With the long months of training behind you, it can be hard to manage the emotional roller coaster before your first marathon. You’ve made it this far so hang tough since navigating this part is critical to your race day performance. Let’s dive into the details of your training, nutrition, and mental tactics so you are ready to toe the starting line with confidence and ease.
Let’s face it….. triathletes are busy, on-the-go people. We’re known for carving out time for workouts and getting plenty of rest and recovery. But when the schedule is packed, getting the right nutrition can be a monumental challenge. That’s why, no matter what your week has in store, stocking your pantry and fridge with healthy foods that can be ready in a flash will keep you on track with a balanced, healthy diet that fuels the body and packs a flavorful punch.
Though a well-prepared athlete can overcome many training challenges, there’s one threat to performance success that even the fittest athlete will not be able to push past: iron deficiency anemia – defined as low blood iron levels. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II, an estimated 20%–50% percent of female athletes and 4%–50% of male athletes suffer from depleted iron stores. Left untreated, iron depletion can develop into iron deficiency anemia (IDA), which impairs the body’s aerobic processes, brain and muscle metabolism, endurance performance, and normal immune response.
Recently, I overheard a conversation between triathletes discussing their post-season training and eating habits. The less structured training regimen was a welcome break from early mornings and long, grueling Ironman sessions that took priority over family, work, and play, but they seemed to mourn their race-season physique. How, they wondered, could they maintain it year-round?
You’ve probably heard the adage “the hay is in the barn” and wondered what the heck hay has to do with being race ready? In a nutshell, it means the hard work of training is done. In the week before your event, plan to log a few short tune-up workouts, prioritize rest and mentally prepare to toe the line. But as tempting as it might be, your taper is not the time to relax on the nutritional front. Here are some key nutritional taper tips to help optimize race-day performance.
Whether a New Year’s resolution has you fired up for a change, or you’re just battling the winter blahs, around this time of year, you’re probably scouring the Internet for a diet or detox plan to get you in tip-top shape for race season. I’m willing to bet that by now you’ve found more than a few that are guaranteed to deliver amazing results — or so you’re told.
Several months ago the Chapel Hill Magazine invited me to share my personal story and Race Smart for the November issue spotlighting Extraordinary Women. Wow, what an honor to be invited alongside truly remarkable women! My guidelines were simple; share why I train/race. The November magazine just hit the stands and my page was titled, The Fitness Fanatic. I guess that pretty much sums it up! Read below for more detail.
Life is too short not to indulge once in a while — especially in chocolate. But, don’t grab a 3 Musketeers candy bar thinking you are doing your body a favor. Not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate packs the biggest health punch compared to milk and white chocolate.
The secret behind dark chocolate’s powerful punch is the cacao bean, rich in a plant-based organic compound called flavonoids. Flavanols, the primary type of flavonoid in cocoa and chocolate, have powerful antioxidant properties responsible for providing numerous health benefits. The downside is cacao (the cocoa bean) by itself is unappetizing with its chalky and bitter flavor. Once milk, butter and sugar are added chocolate gets its yummy, creamy taste we have come to crave. However, the processing of chocolate takes out the flavanols negating the health benefit of cacao. [Read more…]