Last month you met Kristy Thall, our first staff member and the energy of the office.
February is a time when many athletes plan their seasons. The Holiday season is WAY OVER and they pick which races they want to do, short course, long course and sometimes destination courses. The one thing typically forgotten about is the nutrition part of the race.
I had a client write to me:
“I don’t think many realize when racing triathlon, that there are actually 4 events: Swim, Bike, run and the most important NUTRITION!!” But most athletes I have worked with tend to change the aspects of training in hopes that the race season will improve. Well, it may. But without taking a look at your nutrition, all the training in the world is not going to get you to the finish line quickly if you’re puking your guts out or walking the marathon.
I have a package that works well with most clients. It helps to build the foundation of your nutrition goals so you become a fat burning machine, not a carb junkie looking for the next fix. I am not saying that carbohydrates are bad or good. But we need to keep our nutrients in balance. If you eat mostly carbohydrates, like bagel for breakfast, you spike the blood sugar and set yourself up to be craving more carbs and sugar the rest of the day. This set you up for burning sugar, even if you are in fat burning mode while exercising.
If you had 2 eggs, half a baked sweet potato with butter, and a cup of sautéed spinach for breakfast, you could probably eat like that all day and never feel overly hungry. Eating more balanced meals with protein, some carbs, lots of vegetables and some fat will help get your body into fat burning mode. Then you will burn more fat while exercising regardless of which zone you are in.
Why is any of this important? Because you have to train your nutrition and see how the body adapts. It is not an overnight process. And it takes time to pay attention to what signs your body is giving you. It takes time to understand what language your body speaks to you! I am the translator many times with my clients. If you want your body to be a fat burning machine so you can be lean for your race season, you have to plan out the off-season to incorporate the diet. That may be the best time to work on fat loss (not just weight loss). Pick a 2-6 month window before your racing season begins to schedule time with a nutrition coach to help you with your body composition goals.
Then 2-3 months before your event, you want to work on race day nutrition. If you have trouble with walking on the run, GI distress, IBS or just feeling too tired to finish, you need to work on nutrition. These are usually not training related or being under prepared with training. These are usually being under-prepared with your nutrition. If you are a carb-burner, you willneed more sugar when you train and race. Increase the sugar, increase the likelihood you will have GI distress. Yes, you can train your body to take in more, but your overall nutrition might need adjustment along with race day nutrition so you can minimize the risks of GI distress.
With some planning of the race season races, you may want to consider planning your nutrition training plan, too. Use winter months to convert from carb to fat burning. Spring to work on more fat burning and adjustingintake to increased training loads. The spring into summer is all about race day nutrition and training the race day plan until it is dialed in with recovery meals during the week, electrolyte adjustments for heat and humidity and finding out what works best for the pre-race dinner, breakfast and during racing fuel. Don’t just plan your races, plan your nutrition, too!
Joanna K Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH is a sports nutrition coach helping athletes improve their performance, reaction time, and faster recovery using real foods. Joanna provides her clients with realistic, real food options that fit into their busy lives. As an athlete herself, Joanna understands the performance needs of other athletes. Among the sports nutrition coaching services which Joanna provides are Race DayNutrition Strategy sessions and Nutrition Response Testing (NRT).For updates on other sports nutrition programs, lectures, and events with Joanna visit www.nutrition-in-motion.net regularly.