5 Nutriton Tips for Marathon Training: Fitness Friday

If you ever thought about training for a marathon, you know what commitment and effort it is. Proper marathon training and adequate nutrition is essential to peak performance as well as reducing your chance of injuries. I was so excited to learn about Dr. Susan Kleiner, a Ph.D. in sports nutrition, and I am thrilled to share her top five nutrition tips for marathon training:
  1. Nothing beats the impact of hydration on performance. Before the race, let thirst be your guide to the finish line and use a sports drink to replace fluids during the race. If you are racing just to participate and finish, then drink when you are thirsty throughout the event.  If you are racing to win or achieve your personal record then have a structured fluid replacement plan during the race and stick with it!
  1. Getting the proper pre-and-post training nutrition is very important for daily recovery and fueling for the competition. Two important factors when picking meals or snacks before and after workouts are: the combination of carbohydrates and protein, and convenience. For a light pre-training meal try a USANA low-glycemic protein shake. Consuming low-glycemic foods provides sustainable energy, which is ideal for long distance training. When carbohydrates combine with protein, they deliver fuel to your muscles more rapidly. Moreover, the liquid snack easily empties from your stomach just before training or the race. For a post-training snack that contains a good amount of protein and fiber, grab a nutrition bar. Personally, I like to add a chocolate milk to enhance rehydration and boost recovery. They’re convenient and easy to consume after training.
  1. Healthy vitamin D levels will do your training a world of good by supporting balanced hormone and metabolic function. Eat fatty fish, drink vitamin D fortified milk, and include a vitamin D supplement daily.
  1. Put your food and supplements to work for you. Target most of your carbs around exercise (pre, during, and post) to maximize their fueling function. This also helps control body fat to keep you light on your feet. Supplement your training diet with all the B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and choline) to support optimal energy and protein metabolism.
  1. To support cellular, vascular, and joint health, eat at least 3 servings of fatty fish per week. Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, black cod, halibut, catfish, crab, oysters, or shrimp are a few examples. Also, supplement your diet daily with 1000 mg DHA+EPA.


Dr. Susan Kleiner, Ph.D, RD, CNS, FACN, FISSN, is a high performance nutritionist and foremost authority on nutrition for strength and power. In addition to having a Ph.D. in sports nutrition, she’s a founder and fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, fellow of the American College of Nutrition, and the best-selling author of numerous books, including Power Eating—written specifically for athletes to build muscle, gain.

 

7 Racing Strategies for a Great Run: Fitness Friday

Most runners run races without giving much thought except about their entry fees, t-shirt and some fun. Running expert and 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, Dr. Jason Karp, says “When you develop and execute your race plan, you’ll achieve your potential and run better races.” He suggests these 7 racing strategies to improve yourself when it comes to running a race.

Strategy 1: Own the Process

Racing isn’t something that just happens. Know when to hold back and when to take control of certain moments in the race. Become an integral part of the racing process and take responsibility for your thoughts and actions, before, during, and after the race.

Strategy 2: Visualize your race before it happens. 

Visualizing your race before you run it allows you to experience it beforehand, making the experience familiar and thus making you less nervous.  If the experience is familiar, you will feel more comfortable.  Practice visualizing your race each day for a few days before it, seeing the whole experience. Then, when it’s time for your race, you will have already run it. 

Strategy 3: Know what pace you can sustain in the race. 

Learn from your workouts and know going into the race what pace you can expect to sustain.

Strategy 4: Have specific, meaningful goals in mind for your race.  

By having specific goals for your races, it allows you to get away from thinking about the race as a whole, which can be overwhelming.  It also allows for something positive to be taken from each race, even if the overall outcome is disappointing.  Have one or two goals for each race that are within your control.

Strategy 5: Control your nerves at the starting line. 

Every runner gets nervous before a race.  That’s perfectly normal.  The important thing is to not let your nervousness get the better of you and prevent you from running a winning race. 

Strategy 6: Keep changing the pace. 

While the best way to run your fastest possible time in a race is to run as even splits as possible, sometimes whom you beat and the place in which you finish matters more than the time on the clock.  In those races, a great winning racing strategy is to keep changing the pace on your opponent, in effect turning the race into a very hard fartlek.

Strategy 7: Become your own hero.

There is a moment in every race when it starts to feel uncomfortable.  While it’s a natural human tendency to back off from physical discomfort for self-preservation, one of the things that makes runners unique is their penchant for seeking it out.  It is in that moment in the race that you learn about yourself and what you are willing to do to meet your goal.  You want to walk away from your race feeling like you gave it everything you had.  You want to be proud of yourself.  Racing gives you the opportunity to become someone better than you currently are.

Friday Fitness: Freshwater Land Trust and Darter Dash 5K and Fun Run

When my friend, Caroline, told me last year about the “Freshwater Land Trust Darter Dash” 5K race, I was so excited about it. Not because of outdoor beauty, but because of its cause: The Freshwater Land Trust. The Freshwater Land Trust is non-profit organization that acquires, conserves and connects open spaces that are critical for the protection of rivers and streams and that provide recreational opportunities for the community. Its mission is the acquisition and stewardship of lands that enhance water quality and preserve open space. It is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, which recognizes it as meeting standards of excellence, upholding the public’s trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.

The 5K course takes runners along a course unlike any other in Jefferson County and will begin and end at Turkey Creek Falls. The race course is a paved roadway that follows the beautiful creek, offering extraordinary views and subtle elevation changes that allow for a challenging, yet fun course. This beautiful preserve contains some of the most biologically diverse habitats in this region of Alabama. The waters of Turkey Creek are home to three endangered species of fish: the Vermilion Darter (Etheostoma chermocki), the Watercress Darter (Etheostoma nuchale), and the Rush Darter (Etheostoma phytophilum). The Vermilion Darter occurs only in Turkey Creek and nowhere else in the world.

The 5K race will start at 8:30 a.m. and the 1 Mile Fun Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. Day-of-race registration will be at 7:00 a.m. The first one hundred participants will receive a tech t-shirt. All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Land Trust’s efforts in protecting local lands and preserving the places that matter. For more information and to register, please go to www.freshwaterlandtrust.org.

I’ll be there. Will you?

WHAT: 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run Race Benefitting the Freshwater Land Trust WHERE: Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, Pinson, Alabama
WHEN: Saturday, October 13, 2012
START TIME: 8:30 a.m. – 5K   9:30 a.m. – Fun Run

 

Fitness Friday: Burn More Calories Trail Running

Need some new ways to blast calories? Since it’s warmer outside, head to the trails. Try some of these three fun, fast-paced trail routines designed by Vindum and Nikki Kimball, three-time winner of the prestigious Western States 100-mile endurance race. I love all of three trail running suggestions.

1. Circuit Play
Why: Mixing walking, running, sprinting, and strength work transforms a hike into a full-body workout.

How: As you move along the trail, vary your pace: Go easy for two minutes, pick it up a bit for five, then sprint or speed-walk hard for 15 to 60 seconds. Recover at a slow pace until your breathing returns to normal. Then launch into a strength move (pushups and triceps dips on a log, calf raises on a rock, squats with one foot propped up on a rock) for 60 to 90 seconds. That’s one cycle. Do four to six cycles, switching up the strength moves and your speeds throughout your workout.

2. Cardio Hill Blast
Why: Running and hiking uphill increases your leg strength and improves your cardiovascular fitness while also torching fat—win, win, win! For each degree of incline, count on at least a 10 percent increase in calories burned, according to New York City nutrition and metabolism expert Jana Klauer, M.D., author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist’s Plan: The No-Fail Prescription for Energy, Vitality & Weight Loss. So running up a 5 percent grade (a gentle hill) will burn 50 percent more calories than running on a totally flat surface for the same amount of time.

How: Run up gradual hills at a strong but comfortable pace (you’re breathing hard, but you can still say a few words). Keep your chest lifted and your shoulders relaxed and down. On steep grades, switch to a quick walk, using medium to long strides. If the route you take has only one or two hills, do repeats: Run or walk the hill, jog back down, then take the climb again. Aim for four to eight total hill climbs.

3. Power Up, Race Down
Why: When you do squats, lunges, and other strength moves uphill, and then run downhill, you’ll get a balanced lower-body workout. The uphill exercises target the glutes, calves, and inner and outer thighs, while downhill running works your quads. Bonus: Doing strength moves on an incline requires more energy, so you’ll burn more calories, and managing uneven ground as you descend improves balance and coordination.

How: When you get to a hill, work in a few strength moves. Then run down the other side (or the same side). If the climb is long enough, perform 20 reps of each exercise on the way up.

Read more of this story at Women’s Health

Fitness Friday: Lululemon Giveaway

Happy Fitness Friday. Since it’s my birthday week, I thought I would offer a fun giveaway for an awesome tank from lululemon athletica. We are so lucky to have a lululemon athletica store in Birmingham so check out their Facebook page. If you live in town, did you know that they offer yoga at their store every sunday night from 6 to 7 p.m? The class is taught by a different local yoga instructor each week. Fun, huh? If you’re in town, be sure to check it out! Back to my giveaway… To enter to win one of their latest tanks (it might not be these exact ones pictured, but it will be one of their latest tank tops), leave a comment telling me what type of yoga you would like to try or how yoga has impacted your life. Also do the following below for extra chances to win and leave me a comment letting me know you did. One lucky winner will be drawn on Tuesday, March 13th at 8 a.m CST. Good Luck!

1. Like Ingredients Inc on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Follow Alison lewis on Pinterest

4. Subscribe to Ingredients, Inc. via email

5. Like FoodLife Project on Facebook

6. Sign up for The FoodLife Project  first “small group series” for 10 chances to win.

 

Fitness Friday: 17 Marathon Running Motivation Tips

Hannah Pate is a 5th grade teacher and spin instructor in Birmingham, Alabama. She is currently training for her first Ironman triathlon. She is a huge fan of any type of exercise, but she says, “I really like to mix things up and try new things, and I have a strong passion for swimming, biking, running and yoga.” She recently sent the following advice to a friend the week before her first marathon. This advice is great for any of you training for your first race, marathon or workout event. Thank you Hannah!

1. This is YOUR week!

2. Rest!

3. Recover!

4. Get pumped!

5. Go in with the right attitude.

6. Go into it with a plan… a goal without a plan is merely a wish.

7. Be ready to tackle some serious mental hurdles.

8. You will dominate!  You have worked so hard. You have put in the training time. Your body can handle it. Your body is ready for it.
Get your mind ready.

9. Prepare to cross a threshold that you have never ever crossed.

10. Be prepared to coach yourself through it. Write down some mantras to say to yourself when you are at a low point. It will help.

11. Think of the people that are praying for you; the people that want to see you succeed.

12. Think about the people that helped you get to this point.

13. Think about all of the effort that you have put in and the time that you have committed getting you there.

14. Think about how strong you are and how this is JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET.

15. Have no regrets.

16.Think about how you will feel at the finish line.  Think about how proud you will be of yourself.  It’s A HUGE accomplishment, and you will feel like a million bucks when it’s over.

17. No one ever finishes a marathon easily.  It’s hard for everyone– from novices to elites.  You will be a stronger person when it’s over.  You are about to complete your first marathon!

Holiday Fitness Gift Ideas for “Her”

Okay. I am a fitness fanatic. I admit it. I want everything fitness related for my holiday gifts so here is a list of some of my favorites. To start, is this great workout bag called the “Triumphant Tote” from Lululemon. Not only does it fit a 15-inch laptop, but it’s so roomy, cool-looking, has a waterproof outer layer, and an exterior pocket with removable bag for grubby gear (perfect for my cycle shoes and sweaty clothes). $118. I want this in black if anyone is listening…Here are some of my other favorites:

For the Runner: How about this Roga Short for Oiselle. It combines the flattering waist of a yoga short with the technical function of a great running short with a rear zip pocket and moisture protection. $44

For Anyone: The “Energy Bra” by Lululemon, is my newest favorite workout bra. It fits perfectly, is so comfortable and it’s great for any sport as well as hot yoga. I just splurged on this pink one!  $42

For the Runner: I just bought these running tights from Saucony, and they are comfortable, have a reflective stripe for maximum visibility (if you are running early in the morning or late in the day), have a roomy pocket and ankle zippers. $65

For a Challenge: How about a great workout DVD? If you’re looking for a great overall workout that is tough and will tone you up, try my friend, Sandra’s,  Horizontal Conditioning or Boot Camp DVD. $19.99

For Tennis: I love this new Nike Rival Tennis Skirt, part of the Sharapova holiday Dry-fit collection. The fit is awesome. $60

For Yoga: This Burn Out V-Neck from Yoga Fit is so soft and the perfect fit for yoga, running or just lounging at home. I love that their collection is made in in the USA. The yoga posture illustrations on the shirt are too cute.

Top 10 Race Running Tips: Race for the Cure

 

Who is running the “Race for the Cure” this year? Since it’s this weekend in Birmingham, I thought I would share a few of my top 5K Race Running Tips. I have been a runner since I was 16, and I used to run races almost every weekend. This race, in support of Breast Cancer, is one of the best. If you haven’t run a race before, support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by trying out the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure”.

My Top 10 Race Tips:

1. Run with a friend-Running with a friend always makes it more fun and rewarding. Choose a friend who is inspiring, runs your pace and makes you laugh.

2. Pace Yourself-Don’t start off too fast, and think small. Just think and worry about the mile you’re on and not the entire picture. Save your speed and kick for the last mile of the race.

3. Eat and drink well-The night before the race, eat good carbohydrates with protein, and drink a lot of water. Avoid alcohol, sugar and fatty foods.

4. Don’t overdress-Wearing too many clothes can be so uncomfortable. Believe me. I have been guilty of this on many occasions. Less is more.

5. Wear good shoes-Purchase good running shoes, but break them in first. Don’t wear brand new shoes the day of the run, or you may get blisters (I learned the hard way on this one too).

6. Train-Train for the race. You can find many great training schedules online as well as training groups in your host city. Be sure to cross train as well.

7. Warm up and stretch-I like to run for a bit before the race begins to get my muscles warm and then stretch my legs.  Also, remember to stretch when the race is competed.

8. Rest– Get a good night’s rest the night before. Try to relax the night before, and try not to stress or over-think the race.

9. Arrive early-Get to the race early enough so you can relax and don’t have to rush. Give yourself time to park, get your number, put your gift bag in the car and warm up properly.

10. Have fun-Enjoy the race and give it all you got. You will feel so much better afterwards, and it will also be a great accomplishment (it’s also very fun to get a new T-shirt).

Top 10 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

 

This past year has been a whirlwind for me working on a 400 recipe cookbook (and now promoting it), 3 very, very busy kids, the decline of my parents’ health and more. I have been so filled with multitasking that I spend the majority of the time not living in the “now”, but thinking (or worrying) about what is to come next. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about balance. How do you achieve it? How do you find that happy medium when you’re living in a very stressful time? I thought writing this post might help me get closer to the answers and, maybe, assist some others at the same time.

Ways to find Balance

1. Learn to say no-I say yes a lot, but have learned in business as well as with my kids, I need to learn to say “no” more often.

2. Focus on key tasks-I find myself having more distractions than ever with email, social media, my blog and large projects. I have learned that focusing on key tasks daily simplifies things for me.

3. Be positive-We’ve all have heard it time and time again: “Attitude is everything”. My yoga instructor once said to look at your day as you would look forward to a vacation. It’s all in our control to keep positive and to have a good attitude even in rough times.

4. Take care of your body-Try to eat healthy, drink a lot of water, and exercise regularly to achieve and enhance balance.

5. Get enough sleep-I find being sleep deprived is my worst enemy in feeling balanced. Getting more sleep helps me be better at everything in my life and in a better mood.

6. Find and make more “me” time-(I need to do this more without a doubt.) Whether it’s reading a book, getting a facial or massage or taking a nap, taking time for yourself is a key to finding balance.

7. Meditation-Studies show that meditating can help with stress, help you concentrate more and help you achieve balance in your life.

6. Laugh more-Laughing is a huge stress reliever and a great way to achieve balance when times are tough.

7. Go for a run-Running keeps me grounded, helps me relieve stress and helps me be more creative. A good run always makes me feel better.

8. Take up yoga-Yoga has been one of the top saving graces for me. It clears the mind, helps with concentration and works on the body and mind at the same time.

9. Hang out with friends-Whether it’s a lunch with friends or dinner out, stepping out of your everyday busy routine pays off in spades.

10. Vacation-I need more of these (and not to work on vacation), but a vacation is one of the best ways to get centered and recharge.

Best Foods for Runners

I have been an avid runner since I was 16. I love it, and it’s definitely one of my passions. For years, friends have asked me to come up with recipes for runners. Instead, I thought I would research what are the best foods and write about it. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Wild Salmon-Wild salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which boost heart health and nerve system functioning. Some doctors even say omega-3’s can help with post-run achy joints.

2. Almonds-High in antioxidants, protein and vitamin E, almonds are a wise choice for a runner’s snack helping to prevent achy muscles.

3. Quinoa-This complex carbohydrate (pronounced Keen-wah) is a great energy source filled with fiber, B vitamin, zinc and magnesium which are so helpful to runners. One-fourth cup of dry of quinoa has 172 calories, 6 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber, and it’s also gluten-free.

4. Kale-This member of the cabbage family has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber. It is one of the most antioxidant filled vegetables.

5. Bananas-This great pre-workout or post-workout food is a great source of carbohydrates and potassium. That is why you will always find bananas offered at the end of races.

6. Eggs-Eating one egg offers a great source of vitamin K and protein which aid in promoting healthy bones and muscles. I like to purchase the organic omega-3 enhanced eggs.

7. Blueberries-Filled with vitamin C and potassium, these can help the body repair itself after long, hard runs.

8. Edamame-This great snack is filled with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin C. It’s a great snack option loaded with health benefits.

9. Yogurt-Low-fat yogurt has a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and Greek yogurt has less carbs and even more protein. Both are great sources of calcium which is important for runners to help prevent stress fractures and osteoporosis.

10. Oranges-High in vitamin C, oranges are great for healing and helping absorb iron in the body which can help prevent fatigue and increase energy levels.