Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A nursing dietitian's half marathon nutrition plan

This weekend I will be competing in The Legends Half Marathon in Michigan. It will be my longest race since before I had my daughter. I had a great 5K this past St. Patrick's Day race in Naperville and prior to that did a 5-miler somewhere around 20 weeks pregnant. Since I am still nursing my 10-month old daughter, that adds a flair of complication to the day. So, this is a nursing sports dietitian's nutrition plan for her half marathon.........

Date of race: Saturday, August 3rd at 8:30am
Projected weather: 77 and sunny is the high for the day - guessing ~70 at the start. Should be shady as it is a trail run in a state park.
Expected course: Since rain is predicted Friday, I expect mud and standing water in some low-lying areas (bring it - just like H.S. XC!). Per website, mainly flat with a few short hills.

Traveling Friday in the afternoon to arrive by dinner time. Staying with family ~15 min from race location.
Dinner: Plans are to go out to eat. Have been to the restaurant before - huge menu, so shouldn't have a hard time finding something to eat. Generally my night before meal is pasta with grilled chicken along water and cooked veggies if I can get them. Water to drink.

9 PM  EST snack: Will pack cheerios and milk with peanut butter (my go-to final snack)

Stretch, foam roll. Bed by 10PM

Saturday - Race Day

6:30 AM EST Wake up and pump while eating breakfast: White bagel with 2 Tbsp peanut butter and 1 Tbsp jelly, 2 cups Gatorade, 2 cups water (will have to bring all of this from home)

7:  Emma up; hubby feed bottle. Will use a previously frozen bottle for this feeding in case she is up earlier than projected.

7:15/7:30: Leave for race; drink 1-2 cups water and eat 1 whole banana on way while mentally prepare for race
7:40/7:50: Pick up packet at race site; bathroom break
8: Warm-up, stretch
8:10/8:15: 1/2 cup water

8:30 AM race start - goal 8:15/8:25 mile pace - only water avail. at Aid stations from what can tell on website
3.2-mile: 1 cup water from Aid station
5.5-mile/~44 min in: 1 gu packet (will be carrying)
6.2-mile/~50 min in: 1 cup water from Aid station
7.5-mile: 1 cup water from Aid station
9-mile/~76 min in: 1 gu packet (will be carrying)
9.5-mile: 1 cup water from Aid station (last station before finish)
~10:20am: Finish!

Post-race: Grab water, banana & bagel from post-race food; peanuts will bring on own & immediately head to car to pump

Potential edits:
-I may pump additional 10 min after I pick up my race packet depending on how I feel.
-I may move up the first gu to mile 3 depending on how I feel race day. Unfortunately the aid station locations don't work perfectly with my typical fueling schedule.

As a whole, I'm feeling pretty confident and excited for this race. My training hasn't been 100% what I would have liked but I always got in the long runs and at least 1-2 shorter runs mid-week or substituted trainer workouts.

Come back next week to see my race report!

Be Extraordinary,


Picture source:

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Performance Nutrition Tips for Exercise in the Heat & Humidity

What a crazy week it has been across the country - high temperatures combined with high humidity has lead to heat-related incidences being reported all over the news. This weather does not help athletes in peak training and competition time. Help yourself maintain your training intensity with the following 5 tips.

1. Hydrate
Hydration doesn't start one hour before your starts as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning. Drink 2 cups of water as soon as you get out of bed - even before breakfast. This will help kick-start the rehydration process. During your workout, take on a bit more fluid than normal; drink cold beverages to help keep your core temperature controlled.

2. Mind your electrolytes
One of the reasons sports drinks are better than plain water for training athletes is because your body loses more than water when you also lose electrolytes (mainly sodium). Also, electrolytes are imperative for muscle contraction during exercise. Taking in electrolytes with fluid helps your body hold on to more of that fluid. This means you hydrate your body better and visit the bathroom less frequently. During your workout, consider drinking a sports drink to help your body hydrate better. One possible cause of muscle cramping during or after exercise is an imbalance of electrolytes; this is prevented by appropriate hydration with sports drinks. If you are not a fan of added sugars, try a no-calorie electrolyte supplement such as Nuun tabs or a no-calorie drink such as Powerade Zero.

3. Wear breathable clothing
When the air is already saturated with water (i.e. in high humidity), sweat does not easily evaporate from your skin. Breathable fabrics wick moisture away from your skin, which helps your body be more efficient at cooling itself.  Since there is an indirect relationship between body temperature and performance, staying cool is key. Note there is both warm weather and cold weather breathable clothing, so pay attention to what you are buying. Shell out the extra bucks - these clothes are worth it! And whenever possible, use a towel to wipe off excess sweat on your arms, face, legs, etc. It is not the sweating that cools your body, but the evaporation of that sweat.

4. Look for fluid on your plate
In addition to hydrating with fluids, choose foods with a high-water content, such as WATERmelon, tomatoes, lettuce, and melons. This will add to your daily fluid intake while also providing vitamins and minerals that athletes need for proper recovery.

5. Take it easy
No athlete responds well to those words. However, decreasing intensity for a day or two is better than recovering for several days from heat illness. If you find that your heart rate is skyrocketing, you are dizzy, or that you are experiencing chills or nausea, you need to find some shade, take a break, and hydrate. Force yourself to drink, even if you are feeling nauseous. Assess your hydration tactics and increase your efforts before you continue exercise in the heat. (Note: if you feel faint, find help immediately or call 9-1-1.)

Remember that it takes approximately 7-14 days on average for your body to acclimate to exercise in the heat. So be patient if you're not hitting your goal splits or heart rate ranges for a few days. Using these 5 tactics, you'll soon be back to your normal intensity.

Be Extraordinary,


Photo source:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Athlete Dads: Why you should grill this Father's Day Weekend

With the summer season here, it is prime grilling time.  And what better weekend to do this than Father's Day weekend? Whether you are the dad taking the lead or the son grilling up something special for the occasion, you are making a great choice! Grilling is a healthy way to prepare food for many reasons.

1. Grilling decreases fat
Instead of cooking in fat, the fat drips off of the food, which decreases the overall fat content of the meat.

2. Grilling retains moisture
Grilling sears the food, which helps retain moisture. This means added fats such as butter are unnecessary, which further helps to reduce total calories.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Performance-Enhancing Backyard BBQ Recipes

If there is one thing that is synonymous with the 4th of July, it is a backyard BBQ. How do you make your holiday celebration tasty, fun AND performance-enhancing? Here are few recipes that are exploding with all three.

1. Tandoori Chicken Kabobs
Who wants plain old chicken breast sandwiches when you have these? The best part is you can use the marinade on vegetables or tofu too!

2. Island Rice Pilaf
To me, this SCREAMS summer. I have made this more times than I care to is just too delicious. Plus it is vegan - added bonus.