06 Feb ‘Fatter than ever’ | Laura Riches

I was doing some thinking recently, and realised there are many things that every athlete needs to deal with and needs to overcome to get where they want to be, with minor things making major differences not just in the way you run but also the way you feel.

As blunt and as honest as this may seem my first semester over in the United States, was horrific and I certainly didn’t help the team in anyway, like I had hoped. I embraced this amazing opportunity as I had always intended, I trained hard, I completed every workout and did everything I was told to do (to some extent anyway). I was fit and ready to race but the performances never mounted up to where I wanted to be or in fact where I really should have been.

It wasn’t until Christmas Break when I was home back in England, with my family and back training down with my group at Leigh Harriers that I realised what my problem was. It wasn’t that I wasn’t eating, and in fact it could have been a case of over eating in some way. But I wasn’t eating the right things, I was never refuelling in the way I should be, I was putting large quantities of what I see now as rubbish into my body. I’d go days where the only things I would eat would be cookie dough and Ice cream and the only things I would drink would be diet coke or lemonade, and I would feel this was ok. I felt this was normal and just because I was eating and eating lots I was ok.

You may ask me, how did I feel? Did I feel like I could train, could I train hard. The answers are very simple I felt terrible, my body never felt good and my body quite obviously now, was never recovering. My point here is very simple, you may well do everything you coach tells you day in day out, but you as an athlete you need to take control of those things which happen outside of the track or the field. You can’t be complacent, and rely on others to get you through.

It is also key to mention that even now, I may look no different, and in fact weigh no different, but my body feels so much better, I go to races and don’t feel like I can’t get through the race because I have not energy, and I don’t constantly feel guilty. It just goes to show that yeah I may still look heavier, or seem ‘fatter’ as I quote, but now I’m running better than ever, and feel better than ever, and undoubtably I’m healthier than ever. Yet I still seem to others as fatter than ever. Which is where the problem for many young endurance athletes often arises, the comments the quotes, the perceived bad body types for endurance runners is always there and always empathised. Yet this is all a load of rubbish. If your diet is right, your training well.. Why does it matter how you look? It’s how ‘YOU’ feel that really matters.