Most of us guys in OCR know our bodies pretty well, we push our limits, train hard, watch our diets and record almost everything we do on garmin/ strava or some other device to track of our progress.
So: we know how we work, what makes us tick and when we are putting the effort in; but do we listen to our bodies? Or have we all read a few too many quotes with fancy pictures telling us the answer is just to push though and smash everything 100%, No moaning, no complaining, just take a cup of man the f*ck up and get on with it. You are a harden OCR racer, not a baby.
This may sound like this article will have a wide range of topics but it is actually only going to be about one factor. It’s from a personal point of view and not by anyone with any type of doctor, pharmacy, sports professional or nutritionist background. So please read the following with that in mind. All this is just what I have found out for myself, mainly from the Aussie’s who seem to be pretty much on the ball for this topic.
It has only recently come to my attention just how massively important this simple mineral is to runners in particular, and how such a small thing can have such a dramatic effect.
A lack of iron can cause
Lack of hair growth
Trouble breathing (mainly during exercise)
Lack of gains and results though training
For us OCRers all these side effects can be very frustrating but can easily be brushed aside and you can end up telling yourself to stop moaning and just get on with it, or that maybe you're just not performing as well because you are simply just not good enough.
What difference does being a runner make to your iron intake?
Runners lose a lot more iron than the average person. When you run, the heel pounding action actually breaks down red blood cells which causes you to lose iron. You also sweat and wee iron out your body. A few other ways you can lose iron is by giving blood regularly and if you are a lady we get the extra monthly gift that takes our iron levels down just that little bit more.
Why is it hard to spot?
Having low iron levels is not necessary being anaemic. It’s about your ferritin levels. This is your iron stores, and even though it is all linked as it’s all to do with oxygen in your blood and the transport of it to your muscles, You can have low ferritin levels but normal haemoglobin levels.
What affects your iron in take
Wheat, caffeine, and dairy products can actually block your body from absorbing iron if eaten at the same time, where as B12 and vitamin C help aid the body absorb iron
What foods are good sources of iron
Dark leafy greens
Dried fruits ie apricots and prunes
It is dangerous to have too much iron in your system but iron stores can take months and months to build back up. If you think any of this may apply to you its best to go and see your doctor. Or go and give blood, they check your iron levels before they allow you to donate. This is how I found out I had low levels. Even though I wasn’t anaemic.
Moral of the story. If we all want to be the best we can be, so maybe some times taking the man fuck up cuppa isn’t always the best way forward. Have a little faith in yourself that it’s not in your head, you're not weak and that there is no way others can know how you feel. If you know your body then listen to your body…