Appetite loss

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  • #27680

    Two months ago I read “Training for the Uphill Athlete” which I have found to be a real eye opener. Being into endurance training for only a few years before that I figured out that I have fell into a common pitfall of doing too much training in Z3 and above. After reading the book I switched to a regime that would (so I thought) allow me to recover overnight by training in Z1/Z2 exclusively almost every day of the week. By that change I switched from around 4 hours per week of mostly above VT1 threshold (was not able to breathe throught the nose) to around 8-10 hours of Z1/Z2 (also with more vertical gain). The goal was to build a better aerobic base in order to better tackle my first marathon in autumn. So after two months of actually enjoying the runs and also noticing an increase in my VT1 HR, I did a vertical KM run at the top of Z2. I already felt a bit nauseated at the end of the run. When I get home I usually wait until I become hungry, which usually takes around half an hour. But on this day the hunger never came which was quite unusual. I drank a big ass shake anyway because I knew I had to get around 1500 calories in after such a run. Tomorrow morning I was still nauseated and noticed that I have totally lost my appetite. Also my RHR spiked by 20%. That was on Monday. Today is Saturday and I still need to force myself in order to eat enough calories for the day (otherwise I have what I consider a “healty” appetite). I haven’t had any training sessions after the dreaded vertical km. I only do half hour to an hour family walks. RHR is back to normal though. The funny thing is that in general I don’t feel so bad. I just don’t have any appetite.

    To give you a few more details:
    – According to Garmin I sleep 9 hours per night on average
    – I eat a balanced mediteranian diet consisting of only “whole” foods. No sugar, no junk food. The most processed food I eat is probably butter. On training days I would generally consume one extra meal after the training session.
    – Currently have very little stress at home or at the office
    – I think my AeT is at around 135 BPM, but most of the workouts that I did while training every day had an average HR of around 125 BPM.
    – Before reading the book I did most of my runs at around 150 BPM and breathing exclusively through my mouth.
    – I regulary run for 2 years. Before that I mountain biked for around 5 hours per week for about two years and even before that I did around 10-20 ski touring sessions per winter. All this sessions we’re mostly above AeT because my friends and people I usually worked out with had a better aerobic base than me. I did train Tenis for 5 years when I was younger, so this was not the first time my body was exposed to every day training.

    So of course the question is if anyone can relate to my problem or if anyone has some insight on the topic? Is this possibly a simple case of “too much, too soon”? Or that I just didn’t eat enough? Or possibly both?

  • Participant
    DominicProvost on #27681

    Nose breathing is not an accurate metric for HR zones in aerobically deficient athletes. Since you don’t seem to be 100% sure of your HR zones they’re possibly wrong. My hypothesis is that you actually went harder than zone 2 and stressed your nervous system in a way that you weren’t used to or ready for. I lose my appetite too when I try hard for a long time (my experience with that would be after power endurance rock climbing workouts). I find that going for a short walk and eating a little bit (like a piece of fruit) will open my appetite to eat more over a few hours. Drinking a 1500 calories shake on an already nauseated stomach would not make me feel good either.

    Rest and you’ll recover. Once you’re rested do the following test, it’s what the coaches here recommend to figure out HR zones. The feeling better running might just have been a result of increasing your training volume rather than actually fixing your ADS.

    Anonymous on #27692

    What @dominicprovost said.

    And good job on raising your AeT. Even if you’ve been training above Z2, it sounds like backing off in intensity has definitely helped.

    I’m not sure what to make of appetite loss after a VK… I agree with Dominic that it sounds like you were very much above Z2. For that race format, it would be hard not to be. The fact that your heart rate was elevated too made me wonder if you were getting sick.

    1,500 calories is a monster of a recovery drink. That could have been part of the problem too. After something like a VK, I would have a recovery drink with 20-30g protein and 1g/kg/hr of carbohydrate. So if you weigh 70kg and the race took an hour, I’d have 70g. If it took an hour and a half, I’d have 105g. Even the latter example would only be 540 calories. Subsequent meals can replenish the rest of what you need.

    Take it easy until you’re feeling back to normal. The try the drift test that Dominic linked to to get a better idea of your AeT.

    rok on #27715

    Thanks for your replies guys. You are probably on to something when you say that my AeT is probably even lower than I thought it was… I will rest like you guys suggested until I feel ready to start again. Slowly of course. Also starting to do a lot of vertical gain while at the same time as I started to build an aerobic base in a “correct” way hasn’t helped either. Maybe I need to also do more flat terrain in order to more easily watch out that I don’t exceed AeT.

    Regarding the recovery drink, I think I explained myself badly. That shake did not contain anywhere near 1500 calories. I would not even be able to take such an amount of shake in a single shot. 🙂 It was probably more like 500 calories of oats, cocoa and yoghurt. 1500 calories was what Garmin has reportedfor the VK, which is just an approximation.

    Also I will do the AeT on a treadmill test from your link this time, in order to create more “synthetic” test environment.

    rok on #27716

    Scott I’ve just read your article where your are asking yourself “Why would anyone think physical actualization happens in one summer?”. I have a feeling the I have some of that mentality and need to take it easy. I was planning to register for an ultra next year but now I have decided that I am not going to do it. There will be plenty opportunities in 3 or 5 or whatever years! I think you guys and the book have spared me a few injuries and made my running “career” longer in the long run, lol. 🙂

    Anonymous on #27801

    Good call! I’ve made all of the mistakes and many of them multiple times. Backing off and taking a less aggressive approach has solved most of them and ended up making me fitter in the long run. Not losing time to injuries, and then being more consistent in training, is a huge plus.

    pshyvers on #27848

    I just wanted to add, are you sure your hydration is taken care of? Dehydration can cause nausea & loss of appetite.

    rok on #28118

    @Scott I guess that like in other areas of life, we sometimes need to make painfull mistakes in order to improve in the long run! Besides that, I totally agree that consistency is key here.

    95% percent of my workouts are between 1 to 2 hours. For anything above 1 hour I always take my bladder with me (plain water) and drink from it when I’m thirsty. On a hot day I could drink up to 1L of water during a 2 hour workout. I also make sure that my post-workout meal is generously salted. Other than that, I eat a lot of mixed salads, which should take care of other micronutrients requiremens. Counting in the water from vegetables and fruits, my intake averages at around 3L per day. Could the fact that I don’t do any isotonic drinks be an issue?

    doughywilson on #28169

    I’ve noticed that when I train aerobically, my appetite stays in check. I attribute that to a higher percentage of fat vs sugar burn. When you train at high intensity, glycogen/sugar stores are going to be depleted much faster than when training at low intensity where a lot of fat burn is happening. Low glycogen is likely to lead to hunger much more.

    I’ve lost about 9-10 lbs since focusing on staying in Zone 1/2 for most of my runs.

    Anonymous on #28202

    @doughywilson: Good observations. That also applies for long-term training as well.

    For example, at the beginning of a skimo season, after a preseason of mostly aerobic work, I can take very little food for long days. By the end of the race season, after the proportion of training intensity is much greater, I need to take much more food for long days.

    It always takes a few months for me to correct and redirect my metabolism back to an aerobic bias. (I’m also fairly fast-twitch, so that doesn’t help.)

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