21 March 2023

I Just Want to Run

Health and performance go hand in hand, and one of the greatest challenges for an ultra-trail runner is to manage well with nutrition, and to keep a good balance in between training, sleep, nutrition, work and life in general.

Sylwia Kaczmarek, Team Arduua Athlete, has been with us now since 2020, and this season she will be our Arduua Ambassador in Norway, growing our local presence, spreading the joy of mountain running.

Sylwia had some previous challenges with lots of stress at work, nutrition and low iron levels and lack of energy.

In this interview with Sylwia you will learn more about how she tackled her situation, about her new diet, and her new healty lifestyle…

Sylwia Kaczmarek, Team Arduua Athlete Ambassador, Norway

– Last year was very stressful at work. I had a lack of energy, and a low iron level most of the time. I was thinking through my prioritizations and came to some conclusions about what I wanted to get out of life.

I decided to change stressful work, and to be more careful about nutrition and my health in general.

Hiking in beautiful Patagonia

Now, the stress from my previous job is gone and I can sleep better and therefore train better, and I realize now what a huge impact the stress had on my body and mind.

I’m happy with the change that I’ve made, and I don’t regret a single moment of the decision I made by going to the small company. 

I started my new diet at the end of January

I contacted a sports nutritionist because I had constant problems with iron. I really wanted to get stronger.

For as long as I can remember it has either been anemia or low hemoglobin or iron.

It was a wise choice because I am going to make a long trek in the Himalayas(130 km) at the end of mars. I will be back after one month.

The highest point I will reach is Mount Everest Base camp. 

Being at altitude, iron is extremely important.

I wouldn’t want to have similar breathing problems as I had 5 years ago when I climbed Kilimanjaro.

I was very exhausted and dehydrated.

In the end I was caught by altitude sickness and couldn’t eat. I was fainting. 

I knew my physical limit and at one point I said…. I’m turning back..

I admitted to myself that I wouldn’t be able to do the final stretch of more than 5000 altitude.

My nutritionist is from Poland and is a sports and a clinical nutritionist.

She leads the Polish women’s national football team and is herself a spot athlete in mountain biking. 

She interviewed me.

My goal is to feel good, have good blood results and power in my body

I have introduced vitamin B, D, selenium, iron and collagen and probiotics into my diet for better absorption.

I drink beetroot sourdough and homemade beetroot, carrot and apple juice.

The first month my diet reached 3000 kcal a day. It was a huge shock to me, and It felt like twice as much as I had eaten before.

After a week, I started to remember my meal weights. The food is very tasty and balanced. There are cereals, meat, fish, fruit, and lots of vegetables. The diet is 5 meals a day.

I start with breakfast at 6.30 – 7.00 am and finish with dinner around 7.00 pm. Lunch and dinner are mainly protein and carbohydrates post-workout.

The second month of the diet is 2500 kcal and 5 meals. I have noticed an improvement in performance. Better running pace in zone 1 and 2, and I don’t get tired during tempo runs e.g., in blocks of 3 x 10 threshold, 4.20 pace.

Enjoying life and the beautiful landscape of Norway

I can feel my body is working

After Less than 7 weeks on the diet I feel a change for the better. The body works better during exercise and I don’t feel as tired as I used. 

I can do 12-13 km during easy running and good pacing. 

In retrospect, I see that I ate too little, and the body could not recover well. Meals and energy are crucial in our active training regime.

I lead an active life and train 6-7 times a week. 

I also have creatine in my diet, but I use it carefully. Small doses after the hardest workouts. Creatine can retain water in the body, so I am careful.

The weight stands still; however, the body is changing.

I have more power and energy.

I don’t feel hungry, I don’t snack.

I am very satisfied,I enjoying food

Recently, I have also been using a new form of recreation for me – cold baths. Regular bathing hardens the body. Immunity and cold tolerance increase noticeably, the cardiovascular system improves and the muscle tissue starts to function better by increasing elasticity and tension. In addition, cold baths reduce local inflammation and micro-injuries.

Sylwia enjoying cold baths for recreation

Heading for new challenges and adventures

This season I’m planning to do 3 mountain marathons – 42-48 K. And maybe some shorts race in between.

Soon  I will have a one month break from running and will do three weeks of amazing hiking in the Himalayas. I will have extra strength training because of a backpack with a load about 13 kg.

I am very curious about the body’s adaptation to altitude, acclimatisation and ultimately form after return at the end of April. 

At altitude, among other things, the secretion of erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells, increases. The oxygen content of the air also decreases, causing the nervous and endocrine systems to increase the production of red blood cells, which in turn are responsible for faster transport of oxygen to the cells. 

I believe that the fatigue will allow me to start in the first race Askøy på langs /37.5 K already on 8 th of May.

Lofoten Ultra Trail 3th of June,48K,D+ 2500

Madeira Skyrace  17th of June, 42 K, D+3000

 Stranda Eco Trail/Golden Trail Series 5th of August, 48K,D+ 1700

The combination of having a great running coach Fernando Armisén, who is Arduua’s Head Coach, and a specialist who takes care of my nutrition, I believe will be a great combination.

I am motivated to run a lot and for as long as possible, while enjoying good health and satisfaction with life.

I regret using a nutritionist specialist so late. But, I am in good hands 🙂

Now everything is on top, and I have great training possibilities in the beautiful mountains in Norway.

Looking forward to meet up with the rest of the team at Madeira Skyrace in June 2023 🙂

Sylwia with Team Arduua at Madeira Skyrace 2021

/ Sylwia Kaczmarek, Team Arduua Athlete

Blog by Katinka Nyberg, Arduua

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