50 Miles of Gratitude: (2) Nutrition

….and My Story Runs On….

I’ve heard so many horror stories about people with GI issues when doing long events or having to DNF (Did Not Finish) because of poor nutrition.

I am NOT a registered dietitian or nutritionist but as a trainer, I know what it takes to help people lose weight.  I’ve helped many clients achieve weight loss goals via nutrition and exercise.  However, I knew that training for endurance event was going to be an entire different situation. I have no background in this area and I’m a big proponent of reaching out to experts to help (I’m always so grateful when runners come into my workshops and know that some more expert advice will help them perform better).

So, I decided to hire a registered dietitian who specialized in endurance events.  Brooke Schohl and her husband own Destination Kona (a triathlete store) and I’ve done a few free ChiRunning clinics there.  She also owns Fuel To The Finish.  I’ll admit it was a bit more money that I would normally spend but that’s how important it was for me to get this right.  Again, these posts are not in any particular order but I would say that my nutrition plan up to and during the race was in the top 5 reasons why I was successful. 

Before Brooke:  She analyzed my diet and most important my macronutrient ratio (fat vs. carbs vs. protein).  Right away she noticed that my protein was too low and my carbs were too high.  We discussed the Metabolic Efficiency “Diet”…it’s not really a diet but a plan.  So my goal was to have 40% fats, 35% carbs and 25% proteins (keep in mind that everyone is different so not recommending this for anyone.  Please consider talking to Brooke or someone who is trained in this field).  Long story short, I was teaching my body to burn energy more efficiently by using fat rather than the sugars.

Before Brooke...

Before Brooke…

During training: it was a challenge for me to lower my carbs and grains (I’m Italian, I love my carbs!) and increase my protein. The first few weeks were weird as I had low energy.  But once it started kicking in, I couldn’t believe how much more energy I had and how good I felt. She asked me if I wanted to lose weight during the process and I said if I lost a few pounds I would be good with it.  I’ve never been this focused on my nutrition (maybe when I lost the 40 lbs a long time ago but I was on a serious mission here) I used My Fitness Pal to log my food daily. Well, I lost about 10 lbs in the process and never felt this good in my life from my nutrition! On long training runs, I was to limit gus and gels and focus on real foods.  I did 20+ mile training runs and never had a gu or gel!  And felt great!

Example of how I was eating for 3 months...

Example of how I was eating for 3 months…

Race Day:  We had a final meeting to discuss my nutrition plan for race day.  We picked the foods that I used while training and created the plan for the entire day, eating 150-200 calories every 90 minutes.  I felt pretty good about my hydration and salt intake so I was going to listen to my body as I went.  One the way up to the race, I had a genius idea to set alarms on my phone to go off every 90 minutes so I didn’t have to worry about reminding myself!

Had my alarms going off every 90 minutes to remind me what time and what to eat based on my plan!

Had my alarms going off every 90 minutes to remind me what time and what to eat based on my plan!

The rule was to follow the plan until the last aid station (one of the reasons I picked this race is I was supposed to get birthday cake at one of the aid stations.  Brooke said if it was too early in the day, not to do it as the sugar could mess with me. I was bummed but I never saw the birthday cake or cared).  So at the last aid station, it was a freebie and I could do what I wanted. Which I did!  I had 8 miles to go and I had a Coke (I don’t drink coke except for trail runs towards the end and it’s always soooo good), bacon and a quesadilla with Nutella!  I even broke out with Honey Stinger gels with 4 miles to go as I knew I was close.

I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH THIS HELPED THROUGHOUT THE DAY!  I never bonked or felt sick!  I felt good all day and stuck to my plan!

I can’t thank Brooke enough!  I’m very grateful I made the investment as I’ve learned a lot more about fueling my body and it helped me have a great race!  I highly recommend her! 

50 Miles of Gratitude: 50 Posts about my first 50 Miler

 

 

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

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