll need some tweaking. My instinct is that 2400 calories won’t be enough for me, but to begin with, I’ll put some trust into the approach and monitor how I react to it, and tweak the number if it seems necessary. Time will tell.
Next? The diet plan. That’s going to be the hard bit. What to eat, how much of it to eat, and when to eat it?
Check back soon, as I’ll start to publish an expected weekly planner for food to match my expected calorie requirements. First though, there’s this 100km run I need to deal with on Saturday 🙂 Wish me luck … I might need it! 😀