24 Jun CBD for Athletes: Interview with Lee Grantham
Earlier this year, Jen Finnegan from Naturecan interviewed world champion ultra-runner and official Naturecan ambassador, Lee Grantham. The two discussed how the pandemic has affected Lee’s running schedule, the importance of sleep and nutrition, and what Lee’s plans are for the next year.
Lee has stuck to his usual training routine during the pandemic, and despite travel restrictions, has still been able to visit Thailand and Spain, where he spends several months training each year. While most in-person races have been cancelled over the last year, Lee has been keen to maintain his fitness in order to be ready for the numerous virtual events taking place. On boxing day, for example, he participated in an uphill treadmill race on a virtual mountain while in quarantine in Thailand.
Sleep: The Foundation of Success
Aside from training, the pandemic has also given Lee the time to fine-tune his fitness regime by speaking to specialists from a range of disciplines, including physiology, nutrition and sleep. When describing the building blocks of his regime, he explained that sleep is the most important driver of performance. “Without sleep,” he said, “everything else is weak.”
Lee admitted that, when he turned professional and was able to run full-time, his biggest mistake was training too much and burning out. But once he devoted more time to recovery and began taking siestas, his fitness improved significantly. “If I’ve had a bad night’s sleep, which is very rare now, I’ll push my next key session forward a day – so I’ll do an easy run or training session, and then when I’ve had really good sleep do a hard session, because I know I’m going to get so much more out of it… Those are the sessions that make you improve.”
Diet & Nutrition
If sleep forms the foundations of Lee’s fitness pyramid, then nutrition sits on the level above. Lee follows a strict vegan diet (although every two weeks he treats himself to a cheesy pizza) and prefers to eat many small meals throughout the day, as opposed to three or four large meals. He also takes a variety of daily supplements, including protein, amino acids, and Naturecan’s CBD brownies and nut butters.
Motivation & Mental Health
Despite the restrictions imposed during the pandemic, Lee has managed to stay motivated throughout the last year. “Your motivations are either intrinsic or extrinsic,” he said. “Extrinsic motivations might be the glory of winning a race, prize money or status. I’m motivated very much intrinsically. I love the training just as much as the racing. I’m super-competitive, but I’ve found that I’m competitive with myself as opposed to others.”
For Lee, staying motivated and keeping things in perspective are central to maintaining a healthy mindset. At a time when many people have struggled with mental health issues, Lee has drawn strength from his experiences travelling around the world. “I think because I’ve travelled so much and had another life before sport, I’m able to put things into perspective… There are people in a far worse situation than you.”
Lee recommends Naturecan’s 40% CBD Oil, which he takes every night before going to sleep, as well as Naturecan’s CBD cookies and nut butters, which he says are a tasty and easy way to top up his protein and keep his weight low. In addition, he often uses CBD chilli balm to treat minor muscle problems.
Lee is preparing to take part in the British 100km Championships in August. He also hopes to run in the IAU World Championships 50k in Taipei in October, but says that it depends on what travel restrictions are in place at the time. Regardless of whether international events can go ahead, Lee is focused on keeping fit and staying prepared: “I’m constantly training and ready to compete – we just have to do what we can.”
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