Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Seefood Dieting

The old ones are the best, or so my mother-in-law keeps telling me when she returns from her self imposed jaunts to the Caribbean. Ok enough dad jokes, be thankful I’m not dad dancing. For this week’s blog I’m going to open up about one of my weaknesses, the Achilles heel of Roger Alsop, my love of food.

As a Personal Trainer, and having passed exams in Nutrition, it is my job to advise my clients what to eat, how much to eat and what not to eat. Fine, I do that, but I don’t necessarily practice what I preach because I enjoy my food. Not just the taste, and there is very little I don’t enjoy the taste of, but the whole experience of eating, the sights, the smell and the chew. I’m at my happiest when I’m eating or winning, though I can see that the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. At home it’s not a problem because I am quite disciplined and only buy what I’m going to eat, I write out a list and if it’s not on the list it doesn’t go in the basket. This doesn’t work when Carole, thankfully rarely, does the shopping as she just adds what she likes the look of.  

However, when I’m in a situation that I’m less in control of the food, this is when my failings occur. It’s not so much what I eat, more about how much I eat. It’s well known that runners have a healthy appetite, i.e. they can eat loads of food, but I think mine’s a little extreme in it’s healthy outlook. Put me in front of a buffet of interesting food and there’s no stopping me, I have an ability to pile three plates worth of food onto one plate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I’m rude or greedy, it’s just that I can’t pass a piece of interesting food without trying it, and as I find most food interesting my plate gets more full as I move along the table. It’s not until I leave the table that I realise how much I’ve got and then it’s too late. As a person brought up in the era of having to clean your plate, you can imagine what happens next.

Thankfully I rarely get into situations where I’m faced with a buffet, though, like Jona Lewie, you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties. This last week we’ve been away to Croatia and, unlike most of our holidays, we were staying half board. This meant a buffet breakfast and a buffet dinner, I was like a man torn between heaven and hell. So without going into details of exactly what I ate, I ate a bit of everything that was on offer, though I did make a conscious effort to avoid the chips until the last day of the holiday.

So I let myself go, I’m not proud, but now I’m back home I’m back to my more disciplined approach to eating.

I had one saving grace. When we planned the holiday it was meant to be a rest for me. After all the hard work I’d put into my training in search of summer glory and then taking part in the European Masters Champs I had planned to have a break before commencing the winter workload. However being forced to take a three week break just before the championships meant I didn’t need another one. I was keen to train, even if Carole wasn’t quite so keen for me to train. So I trained every day, even twice some days. I’m still building up the strength in my hamstrings so I didn’t attempt any real quality sessions but I did manage to get my overall pace up and felt good at it. I figure I’m in about 17:15 5k shape at the moment, which gives me something to build on when I get back into full training. I didn’t overdo the training, we still had a great holiday and I’d recommend the place to anyone, particularly if you like your food.

Now I’m home it’s time to refocus my training. I ran my first quality session on Sunday, a hill session. I was a bit tired from travelling home the previous day and frankly I ran rubbish, but it’s a start and I can now move forward. My debut for Salford approaches rapidly and I’m really looking forward to it. First race is over 5400m and I’ve set up my success criteria:
  1. To finish the race without injury
  2. To run sub 19 minutes
  3. To be within 3 minutes of the fastest man
  4. To not be the slowest man in my team
  5. To be within sight of super vet Mike Hatton
  6. To enjoy myself and meet my new club mates

We’ll see next week how I fared compared to that!

So what’s the big lesson you can take away from this week’s blog? If you want to beat me, forget about training harder than me, just take me out for dinner. And the minor lesson, don’t worry too much about eating the wrong things occasionally as long as you don’t eat the wrong things all the time.  

Written by Roger Alsop

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