Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Racing with a stroller: A Simple How-To based on experience

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of racing a 5K while pushing my daughter, Emma, in her stroller. It was fantastic experience and one that I want to share with anyone considering doing the same one day.

Night before:
-Pack stroller, stroller toys, blankets.
-Set out Emma's coat, hat, and gloves.
-Pack Emma's snacks, prep Emma's breakfast and milk for the morning.
-Prep all clothing for myself, including race number and shoes.
-Prep breakfast, fill water bottle.

The race was at 8:05am, so we were up by 6:30am. We planned to get ourselves ready and then get Emma up around her normal wake-up time of 7am. However, she surprised us and was up by 6:15am (perhaps she was too excited to sleep). So we got ready and ate breakfast together around 6:40am. My husband, Ron, ran the race as well.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Before the marathon: Top 4 Nutrition Tips!

While many big marathons are over, a few still remain, including my city's inaugural Naperville Marathon on November 10th! For those of you with a race still in sight, here are the top 4 things you should be doing before race day...

1. Train your stomach, not just your muscles
A big mistake distance runners often make is forgetting to train their stomachs. Along with putting in those miles, it is important to practice fueling for race day. Race day is not a time to introduce new products (even sports drink), as your stomach may not be used to digesting during running. As soon as your runs become longer than 60 minutes, start adding in quick sources of carbohydrate such as sports drinks, gels, chomps, beans, dried fruit, or pretzels. Experiment with different products so you know what you prefer and what you tolerate both at the beginning and end of those long runs.

2. Know the course
While it is important to know the running course, you also need to educate yourself about the aid stations. Most (and by that I mean 99%) marathon races have the course map on the website. That course map will either include the aid stations or provide a different map of just aid stations. Know which product will be handed out where. Most marathons offer water and sports drink every 1.5 miles or so, but may add bananas or gu's/gels in the second half. Know what is available so you can train appropriately. Are they handing out a sports drink or product you have never tried before? Buy some of that product and train with it before race day to be sure you tolerate it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to adjust your food intake when you taper

Whether it is to prepare for an upcoming competition or re-adjusting intake after the season is over, tapering intake goes hand-in-hand with tapering training. So, here are a few tips to make the process slightly less confusing:

1. Calculate carbohydrate needs
Because carbohydrate needs increase as training increases, needs also decrease when training decreases. Therefore, it helps to calculate where your intake should actually be when tapering.  To do this, first calculate your weight in kilograms by dividing your weight (in pounds) by 2.2. So, for example, 130lb/2.2 = 59.1kg. Next, multiply by the correct factor based on how training hours you are currently doing:

>4-5hrs/day = 8-12
1-3hrs/day = 6-10
~1hr/day = 5-7
Low intensity or skill-based activities = 3-5

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to train your body for fueling during a run

This week, enjoy a guest post from my intern, Ashley, who is training for her first full marathon. She offers some excellent thoughts about the difficulty but necessity of training your stomach like you train your muscles.

Be Extraordinary,

I have run multiple races in my lifetime 5, 10, 15k’s, half-marathons. Now I am tackling training for my first full marathon. Previously my training regimen included hydrating pre- and post-run, but I never fueled during a run. I couldn’t tolerate eating/drinking anything other than water while I was exercising or even within an hour of exercising. After the Rock n’ Roll Chicago half-marathon didn’t go as well as planned; I knew that something needed to change in my training. Even though I did stomach Gatorade with water at a few of the aid stations during the race, but it was not enough fuel and I felt exhausted the last 3 miles. I needed to train my stomach to handle Gatorade and gels to fuel my body for my marathon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Top 4 ways to use nutrition to prevent stress fractures in athletes

As athletes progress in their sport, both intensity and time spent in training increase. This can leave the body short on nutrients that provide protection against illness or injury. It is not uncommon for athletes to suddenly become sick or suffer from an injury after a change in their workout schedule or when transitioning from high school to collegiate athletics. Stress fractures are especially common in athletes who participate in cross country, track and field, basketball, gymnastics and tennis as a result of repeatedly striking the foot on the ground. To prevent occurrence or re-occurrence of stress fractures, athletes should allow enough time for rest between workouts and practice these four eating habits:

1. Eat to accommodate increased energy expenditure.

As exercise intensity and amount increase, so do energy needs. Increase overall caloric intake, but especially carbohydrate foods, to assure working muscles have enough fuel to recover. Some examples are: whole-wheat bread/ pasta/rice/tortillas/bagels, Triscuits, quinoa, and fruit. Also, eat the most in the beginning of the day (breakfast!) and less as the day progresses to assure muscles have sufficient energy on board heading into practice. Adequate caloric intake also means adequate vitamins and minerals to protect bones (see more in number four).