Increasing your Mileage; NOT your Waistline

Back in 2010 I was a newlywed and looking for something fun to do.  I always wanted to run an endurance race and found the organization Team in Training.  I signed up to do a half marathon and just like that I was hooked.

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Baby Jessica @ the Long Branch Half May 2010, it was hot (like 90F) but great!

Fast forward 7 years & two kids I wanted to find a way to keep coaching and give more back to the community so I turned to TNT yet again, but this time as a coach with 3 more half marathons under my belt!

me-coach

Since I am a new coach, my county doesn’t have many participants yet.  We had our first training run this past weekend on the trails in the snow and we had such great conversations I was reminded how much I love this organization and how much it gives back.  During our chat, so many running related questions came up I wanted to remember them so I could dedicate some time to answer them properly.  Not just for my team but for everyone!

The first thing we spoke about was how to  maintain a weight loss (or lose weight) when training for an endurance event.

I can’t tell you how many people think that once they start training for a run they will “lose so much weight.”  Here are a few common mistakes people make and end up with a gain at the starting line:

Overestimating the amount of calories burned during a workout and underestimating the calorie count of food

This in turn leads to a lot of “well I just ran 10 miles today, I can finish my kids plates and eat a few brownies too…”  The average mile run burns 100 calories.    When you begin training, and start by running 3-4 miles.  You are burning 300-400 calories.  The other day I looked at the bag of Cheetos I let my daughter have as a treat (no judgement please!  It’s an occasional treat) and I nearly fell over when I saw the bag was a whopping 300 calories and 20 grams of fat.    My go to mid-morning snack is Oatmeal with 1 tbsp almond butter and half a banana.  It has the same calories, more protein, less sodium and keeps me fuller longer!

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Sodium Sugar
Cheetos 310 26 3 21 500 2
Oatmeal, Almond Butter, & banana 308 44 12 10 1 9

cheetos

Starving Yourself

This is a tricky one.  We need a calorie deficit to lose weight, but we need food to fuel our bodies (and our brains!)  According to Runners World, Kyra Williams, a weight loss coach certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine says this is a faux pas almost all of her female clients are guilty of. If you are working out and burning 2,500 calories a day—but only consuming 1,200—you’ll force your body to store fat,” she says. Not only that, the calorie shortage will slow down your metabolism, making it tougher to build muscle.   Your new weight loss mantra: Don’t be afraid to eat! Fill your plate with plenty of healthy carbohydrates (think fruit, starchy veggies, and whole grains), lean proteins (fish, turkey, chicken, and tofu), healthy fats (avocado, oils, nuts, and seeds), and an unlimited amount of greens and other non-starchy veggies. Bonus: Eating 1,800 to 2,000 calories of these healthy eats will keep you so full and satisfied you’ll be less likely to binge on junky foods, says Williams.

Rewarding with Food

This kind of goes back to point # 1.   I have been trying to tell all my clients (and family members) this for a while.   When you work out every day, or in the case of my toddlers eat all their veggies try a reward that isn’t food!   Reward yourself with some new running gear, or get your nails done.  For my kids I try to reward them with a trip to the movies or a game night.  Make it fun and enjoyable.  For example, if they eat (or at least try) all of their veggies for an entire week then on Sat. we can go to the movies/get a toy/go to the jungle gym etc.

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Dehydration

This one hits so close to home.  I never liked (and still don’t) like drinking water.  So many people mistake hunger for thirst.  In my case after a long run I would start eating, then get a headache, and just eat and eat and eat and then pop some Tylenol.   That whole time I felt STARVING I was actually dehydrated!   Once I figured that out, I started trying to drink a ton of water, but I was still getting headaches!   Now, as I said I dislike drinking water, and I found that even water didn’t do the trick for me.  Here comes Coconut water.  My sister in law recommended I drink it.  I sweat A LOT during tough workouts and with sweat you are eliminating all the salts (think sodium and potassium) from your body.  I was not only deprived of water, but I was deprived of electrolytes that kept my cells functioning properly.  Sodium and Potassium are essential to the functioning of our bodies.   Sodium maintains fluid balance in your cells, helps to transmit nerve impulses throughout your body, and helps muscles contract and relax.  Potassium keeps the blood from clotting, maintains the body’s pH balance, carries nutrients to the cells, protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids, maintains healthy blood pressure, promotes heart health and preserves bone health.  WOW!   Athletes should be especially concerned with their potassium intake; potassium plays a role in the storage of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles.  Once I started drinking coconut water I miraculously was not starving and the headaches went away!  It has 4x the potassium of banana, so having a serving of coconut water, with regular water and the adequate recovery snack made all the difference.   I also like the NUUN tablets added to my water.  This leads me to my next point, not recovering properly…

Image result for coconut water potassium

Not Recovering Properly

When you don’t replace what you sweat out, you will feel hungry for hours afterwards. To avoid this, make sure to drink as soon as your run is over and more throughout the day as well as eat a well-balanced recovery meal or snack.  For optimal recovery, eat 15 to 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes after a workout. The protein will help stop muscle breakdown and begin to repair them.  Add some carbohydrates—about 2 to 4 times as much carb as protein—to this small meal or snack in order to restock your glycogen stores and prime your muscles for performance.

This is a good start for post-workout meals.   I have been reading the cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow by elite runner Shalane Flanagan and her college bud Elyse Kopecky and I LOVE the descriptions on all the foods, like antioxidant, recovery food, etc.    I’ll see if I can pull any good recipes from there too.

What are some of your favorite recovery foods?

Any fun races you are training for?

Do you have any sports drinks you can’t live without?

If you want to learn more about Team in Training, please send me a message and I can connect you with your local chapter.

Run as if someone's life depends on it.  Team in Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.:

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