Periodization is kind of a fancy word, but it basically just means this:
Doing different things at different times in your training cycle for optimal results.
So to apply that to nutrition, it is very simply eating in different ways at different times in your training cycle.
Marcia’s Tuesday topic is Run Fuel so I’m linking up to share a few things I’ve been tweaking lately.
Over the last few years, I tried a lot of fasted runs and more metabolic efficient ways of eating, as I shared quite a bit about in previous posts.
I still do the occasional run fasted but for the most part I’ve shifted back to high carb and fueled workouts and it seems to be benefiting my running.
However, the more balanced carb/protein approach had a number of benefits too as it taught my body to be a more efficient burner, using less fuel in distance races than I used to, even on race day.
I’ve come full circle in the last six months to find both equally important. There are phases when teaching your body to burn fat, not sugar, is very helpful in the build toward endurance efficiency.
There are phases when you need to be fueled with high quality carbs to perform at a high level.
It isn’t necessarily either/or– it is both/and.
On a weekly basis, it can be helpful to have higher carb days and lower carb days based on the training and energy demands.
On a month to month basis, it can be helpful to vary the nutrient phases to achieve certain outcomes.
For example, in base building nutrition should be more balanced. For someone who does not feel great on grains or higher carbohydrate intake, this is a great time to incorporate higher fat and protein. As race specific training and longer runs pick up, higher carbohydates are necessary to stay energized and meet training needs.
And while we can certainly make nutrition very complicated and I can tell you the specific macro nutrients you want to aim for on certain days of the week, it can also be very simple:
Listen to your body. Eat more when you are hungry. Eat less when you are easily satisfied. Eat extra carbs when you crave them. Eat less when you don’t.
Our bodies are brilliant and are generally steering us in the right direction.
For those of you who do love all the numbers and data, we’ll dive in to all of this and more in the second round of the runner’s nutrition course.
Do you use periodization in your training and your nutrition?
Does your nutrition naturally change day to day based on your workouts and hunger?