Summer is here! I love this time of year! The very beginning of summer is the best. Three months ahead of vacation, sun and fun. My summer running training is always a blast also. I love the feeling of getting up early to avoid the heat and finishing my runs with the sun beating on my back.
This summer my training kicks of with preparation for the Olympic trials 10k, which will be held in Eugene, Oregon. My legs have been feeling great and my workouts have been a breeze so I can’t wait! The race will be on the track, so that means 25 laps! As I have gotten older, this race scares me less and less because of the strength that I have built over the years, especially now that I have done a marathon. When I was in college though, I will never forget toeing the line for my first 10k on the track. I was so scared! When the gun goes off however and the race starts at a steady pace (rather than a sprint), I quickly learned that I need to just find the right my pace rhythm and the laps just fly by.
Fueling for this race and for my training is the most important part of being a runner. I obviously want to keep my bones strong and healthy in order to prevent injuries, but more importantly a lifetime of health. I measure my nutritional success by keeping track of my menstrual cycle. While us girls don’t usually like talking about our menstrual cycle, it is very important as athletes. If we lose our period, we lose estrogen and estrogen is what helps us absorb our calcium keeping our bones strong. It may not seem like a big deal if we lose our period on the outside, but inside we can be compromising our bone health.
But don’t worry! It is easy to keep our cycles and train! It just requires fueling! That’s right, eating! Most importantly: getting nutrition in the first half hour after workouts, but also all throughout the day. Not avoiding any food groups is essential, especially fats! There are plenty of healthy fats out there that can keep us athletes fueled and can really contribute to a regular cycle. Avocados, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil and salmon are a few great ways to get those fats in.
As the weeks are winding down as I prepare for this Olympic trials race, my nutrition is the MOST important part of my training. This requires spending a little extra here and there and lots of trips to the super market, but my body has been thanking me for it. I have been running faster than ever, have a menstrual cycle and I am always ready for more! Now when I kick off into the rest of this summer, I will remember in my training to not only enjoy the sun, but also enjoy all of the food my body needs in order to fuel my sport and more importantly my health!
Nutrition tip of the Day: I have mentioned this in the past, but due to the heat increase, I think I will mention it again, make smoothies! Smoothies are such a great way to get healthy calories down in a delicious and refreshing way. I use frozen bananas, frozen berries, almond butter, milk, yogurt, protein powder and even spinach when I make mine. You can get super creative with smoothies and they are the perfect snack after a tough workout in the sun!