First entry in my training log has a date with year 2000, when I ran to improve my tennis fitness. Over the next couple of years, as my involvement in tennis diminished, I gradually increased my running volume, with the aim of completing marathon. When the goal of completing was accomplished, I found running more and more appealing, as a way of releasing the stress and also as a way of self-accomplishment.
In the year 2009 I ran a PB of 2:38 in Berlin and then later got injured in preparation for the next PB. It was then that I saw a motivational clip on YouTube for Ironman and started fiddling with the idea of trying a new sport. And in the search of new goals, as I realized that the hunt for marathon times would soon end, the idea of three different sports seemed appealing. So a new goal was set: completion of Ironman.
I started swimming in local club in the end of 2009, completed first half-ironman the next year and got hooked. As the training log data expanded, so did the aspirations. I started the 2011 Ironman Frankfurt with IM Hawaii in mind but failed to qualify for 5 seconds (yes, seconds, 13th in my AG, there were 12 slots and all were taken!). So I did IM Florida that fall instead, got 2nd in AG and earned a ticket to 2012 Hawaii.
Training became more and more focused and the search for that little elusive competitive advantage even more intense. It was around that time that I started to pay really close attention to nutrition as well, eating according to conventional wisdom. I started eating vegetarian in the end of 2010 and my diet became, as advised for endurance athlete, heavily based on carbohydrates. And lots of them, with adequate protein and very little fat, that came mostly from nuts or olive oil. In 2012 I completed IM Austria in summer and IM Hawaii in fall, trained my guts out but never really felt satisfied with my nutrition.
As my training load was approx. 3 hours per day since 2011, I was naturally eating a lot. All according to the guidelines and in spite of high training volume had troubles with maintaining my weight. A minor injury, couple of lost training sessions and an additional kg would appear on the scale. And I was always hungry. And by hungry I mean really hungry. Although being quite self-disciplined, I couldn’t resist cookies on different occasions, or raisins, or fruit, or anything that I could get my eyes on. And what terrified me the most was the thought of what would become of me, when I would eventually stop training so much. If then, training my guts out at 3 hours a day and gaining 6 kg in 3 years, what would the scale say if I dropped my training to an enjoyable 1h a day?
This diet-exercise balance was becoming a paradox for me and I knew that I needed to do something before the next season. And it was then that I came across the article by The prof. Tim Noakes. With regards of his authority in endurance training (think only on The Lore of Running!) this represented a tipping point. Thinking I got nothing to lose, I embarked on a new journey.