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Do you drink coffee each morning without realizing the impact it could have on your performance? There are certainly pros and cons to caffeine, and the benefits can really boost your training and racing if established in practice. 164d52712849102aa6f81b5ba60aa41d

Pros of Caffeine
1-Increased mental alertness and desire for more effort and stronger performance. You are more awake, alert, and ready to tackle to the run mentally and physically.
2-Enables your body to burn fat more easily while running long distances, which is essential for the marathon. 
3-Can help your body be more efficient while running in heat and humidity by improving temperature regulation within your system.

Cons of Caffeine
1-Coffee can mess up your stomach if you're sensitive, thus, it is recommended to practice and find a source of caffeine intake that works for you. Tea, gels, tablets, chews, gum, drinks, etc. Once you find a product that works, stick with it!
2- It can be challenging to get consistency in a cup of coffee. Light roasts contain more caffeine, dark roasts contain less, and early morning races make it difficult to get coffee
2-3 hours beforehand. Everyone responds differently to caffeine and you may only need one small cup, or you may need more. The recommendation is 3-6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight. Learn what the perfect amount of caffeine is for you.
3-Potential dehydration is something to be aware of when consuming caffeine. This will not happen if you take in fluids with your caffeine. Remember to always drink 16-24oz prior to a run or race, if you do this, you won't risk dehydration.

The Caffeine Taper
Try cutting back caffeine during training to just workout days and long run day. Drink decaf, or a caffeine free tea as an alternative on the recovery and off days (if you still feel like you want and enjoy the routine). This will help you feel more energized to crush your hard training and will prepare you for race week when it is recommended to refrain from caffeine the 4 days leading into your race. Removing caffeine before an event helps create a heightened sensitivity, and when you have caffeine on race day, you will feel great!

The pros outweigh the cons as long as you practice to determine which source of caffeine and how much of it works for you. Once you develop a routine of incorporating caffeine into your training and racing, we look forward to hearing how you feel your performance has increased both with fitness and proper application of the ergogenic aid of caffeine!



Did you know that water does more than just keep you hydrated? Obviously, that is an important role, but water is essential in your body for three other important tasks.keep-calm-and-stay-hydrated-1

   1-Water helps transport nutrients to the working muscles during training

   2-Water eliminates waste products (like lactic acid) during high intensity training

   3-Water works to keep your core temperature cooler by dissipating heat through sweating

The ramifications of not having enough fluid in your system can start with just 2% fluid loss. Headache, lack of concentration, dizziness, fatigue, inability to recover, and overall decreased ability to perform. Nothing that helps your training or allows you to work hard towards your goals. To avoid any of these happening to you this summer, here are a few things to include in your daily routine.

   1-Drink 8-12 ounces of water when you first wake up to kick start hydration

   2-Drink more than just water. Adding in electrolyte beverages will help your cells saturate with fluid and not dilute your body’s natural salt chemistry

   3-Drink consistently throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times

Hold up your water bottle in a toast to quality summer training and good hydration!



Summer Berry Smoothie

Written by Neely Gracey April 06, 2018
Looking for a healthy and delicious post run snack? Try this protein and antioxidant filled smoothie that will be sure to leave you feeling satified.smoothie

Summer Berry Smoothie
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 4 frozen strawberries
Blend all ingredients, enjoy! 

-Makes 1 serving
Includes important recovery ingredients: Protein, Carbs, Antioxidants, Potassium, Calcium, Fiber


The main way to meet your goals is to follow your training plan, but it never hurts to put a little thought into what could help support your active lifestyle! Recovery, Strength Training, Consistency, Hydration, Mid Run/Race Fueling, and Pre-Run /Post-Run Nutrition are all important details that will help you feel stronger and healthier. There will be a series of blog posts on each of these topics, stay tuned!

Pre-Run and Post-Run Nutritionsmoothie

When it comes to good eating habits, the number one thing to remember is moderation. Unless you have an allergy, or know certain foods don’t sit well in your stomach, then nothing is off limits. It’s all about the timing, and learning a good routine that works well for you. There are two key times when nutrition is critical during training; pre-run, and post-run. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Pre-run fueling is critical to dial in, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. If you’re a morning runner, you may not have much time to grab a snack before heading out to get in your training. Try something light, easy to digest, and carb focused for quick fuel. A banana, piece of toast, granola bar, sports chews, electrolyte mix, etc. All followed by water to wash it down and kick start your hydration for the day. Getting in some calories and fluids before a morning run is really important because you haven’t eaten for many hours, and you may have become dehydrated throughout the night. Fueling up beforehand will help ensure the success of your training efforts.

If you’re an afternoon/evening runner, than you have a day of meals to plan before your run. The morning isn’t too specific, but the meal/snack 3 hours prior to your run is very important. You will want to stick to something bland and not too heavy. A giant burrito may not leave you feeling great on your upcoming workout. Instead, try a sandwich, soup and side salad, sushi, etc. Good choices are things that are low in fats, easy to digest, and include no ingredients that irritate your stomach. Having a meal 3 hours before a run allows the body time to process and use the food as fuel. This will also help prevent cramps from eating too close to exercise.

Post-run fueling is all about starting the recovery process. In a run, your muscles are put under stress, and afterwards, they need protein to rebuild. Having carbs with your protein helps expedite this process, and according to the Olympic Training Performance Center, can also help boost your immune system. If you struggle to eat solids after running, you’re not alone! Try yogurt, smoothies, popsicles, or protein enriched milk. Whatever you consume post run, focus on carbs, proteins, antioxidants, essential fats, and fluids. The suggestion is to get in 100-200 calories within an hour of completing your run. You then have enough fuel to kick start recovery, protein synthesis, and rehydration before you get in your next full meal.  Finding a routine that works for you will allow your body to function at it’s best and be ready to nail those workouts as you chase your goals.



lambstuffedpeppersTime for an easy gourmet meal that is quick to prep and clean-up, but packs some great flavors and nutrition.  Enjoy this dish for lunch or dinner as it’s sure to impress your family or guests.  We take African spices of cumin and cinnamon and pair with some tasty ground lamb or buffalo, adding in short grain brown rice for a balanced and satisfying meal.

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

-        1 ¾ cups cooked short grain brown rice

-        4 medium to large bell peppers

-        1 pound ground lamb or buffalo

-        4 cloves minced garlic

-        ½ cup currants (look near raisins)

-        2 teaspoons ground cumin

-        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-        2 ½ cups vegetable juice (eg V8)

-        ¼ cup chopped mint

-        Zest of an orange

-        ¾ teaspoon salt

-        ½ teaspoon pepper

Cooking

-        Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-        Wash and cook brown rice as desired (boiling on stove top or in rice cooker)

-        Cut tops off peppers and de-seed.  Put peppers into over on cookie sheet or other casserole dish for 15-20 minutes

-        Cook beef in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up beef until no longer pink, 4-6 minutes

-        Stir in currants, cumin and cinnamon, cooking for 1 minute

-        Stir in rice and cook for 30 seconds more

-        Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup vegetable juice, mint, orange zest, salt and pepper

-        Spoon beef mixture into peppers, pour remaining vegetable juice into the pepper and serving dish and microwave for 1 minute.

Nutrition

-        Calories: 451

-        Carbs: 48g

-        Protein: 36g

-        Fat: 12g



risottoWe began with a great breakfast to jump start your day, then a tasty chickpea and egg dish for lunch or dinner. Now we have a flavorful vegetarian dish, perfect for lunch or quick dinner when you are on the go.  This is another crock-pot meal, so you can just throw everything in and have it ready when you get home in the afternoon.  It stores well in the fridge or freezer, making for a healthy, sustaining meal that is packed full of great flavors.

Brown Rice Quinoa Fennel Risotto

This dish, prepared with brown rice and pecorino, creates a gluten and cow dairy free recipe, while vegetarian, packs a lasting satisfaction with the addition of quinoa along with fiber.  Just 30 minutes to prep, then slow cook for 4-6 hours.

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms - $1.69
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth
  • 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • cups frozen French-cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Coat a 4-quart crock-pot with cooking spray.  Crush fennel seeds and combine with diced fennel, brown rice, carrot, shallot, garlic, green beans, olives, lemon zest and mushrooms in the pot.  Add broth, 1 cut water, wine, and stir to combine.  Cover and cook until rice is chewy and risotto is thick and creamy.  On high heat 2 ½ hours, or low heat 4 hours.

Before serving or storing, stir in pecorino.  If it too dry, add water to loosen.

Servings: 6

Nutrition: Calories 353; Fat 8g, Carbs 56g, protein 14g



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