Super Secret, Amazing, Scientific Answer To Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain: RUN

Every year around this time I admit to getting up a little on my runner’s high horse and thinking, “Gosh dang, you people, shut up about all those ‘Avoid Holiday Weight Gain’ articles the answer is simple: RUN!”
no fat in running
I’m not shy and fully own up to being a neurotic runner who does run every day, the holidays are no exception. And you want to know a little secret? One of the BEST perks of being a runner = eating like a runner = looking like a runner and not a sumo wrestler.

There is a little thing called balance, moderation, and then license to grub hard. That last one also applies to special circumstances (ie: holidays) where you eat foods and amounts (ie: foods in trough-sized plates) you wouldn’t normally…but that also circles back to the law of averages and your nutrition for the entire year.

runner eating pizza

Eating steak pizza isn’t going to be enough iron, in addition to diet you should be supplementing.


So, Runners, I believe if we are then the kinds of runners who brave the weather, who don’t miss a day just because the gyms are closed (uhh, it’s called outside…hehe) or what the calendar says, let us all sit atop our little high horses and cringe at all those stupid article. Because the truth is we’ve solved the holiday weight gain conundrum…

Run. :P
—-
My article on dining out for runners also touches on the topic of nutrition, balance, and license to indulge: How Runners Can Stuff Their Faces at Restaurants and Still Perform at Their Best
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1) Do you do the eye-roll and head-laugh every time you read one of those ‘avoid holiday weight gain’ type articles or stories? Do you also realize that it’s usually rehashing the same obvious tips over and over again? :P

2) Do you adjust your running or dietary habits around the holidays? How do you keep balance?

3) What is your favorite type of holiday indulgence?

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Straight Talking Iron For Runners: IV treatments, pills, doses, and runner norms

If you’re reading this and wiping steak blood juice from your lips because you’re a runner and know how important it is to get that iron into your blood, then this post is JUST perfect for you! ;) Actually, my latest article up on Competitor.com is ‘Iron Level Upkeep for Runners’.

runner eating pizza

Eating steak pizza isn’t going to be enough iron, in addition to diet you should be supplementing.


I wanted to share a little more about anemia and iron levels for runners because it’s something that I’ve had to deal with myself and know just how sh*tty it feels to be running when your iron levels are sub-par. And since I’m not a certified smarty-pants and rather get my knowledge from good old fashioned experience and being able to leech all the information I can from the certified smarty-pants I’ve been lucky enough to work with and train under, here is where I can be a little more free with the advice if you know what I mean.

Let me cut to the chase and bottom line this for you off the bat: If you’re a runner you need to be taking iron supplementation in ADDITION to anything you eat. To be frank, every single world-class, competitive, and ‘runner’ runner that I know, be them man or woman, take iron pills, liquid iron, or get iron injections.

If you’re training as much as runners do, there is just no ‘realistic’ way to get the amount of iron necessary through diet alone. Some people have this thing where they don’t like pills or ‘fake’ things, I respect your beliefs, but at the same time you’re only doing yourself a disservice.

In the article I stress how if you don’t have a doctor experienced in working with competitive runners, they could be telling you that your iron levels are in the ‘normal’ range when, in fact, they are anemic compared to runner standards. The ‘average joe’ levels are not going to cut it, and if you get your blood tested and your ferritin is hovering around 20 ng/ml there is then a reason why you’re feeling like crap on your runs.

When I got my levels tested way back when, I was at a 9 and at that point was rejoiced to finally be able to have an answer as to why my running was feeling so dang hard. Weird right, that I was happy to be anemic, but the good news about low iron is that it’s one of the ‘easier’ things to fix once diagnosed.
blurry runner
Again, the article explains a lot about that, but what I’d like to share here is a little about my iron infusions and then some tips that since I’m not a doctor can’t just toss into other articles I write:

Iron Infusions:

*Process: Sounds scary, and to a needle-phobe it wasn’t a trip to the Pop-Tarts store, but honestly, they weren’t that bad. I went in for three sessions on three successive days, each visit lasted for 3-4 hours hooked up to the IV bag and outside of the prick it didn’t hurt. It felt a little cool where the iron was going in, but that’s all.
*Nausea: What I WILL warn you about is that iron can make you feel a little nauseous and with a headache if you take a lot at once. A few hours after my first IV treatment I felt pretty sick; I went to bed and was fine the next day. The other two days of treatment I felt fine afterwards though. Everyone is different, some people may not even feel bad the first day, but I think because my levels were quite low to begin with and I hadn’t been taking any iron pills, it was a bit of a shock to my system.
*Blood Levels: I went from single digits and up into the 20′s pretty much within days. It was awesome, and as I took pills after that, my levels kept rising rather quickly.

Iron Pills:

*Commonality: The vast majority of runners I know go the pill route, they are super easy. All you really need to be aware of is you need to take them with food (or you’ll probably feel sick) and take them with Vitamin C to help aid absorbtion. Try to not take them with calcium because that will block absorption a bit.
*Doses: I’d suggest aiming for around 60-70 mg per dose if you’re maintaining and just running a moderate amount. If you’re in high training and competing I’d say you should at least double that; when I was doing hard training I’d safely be having four 65 mg pills a day spread into two doses. People worry about iron overdosing, but unless you’re a kid or weigh 70 pounds you’re not going to die, probably just feel sick. That said it is IMPORTANT to note that I didn’t just go pound four pills off the bat, you need to gradually increase your iron intake, start with one pill a day for a week, add a second pill the next week but spread it out at least 6 hours and go from there. And you could stick to that amount, get your blood tested regularly and adjust your iron intake accordingly.

running in storm

Running with anemia feels like you’re trying to run through tornado, those splits are off but they feel four times the effort.


Iron Blood Levels:
*Runner Norm:
Because of iron toxicity phobia people tend to be a little shy of sharing just how high they’d like their levels to be. I’d say that runners should aim to be at least around 70 ng/ml, and to be totally honest I’d say even try to stick around 100 if you can. Some people just can’t get that high, but going with the better safe than sorry logic, shoot for that.

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them as a comment and I could do another post if there is enough interest. Low iron, known as anemia, is quite common in both men and women and it is incredibly crushing and frustrating to deal with as runners. Or, more correctly, it is brutal to deal with before you find out that is what you’re dealing with. From there, getting supplementation and into an iron maintenance routine is an easy way to get your running back on track!

1) Have you ever dealt with anemia? What was your experience like?

2) Do you take any kind of iron supplementation?

3) What ways do you then try to still get iron into your diet?

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Steph’s Miles Recipe: Healthy Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Today this runnerchick has a special treat for you! I’m so excited to share with you this blog’s very first guest blogger, Stephanie from Steph’s Miles! Check out this girl’s awesome blog; I instantly loved her because she’s not only miles obsessed like me but a bona-fide Disney freak too! Even better she’s got me completely beat in the cooking department…for once this blog will actually give you a recipe you’ll WANT to devour after you get your run on. So without further adieu…here’s Steph!

Steph’s Miles Recipe: Healthy Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Hi there! My name is Stephanie and I blog over at Steph’s Miles. Thanks to Cait for sharing her blog. I just started my blog recently out of my interest in the fitness world and in other bloggers out there sharing their stories. I thought it was time to share mine too!

Now I’m not meeting any professional standards like Cait. I run for fun, for the endorphins and to create physical goals for myself. I ran two half marathons this year – the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February and the Rock n Roll Latin Music Miami Beach Half this past Sunday! My feet are still yelling at me as I type this.

 

But I’m not over here to talk about running. I’m here to share an amazing recipe with you guys! This meal gets rave reviews from friends and family members alike and is a constant repeat at my table. It’s also super easy to make, so you can come back from a work out and make them stat. Oh, and did I mention there is a ton of protein in these babies?

Adapted from Once Upon a Cutting Board (via Pinterest)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (1 container) of extra lean ground chicken breast
    (I use Purdue)
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce

(I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce & Marinade)

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1/4 breadcrumbs
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray
  • 4 whole wheat burger buns

 

Optional for toppings:

Extra buffalo marinade
Light ranch dressing
Lettuce

Tomato

Instructions:

  • Open package of ground chicken and place in bowl.
  • Mix buffalo sauce, Parmesan and breadcrumbs and other seasonings into the ground chicken in the bowl. Mix with your hands or a fork to ensure all ingredients are distributed evenly. Mix in cheese last into the patties with the cheese evenly spread among the patties.
  • Form four evenly sized patties and place on a plate.
  • Heat olive oil in skillet on stovetop or spray with cooking spray.
  • Place all patties on skillet and let sizzle and cook six to seven minutes on one side.
  • Flip patties and cook remaining side for five minutes.
  • Once the burgers are fully cooked, place on buns to serve and top with desired condiments.

 

I like to mix all the ingredients with my hands, just to make sure everything is distributed evenly. The ground chicken is so cold when it comes right out of the fridge! I make sure to wash my hands thoroughly each time I’m touching the raw chicken.

 

Make sure to be patient when your burgers cook. I am a very impatient person and if I flip the burgers too early they have a potential to break apart a little bit or may be cooked unevenly. You may also cook on the grill too if you are a pro griller.

chicken burgers

I can’t describe how good the burgers taste and I’m not even a fan of buffalo wings or the sauce itself! The sauce makes the chicken so moist and flavorful. They also have a little kick, too! I leave dinner full and satisfied each time I eat them. The amount of protein it provides is perfect after a long run on the weekend. Serve them with fries, coleslaw or a roasted vegetable on the side.

chicken burger

Thank you again Cait for hosting me on your blog!

What’s your favorite go-to meal to make in the kitchen?

—–
Thank you so very much for hopping by my blog, Steph. And I appreciate you also letting me hog up some space over at your own blog today. ;)

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How Runners Can Stuff Their Face At Restaurants But Still Perform At Their Best

We run so we can eat, right? ;) Okay, okay, I do toss that around here quite frequently because, yes, being a runner entitles us to be a little more gluttonous than our slothy counterparts. BUT at the same time it would be a lie if I said that I only eat crap. And despite all of food gorging stories you share with a rightful amount of pride, wolfing down a whole pizza and ice cream by the pints is pretty cool when ‘earned’, I’m pretty sure 90% of you do too.
runner eating pizza
It’s a balance thing but it’s also that as runners I feel we fall into the healthier living category, no? In my most recent Competitor.com article: ‘The Runner’s Guide to Eating Out’ I’ve got the line, “Competitive athletes are wise enough to acknowledge that what goes into their mouths has a direct correlation to what their legs can put out.”

Despite those hamburgers larger than our heads and boxes of Pop-Tarts the majority of our diets are made up of ‘better’ choices or at least making sure we DO get in the necessary nutrients to fuel our body right. To fuel us for performance. We are running ‘machines’ not just pretty, cool bodies to look at. Yea, runner bodies are way cooler to look at too, but that’s beside the point. ;)
runner eating donuts
I’ve talked about my little filling the foundation of your house with the ‘good’ stuff and do what you will with the attic before and that applies here. In tying in with the dining out at restaurants article I wanted to share a little more on what Krista Austin, Ph.D had to say.

* Athletes Aim for Intuitive Eating: Austin stresses that the aim is to listen to your body when gauging how much is enough, “Athletes should always remember to gauge their hunger to help control the volume of food that they eat-if you’re hungry eat and as you get full-stop!” In being a runner part of our JOB is being better attuned to reading the signals from our body, right, we do that all the time in training. For many, listening to those hunger/full cues from your brain is tricky because growing up and our environments/society has skewed our perceptions of hunger, satiety, appetite, cravings, boredom eating, and all of that jazz.

* Runner Entitlement: Here’s what I was talking about in filling that attic and being ‘entitled’ to eating more freely than most. “My policy is that at least once a week every athlete should have a “fun meal” where they don’t think too much about what they are eating and just enjoy fun food-the key is to watch the portion sizes,” says Austin. Win goes to the runners here, bring on the food trough. ;) Juuuust kidding.

* Calories CAN Get Sneaky: Okay, here is where I will admit to being downright floored at some of the nutritional stats of restaurants. Krista and I both agree on that one, are they injecting straight lard into some of those dishes to get stats that high?! Sure, now and then eating totally blasé on stats is fine, but if you do make it a habit of going out to eat you might want to school up on the nutritional stats of some of those restaurants. You don’t need to obsess, but just have a little awareness.
runner legs
* Gluten Intolerant Folks: “Gluten intolerance athletes can go to restaurants like PF Changs or Red Robin that highlight their GF options but if you don’t know whether the food is GF or not, first start by asking if the restaurant knows and then if you must really eat without knowledge just try to ask for food items that we know are GF such as fajitas with corn tortillas or salads with meat on top etc.,” explains Austin. Amy Yoder Begley is a big fan of PF Chang’s especially when traveling for races; she also warns that if you don’t know of something is GF you REALLY need to be careful of cross-contamination in the kitchen. [I did a whole post on more GF living advice.]

* Race Travel: Revisit the article I wrote because it addresses this more in detail, but basically DO NOT try something new the day before or the day of a race, People. We know better…nothing worse than a burrito induced port-a-potty disaster mid-race, no??

* What Can Your Plate Do For YOU and you the RUNNER?: It’s the yin and yang of being a PERSON but also a RUNNER. You want both parts to feel fulfilled and satisfied, “Ask yourself when choosing menu items, 1)what will the food do for me? Is it going to refill my glycogen stores, help me recover from training, help me obtain the body composition I desire? and then 2) does it contain foods that will make me fill satisfied so I don’t then go for other foods later when I’m not even hungry just because I didn’t like what I ate,” explains Austin.

Runners and nutrition is an interesting topic to put it bluntly. It shouldn’t be as ridiculous as it is sometimes, but such is the nature of the beast. Keep things from erring on the side of driving yourself insane; the best runners I know are adept at finding the balance of person and runner.

Enjoy the entitlement that being a calorie-furnace runner but still be mindful of the times when you’re eating to perform. :)

1) Do you go out to eat very often? If so, what are some of your favorite spots?

2) When you do go out to eat, what kinds of things do you seek out? How do you balance the person and the runner?

3) What is your stance on having nutritional information available on more and more restaurant menus either online or on site?
I think having them available online or if you ask for them at the place is good; I don’t think necessarily on the full menu only because at the same time if you don’t want to feel guilty on something you shouldn’t feel forced into that guilt. Lol.

4) If you’re gluten intolerant, what are some of your favorite restaurants?

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Downing Donuts and Crunching Carrots: Runners balancing their nutrition

In case you needed an excuse to hit up Krispy Kreme, today is National Buy a Donut Day; please runners, by all means indulge, let’s just make sure it’s of the 100% whole wheat vareity. ;)
runner eating donuts
Let’s talk runner eats. I’m the first person to shout from the rooftops, “I run so I can eat like a Sumo-(wo)man and not look like one!” As runners we do carry license to do some damage when it comes to the grinding; but, at the same time we recognize that we are fueling those miles. If we want quality miles, then we should do our body the justice of giving it QUALITY fuel, right?

It all comes back to balance and moderation, isn’t it the truth with everything? Enter easy days and hard workout days. So while we can wolf down a pizza the size of our head, polish off the Entemenn’s coffee cake, that’s not ALL we eat, and we most of us don’t do that every day. Though no judgement if you do, trust me I’ve got runner friends who eat cleaner than a pro-body builder competing for a show and then I’ve got friends who eat their weight in Big Macs.

I’ve done a couple article on various nutrition topics for runners:
Going Gluten Free
Setting a Pre-Race Eating Plan
When to Eat High and Low on the Glycemic Index
Running and GI Issues
Post-Run 30 Minute Refuel Window

That last one is probably the one I’d force down all of your throats…it’s SUPER important for your muscle recovery to get that food into you system and start the refuel RIGHT after you run.
runner eating pizza
Today let’s talk about balance here. Food should be enjoyed, it should be loved, you can spoon with your Pop-Tarts at night if you need to. BUT I like this quote from one of my favorite sports nutritionists, Krista Austin, Ph.D., “Eating for performance.” Used in context she was referencing how Dathan Ritzenhein’s go-to pre-race meal is plain, white rice. It’s bland, but he knows it sits well in his stomach and because it is a non-complex carb it gets broken down quickly and is energy readily on tap for when he goes out to race.

Is it his favorite, most taste-bud tantalizing meal? Probably not, but he’s eating for PERFORMANCE. There are times and places when taste isn’t the prime objective; it CAN be the second you cross the finish line and take yourself out to a celebratory dinner, right?

The point is this, every runner is different and how much ‘junk’ they can get away with really varies. Krista Austin notes, “We can hope that going back to the old adage of ‘what you put in the fuel tank of the car is what you put out’, comes into play and if we put a higher quality of food in the body we should be supporting training better and enhancing the ability to create training adaptations…[but], I know many an Olympic athlete etc, in the sport of running that eat horribly and still get the job done (although yet to medal so maybe this is why?)-in fact they are the guys on top!”
fresh carrot
As a personal observation I would say that the people on top are the ones who know WHEN to indulge and when to ratchet down and be a little more strict in what goes in. The periods when they are in really heavy training they make sure to get in the QUALITY foods first (fruits, veggies, whole grains, adequate protein) but then if they need to make up for all their expenditure they will dig into the higher calorie ‘fun’ foods because, let’s be honest, if you run 20+ miles you freaking earned the right to! Conversely, when they are tapering and getting close to race day, they make a conscious effort to make sure they aren’t eating like they are running 3-times more miles per week.

The ‘junk’ food, and that’s not the best term but the foods that we logically know aren’t the ‘best’ options, are hard-earned and one of (I think) the perks of being a distance runner. The thing is though, those foods are not to be eating INSTEAD of the good stuff. Think of a house, set the foundation as the QUALITY eats and then if you’ve got room for an attic, by all means fill it with pizza, Pop-Tarts, and yes, donuts. ;)

1) What are some of the ways you ensure you get in enough QUALITY into your runner diet?

2) What are some of the foods that you fill your ‘attic’ with? Do you probably fill more than just the attic, maybe the second story too?? ;)

3) In ‘eating for performance’, what are some pre-race day foods that work for you?
I’ve done oatmeal, Powerbars, but will admit to some Pop-Tarts too. :P

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Runners Drinking by the Gallon: Beating the hydration issue into your brain and Nuun’ing your water

I’m a runner who sweats like an elephant and drinks by the gallon. It may mean waking up in the middle of the night a half dozen times but at least I know I’m hydrated. The big H.
melt on track
I’m still floored every time I hear runners talk about how they ‘hate water’ or the only liquids they consume is in the form of coffee. Soda doesn’t count either, and that could actually be making matters worse and dehydrating you.

Luckily thanks to savvy marketing and all that is the internet runners are getting all things water, hydration and liquids almost poured down their throats for them. Knowledge is key people and you’ve now got no excuse not to know:

* If you’re actually feeling thirsty you’re already in a mild state of dehydration
* Hydration works on consistency:
Just like with your running and training, you can’t just never think of about your fluid and electrolyte levels until the morning of a race and pound the liquids. You have to be drinking consistently on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
* Heat exacerbates things but… even in the dead of winter and running in a snow storm you still sweat and lose both water and electrolytes
* It’s more than water: Elecrtrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, are lost through sweat and you need to ensure to replenish these stores. These micro-nutritents AREN’T found in the water from your tap so you need to drink liquids that contain these.

I’ve done some previous posts on all things liquids HERE and HERE. Revisit those my friends but because this is crucial information I’m going to beat it into your heads. I’m also bringing it up because one fluid of choice that offers runners the chance to electrolyte enhance their water is Nuun. They contacted me after revamping some of their products and wanted me to give it a test. You can read my first review of them HERE. Let’s see what’s new, shall we?
Nuun Blueberry PomegranateSource
Nuun All Day Hydration

Premise: Nuun comes in little tablets that you add to water, then watch it fizz and work it’s magic. Give it a shake or stir and your water is both flavored and infused with electrolytes.

Taste: There are a variety of flavors, I’d say my favorite was the Blueberry Pomegranate. Now, I’m also one of those people who has no problem drinking straight water, sort of a plain jane in the taste bud department. The Nuun tabs are a nice flavor perk but not overly sweet.

Cost/Damages: There are 15 tabs per little vial and 4 vials to a pack. When you order online a four-pack comes out to just under $30 without shipping.

What’s New: So Nuun All Day Hydration is widening it’s target audience to include whole families and the little kiddies. Hydration is IMPERATIVE for athletes but it’s still important for everyone, so let’s help cut out the crazy sugar waters and remind kids of their smart drinking habits. Dentists be warned. ;)

What it’s not for: Now, Nuun tabs are a great way to perk up your water and make sure you’re drinking those electrolytes throughout the day. But they don’t contain many calories (under 8 per tab) or energy for your muscles. So if you’re actually out running a marathon and working on an energy fueling plan these aren’t going to do it. Also, if you’re just finishing a run and in that crucial 30 minute restorative refuel window, you can drink these for the electrolytes but you would still need something of substanance, giving you protein and carbs.

Bottom Line: This runnerchick is a fan overall. That said, I’m off to the bathroom…

1) Where do you stack up on the hydration issue, are you really good about keeping your fluid and electrolyte levels stocked up and balanced?

2) What’s your top drinks of choice? For running and performance which do you go for to drink throughout the day, and do you have a different option for viable energy while you train?

3) Have you tried Nuun at all?

4) Are you one of those people who can’t stand drinking much straight water or find you need a taste perk as an incentive?

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Runners Going Gluten Free: Could making the switch work for you?

Running on a gluten free diet may seem like more work than structuring your training regime. Though there are no shortage of runners ditching the gluten and raving that they are far better for it. Admittedly some were ‘forced’ into because they have an intolerance, celiac disease, but there are others that willingly did a diet overhaul.

running pancakes

Are those pancakes gluten-free?? ;)


I’m not going to lie, I’ve got friends who are gluten free (But being that ‘going gluten’ is basically trending on Twitter who doesn’t have friends who are eating this way?!) and I don’t envy the way they have to interrogate the kitchen staff and be extremely cautious when reading food labels. I honestly have no worries when it comes to the restaurant thing, it’s not that I mind it at all, I totally understand how important their questions are. To be frank, I think it just comes down to me being too ‘lazy’ to put in the work to get gluten-free savvy.

But I’m curious, just as many others, and had heard the benefits of going gluten-free for possibly reducing the amount of inflammation in your body and solving various GI problems. In case you missed it I wrote an article all about this over at Competitor: ‘Gluten Free = Inflammation Free?’. I also included a three day gluten-free sample menu.

The truth is, it’s not THAT incredibly complex, trust me 400 meter repeats are a far tougher pill to swallow. I’d say the hardest part would be the initial learning curve and getting used to what you ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ eat, remembering to double check labels and mostly getting used to how to travel and eat out without gluten sneaking in there.
running fast
I tapped into some AWESOME sources for this one, Krista Austin Ph.D and Amy Yoder Begley who has become sort of the poster runnerchick for going gluten-free. After you read the article, I’ll add a few more thoughts and tips that didn’t make it but I found interesting and worth mentioning.

* Amy’s Top Restaurant Picks: “For really important races, I try to go to places with a GF menu like PF Changes, Outback, etc. However, you need to make sure they have gluten-free prep not just gluten-free food. Things can’t be fried in the same oil as breaded items or grilled in the surface as bread. Cross-contamination is a word to know and ask questions till you feel comfortable, even if it takes 45 minutes,” Amy Yoder Begley explains that cross-contamination is probably the biggest hurdle when dining out.

* Kitchen Overhaul: The same issue applies to your own home kitchen and cooking habits, “To begin with GF eating you need to get rid of the old toaster, really clean down the grill or get new grill plates, and buy new cutting boards. I would also clean out the cupboards, wipe down all surfaces and read all ingredient labels until you know for sure what is in each item,” Yoder Begley explains. I actually roomed with Amy for a while and while her husband does not eat gluten free they are extremely well practiced in making sure none of his gluten products even come near Amy’s plate or food.

* Inflammation and Gluten: Austin explains that while gluten may cause extra inflammation, the biggest reason an athlete’s inflammation may go down as a result of a gluten-free diet is because you’ll be cutting out most of the overly-processed junk, “Usually if you do a gluten-free nutrition plan right, you end up replacing these [processed foods]…as a result, it automatically reduces the high percentage of unneeded trans fatty acids (most hydrogenated) and bleached, nutrient-less flour is removed from the diet. The extra chemically produced fats (think hydrogenated) are what fuel inflammation in the body, so if we eliminate them we will reduce inflammation. Bottom line: we eat cleaner more naturally found foods and thus inflammation goes down.”

* No Diet is a Magic Bullet: That said, I’ve talked a lot about how jumping into a certain style of eating, or overly-cleaning it up isn’t always the ‘best’ thing for your running or your sanity, and it really comes down to WHY you’re switching to a new style of eating. There is something to be said for both moderation and the old adage, ‘if the engine is hot, it’ll burn.’ Austin is frank about this, “However, as a side note, I know many an Olympic athletes, etc in the sport of running that eat horribly and still get the job done, (Although yet to medal so maybe this is why?) …in fact they are the guys on top! Eeeeek…so at the end of the day, the message is this: it’s how you train that matters most…however, if your fuel intake is too low or not adequate in some way, just know training is suffering and we are not optimizing performance.”

I think I’ll end or reiterating that fact: “It’s HOW you train that matters most.”
——–
Check out Amy’s excellent resource for eating gluten-free at her site, Gluten Free Olympian: GFOlympian.com

Check out more from Krista Austin at her own site: PerformanceAndNutritionCoaching.com
——–

1) Do you eat gluten free? Have you tried a gluten free diet for any sum of time and what was your experience?

2) What have you heard about eating gluten free? Benefits, drawbacks, etc.

3) What’s your stance on your running diet, how do you approach the fueling issue?
I make sure to get in enough calories, so that means eating things I want and aren’t exactly the ‘healthiest’…but at the same time I think of the ‘junk’ as ‘bonus’ after I’ve made sure to get in the good stuff and enough proteins and such. :P

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5 Running Flash Factoids: Keeping it short and to the point for us lazy runners

Runners and Sundays; for some it’s the delegated long run day which then means: license to be totally lazy and slothful for the rest of the day. You don’t even have to move hand to mouth if you don’t want to, just train Fluffy to grab the spoon, Ben & Jerry’s and learn to shovel. ;)

runners

Eat the ice cream before it melts!!! :)


Just kidding, but to be fair to B&J cold ice cream isn’t the worst kind of post-run refuel, I mean there’s the whole chocolate milk movement…ice cream seems like a logical piggy-backer onto that, right? Regardless, Sundays are also known to be a little lazy and lackadaisical so in tribute I’ll spare your eyes much reading and give you some flashes of brain nugget wisdomisms.

* Running’s mental but not THAT mental. Running usually comes down to a battle of wills, but sadly you can’t totally imagine your workouts into fulfillment…there is visualization to improve what could be but you have to follow up with DOING it. Motivation wanes but when in doubt, kick yourself in the tush to get the first mile done…the first interval done…and get ‘er done.

* Lean, mean, protein machine. I’m a carbo-loving freak like none other; running burns lots of energy so for a long time I didn’t actually think about my carb to protein ratio and dived into Pop-Tart gluttony. BUT that changed after I graduated high school and once I made a conscious effort to up my protein (I still didn’t slack on the carbs though!) I noticed a big difference in the amount of lean muscle I had.
run for cake
* It’s a gas. Runner’s are always fun to chat up GI issues with…not in the moment though. Gas, the runs, bush dives, 6 pre-race port-a-potty stops, you name it. Don’t be shy about speaking up because we all struggle with it and if you don’t talk about it you may miss out on a possible remedy to your…runs. ;)

* My feet are SUPER! Actually, I’m a huge pronator, like the majority of people, and while I rock out supportive shoes I also have arch support inserts. I use green SuperFeet and they help. But shoes are incredibly personal to the runner so BE SURE to know your foot type before just diving into the discount shoe bin…mkkk!

* Always laugh. You can be a grouch on the inside after a bad run, horrible race, nasty workout, but pretend that whenever you’re around others, teammates, competitors, an audience…that you’re on the Miss America stage. Put some Vaseline on those teeth and bust out the fake smile. The thing is, negative attitudes are infectious, and if you happened to win a race and start pouting, think about how the person you beat would feel to see that…like they must REALLY suck. When you’re by yourself, or with coaches/close family, feel free to vent and reflect on the race…sure…but in the end learn from it and move forward.

Sorry if that last one got a little too wordy for Sunday! Get back to making Fido spoon shovel feed you! ;)
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Get Chicking shirt update! I’m down to my last handful of shirts so if you want one before I have to make another order act fast you speedy peeps! :)
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1) Do you have a flash factoid to share?

2) Is Sunday your long run day?

3) Do you make sure to get enough protein in your diet? Do you make sure to also get that full quota of carbo-loving goodness too?

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Is It Really That Bad? We’re runners but we’re humans too…are some of those ‘human bad habits’ really doing any harm to our running?

I’m a runner…not a nutritionist, I’m not a super scientific sports physiologist, I admit that the vast majority of what I know is through experience, what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned from others who are experts. I’m not ashamed to admit that, and I think one of the best ways to learn something is to admit your own brainiac limitations and seek out answers from credit-worthy sources.
running in forest
Now we are all runners here, but we’re also human; that human thing can offer up some battles of internal wills when it comes to our training. Being human means we have that brain of ours to wage the mental battle when the going gets tough. It also means that we have lives and other things that we do, indulge in, and want outside of miles, core work and sweating.

Balance is awesome and some of the ‘being human’ things actually help our running; focusing too much on a single thing leaves us much too one dimensional and over-thinking your training is another way to send it down the drain. On the other hand the human part of us can sometimes want things that may not exactly be the best for our training…we are human, we have weaknesses, but how bad are some of those ‘weaknesses’ really? Here are my thoughts on a few things…

* Soda. I don’t drink soda, I used to guzzle tons of diet but I had a really bad experience once where I think I must have downed darn near a gallon in a meal and I was gassy and bloated for so long after I kicked it cold turkey. Now there are tons of people saying soda is the devil, others that don’t care, and some that still think it’s totally fine. As for regular soda, I think it’s not doing any favors to the overweight masses, for runners though I still think it’s probably best to avoid because it dehydrates you and you could be drinking something far better for you. Diet, yea, the calories aren’t there but it’s still not an awesome beverage of choice. But I don’t think it’s the devil either.

* Coffee. If you’re totally frapa-macho-machiado’ed to the point where your drink is more like a sundae I think it’s like a dessert. But I’m pro-caffiene if done right, I’ve seen/know too many exceptional runners who swear by coffee not to be. I think that if you want the benefits it comes down to how much and when you drink it; if you build your caffeine tolerance to such a high level that you need an absurd amount to get any ‘perk’ then that’s not so good…caffeine may give you a little extra kick for your workouts but you don’t want to have to guzzle coffee to get in enough caffeine to get your ‘fix.’ So try to keep the intake moderate the rest of the day (if at all) so that when you do have that cup of coffee an hour or so before your workout you get the little boost.
pop tarts
* Junk food. This is opening up a whole can of worms, and I could argue back and forth for ages so I’ll try to keep it short. We’ve all read the Frank Shorter pizza and mayo combo, on the far other end we’ve got the vegans who only eat what they grow in their backyards. We all know cases of runners winning title on either ends of the spectrum, and elites too. The thing with distance running is that it takes up a lot of energy, and that takes calories; if you need some ‘empty’ junk calories to keep pace with your energy levels than I don’t see the harm in indulging with whatever. I’ve eaten through boxes of Pop-Tarts and know plenty runners who dig through the ice cream by the pints. The thing though is that for most of them they ALSO take in the good stuff (veggies, protein, etc) too…it’s all a balance kind of thing. Then there is the mental and sanity thing. That said, not every runner ‘can’ eat as many calories as others thanks to that little metabolism thing…it can be an unfair card but it’s the truth too and to not say it would be lying by omission.

* Sloth. I actually love this word and try to use it whenever I get a chance, so I did…hey, it’s my blog. Now you may think, “Me, lazy, never!” ;) For some that’s true, but there are some lazy runner habits that are running rampant. The warm-up skimper: HORRIBLE for your body and your performance, I’m not going to spend wordage arguing, do a real warm-up people. The cool-down avoider: HORRIBLE again, a bit less only because at least the race/workout isn’t sacrificed on that day but your next runs will be. Letting pools of lactic acid sit in your muscles is only going to make you feel worse and hinder your recovery process…move it no matter how tired you are. Standing during your recovery before the next interval: JOGGING is better in my opinion and I wrote on that HERE. Some may not share my opinion but the majority of top runners I know keep moving during their recovery.

There you have it…just a few things, and again my opinion. I’d like to hear from you guys, do you agree, disagree?

1) What are your thoughts on any of these?

2) What are some of your ‘bad habits’ that make you human; how ‘bad’ do you really think they are for your running?

3) Favorite not-so-’healthy’ food?

4) Own up, do you ever fall victim to the ‘sloth’ runner temptations?? ;)

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You Can’t Win if You Melt First…

Running in the heat sucks…
melting runners
It’s a Friday so I think we should kick the weekend off laughing. That said, I’m pretty sure I’ve left more than my fair share of melted person on the track in my time.

Today’s going to be short and sweet but I will also give you a refresher course on all things crazy hot and hydration related with some of my previous posts. Summer weather is hitting us full swing and here’s to hoping you don’t wind up a puddle of runner goo! :)

Runners Are Hot: Staying hydrated on the run

All About Liquids: What to drink and when

To Tote or Not to Tote: Carrying water-bottles on the run

The Great Smoothie Debate

1) Are you one of the runners who tend to run better than most in the heat? Do you tend to suffer more than others?

2) Do you live in an area with the dry heat or do you have the humid factor too?

3) How do you handle the heat where you live and your best survival tip?

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