Essential Sports Nutrition


Training Camp: Day 1 and 2

First triathlon 2004

IMWI 2010

As athletes, there's no getting around the fact that we love working hard for our goals. Sometimes we don't have a specific goal in mind, but rather a list of possible outcomes but I think we would all agree that we all have dreams of finding personal success in our sport of choice.
One thing that I have learned over the past 7 years is that it takes time to build an athlete. Because we all have different strengths, weaknesses and differing lifestyles, we all have unique ways of achieving our goals.
I have voiced my opinions on nutrition and training, in terms of quality, many times in previous blogs so I find it important to say that the building of an athlete is not simply dependent on being athletically gifted.
I don't believe that success has to do with finishing times, pace or speed but rather how you compare yourself to years past in terms of becoming a smarter, faster and healthier athlete. For if you see yourself progressing as an athlete, you will be more likely to continue the sport for years to come. However, it is important, VERY important, that when you compare yourself to years past, that you recognize that as you become a stronger and more efficient athlete that your training will change and that there isn't a one-size-fit-all approach.

This is my first time ever doing a training camp. Karel has designed an excellent training plan for me and I continually see myself being consistent with workouts. We are finishing week 9 of Kona training and I am having a lot of fun.
There is healthy balance with IM training and the rest of my life and I thank him for not giving me all-day weekend workouts. Although the focus of this IM training plan is centered around quality, that isn't to say that we haven't spent time working on my endurance, speed and power as a long-distance triathlete. Approaching my 5th Ironman, I can't help but think of the work I did preparing for my 1st Ironman. Transforming my body from triathlete to Ironman triathlete was overwhelming but I approached it with an open mind in order to get to my very first IM starting line feeling stronger than ever before. It was an amazing feeling and I have craved that feeling ever since November 2006.
(Winning my age group at my first IM (IMFL) at 24 years old. 11 hours and 47 minutes)

Fast forward to 2011 and I am so super excited for this Ironman. One thing that has lacked in my past 3 Ironmans (Kona, IMKY and IMWI) is mental toughness. I believe that racing an Ironman (or participating) is 90% mental on race day. All the training is in the past and if you give yourself the perfect taper and provide your body with the best sources of food on the days leading up to the race, you should have nothing in your way on race day except your attitude.
Because of my history with hip problems, I welcome this Ironman because I will use my mind just as much as I use my body. My goal for this Ironman is to have my mind be the only limiter on race day. By trusting my training plan (and knowing how to fuel for an Ironman) I can't wait to see what my body is capable of doing, without any physiological limiters in my way. Sure, I recognize that anything outside of my control can occur on race day but I respect the 140.6 mile distance and I have never pushed beyond my limits or push beyond what I have trained my body to do on race day. For no amount of nutrition can make me go any faster on race day if I haven't trained it to do so in training.
I welcome this training camp as an opportunity to build strength and power (after I properly recover next week) but more than anything, to put myself in situations that require focus, mental strength and a positive attitude.

"It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers."

Day 1 Trimarni-Kona training camp:

Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
7:30 AM
81 mile ride (3:53) w/ 6 fast guys (thanks Shawn Burke and VMS crew)
Followed by a 6 mile T-run.
48 min. 8:03 min/mile pace
mile 1: 7:59
mile 2: 8:01
mile 3: 8:03
mile 4: 8:04
mile 5: 8:03
mile 6: 8:00
4 PM: 3500 yrd swim

Day 2:
Location: New Port Richey, Fl (parents house)
7:15 AM - 5 hour ride (92 miles)
1 hour warm-up
Main set: 3 hour "tempo" interval. Increase watts by 5 watts every hour, starting 15 watts below "IM watt effort" all in cross winds or headwinds on Suncoast Bike trial.
1 hour spin/cool-down
(I pay no attention to speed when I bike but keep my power meter on average for speed and power while I am doing intervals. Speed means absolutely nothing to me in terms of how I am performing during my ride since I rely on my power meter to determine my effort. I also monitor my heart rate on my power tap).
3 mile T-run off bike.
Main set: 3 x 1 mile descending w/ 1 minute rest between miles.
23 minutes. 7:43 min/mile average pace
mile 1: 7:53
mile 2: 7:42
mile 3: 7:36

Tomorrow I welcome the hills of San Antonio, Florida (Dade City) followed by a "long" run.


Proactive Planning

"A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there"

For those who know me, there is no getting around that I am a planner. I love setting a goal and working months and months towards that goal. I would think of myself more of a long-term than short term planner because I like to give myself time to put together all the pieces which help to make my dreams come true. I find that if you rush time with your goals, you will often forget pieces to you puzzle (goal) and sometimes, never find them or take a little extra time to locate them.

What may surprise you is that I am not good about logging workouts on Training Peaks and it sometimes takes a day or two to upload my power meter to WKO for Karel and me to analyze. I also don't make grocery lists and I don't religiously use a calendar to keep track of important dates.

But somehow, it all works. Sometimes I wonder if my head is filled with too much information but I enjoy relying on my memory to recal important dates, facts and information. Because every workout builds upon one another, I do not feel the need to keep track of my weekly training hours or miles. When planning ahead, I just think back to the recent past when it comes to creating my training plan. Sometimes I wish I was better at logging my workouts as it would be fun to look back at weeks in the past (just like I do know for all my bike workouts) but I guess training is truely a lifestyle for me and I know what I want to do every day, not necessarily what I have to do.
But don't get me wrong, I love analyzing files from my athletes, looking at results from VO2 tests and looking at diet analysis results to see the strengths and weakness's in my athletes. I suppose as a coach, I would rather dedicate my time to helping my athletes reach their goals while I lead by example in order to find/try new ways to help my athletes succeed in life.

As for my athletes, I want them to live in the moment and trust that every workout builds on one another. I find that athletes who over-analyze every workout will find themselves not truely appreciating and respecting the human body. Physiological adaptations take time and because we are not paid to train, we must find that special balance to be able to seperate training from exercise so that even if a workout is "off" at least we can feel "consistently" off while letting our body enjoy the gift of moving.

I hope you enjoy my latest article from Iron Girl!

Proactive Planning
By Marni Sumbal

Great athletes share similar qualities such as motivation, discipline, accountability and confidence. While these qualities are remarkably prevalent in most professional athletes, these traits often extend beyond sport and are demonstrated in everyday living.

As an Iron Girl athlete, to squeeze in an early morning workout or head to the gym after work, it is likely that you have the motivation and discipline to do the “work” that is needed for your upcoming event. More often than not, your training buddies will hold you accountable to attending swim class or a weekend bike ride, but you are responsible for adequately fueling before, during and after workouts as well as focusing on your daily nutrition in order to stay healthy and injury free. Above all, your confidence allows you to succeed in sport (and in life) because you believe in yourself and that anything is possible when you set a goal.

Although there are prominent qualities that are necessary for both the elite and everyday fitness enthusiast (and everyone in between), it is important that you are a good planner if you want to reach individual goals. Better yet, a GREAT planner.

Many people would suggest that two of the easiest ways of planning ahead are setting an alarm and having your workout clothes with you for an after-work, evening workout. Planning ahead is a beautiful thing, but if you consistently slack on quality sleep or forget to bring a pre-training afternoon snack (as an example), a shortage of energy may turn into a lack of motivation and discipline when it comes to meeting your body composition and/or performance goals.

Instead of telling yourself that you are going to do better tomorrow because you feel as if you failed today, it’s important that you gain a sense of active control. The predictive planner not only recognizes what may or may not be working in reaching short and long term goals, but finds inventive ways to create the desired future.

Three easy tips in becoming a proactive planner:
1) Pre-chopped produce – Do you struggle to eat enough fruits and veggies while at work? What about the weekends when you are tired after a long morning workout (or household chores)? Do you find yourself gravitating towards comforting carbs when you get a craving or don’t feel like cooking? How about spending a little extra money on ready-to-eat fruits and veggies (with no added ingredients) so that you will have no excuse in providing your body with powerful vitamins and minerals?

2) Set a bedtime – To be more energized, productive and emotionally balanced, it’s important to have a regular sleeping routine on most nights of the week. Daily habits such as late evening snacks, exercise too close to bedtime, using stimulating electronics and anxiety/stress are often the root of poor sleeping habits. Often, many athletes find themselves skimping on sleep due to unnecessary, high volume training. It is advised to pass on the 5:30 a.m. “recovery” swim and choose a good night of rest for both the mind and body. Secondly, evaluate your current exercise routine to see if you are doing too much exercising and not allowing ample time to recover, rejuvenate and rebuild. Although you may need to experiment to find an optional sleep schedule, aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep by going to bed around the same time most nights of the week.

3) Create an exercise schedule – Most certified coaches will understand the fundamentals of exercise physiology in order to provide athletes with a balanced exercise routine which ensures gradual physiological training adaptations with the least amount of training stress. However, there’s nothing wrong with being your own coach as you know your lifestyle routine better than anyone. Create your own realistic exercise schedule that allows for around 60 minutes of physical activity every day of the week. Keep your schedule entertaining and realistic based on your current daily requirements. Allow for a 20-30 minute strength-specific workout (followed by flexibility work), two to three times per week, giving yourself at least 32-48 hours between workouts. As for cardio, aim for 3-4 “sport specific” workout routines such as swim, bike and/or run. Mix things up by alternating high intensity anaerobic workouts (+85 percent max heart rate intervals interspersed with recovery intervals) with tempo/aerobic workouts (75-85 percent max heart rate) so that your body doesn’t get bored with the same routine. Additionally, not every workout needs to be the same amount of time. If you have 20 minutes to exercise in the evening, make it the most productive 20 minutes that you can for that given day. When it comes to training, the focus is on balance so be sure to prioritize quality over quantity.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Marni is a Registered Dietitian and holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology. She is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. Marni is a Level-1 USAT Coach, a 4x Ironman finisher and is an Oakley Women ambassador. Marni is currently training for the 2011 Ironman World Championship. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to
Any questions, Email trimarnicoaching@gmail.comor visit


New credentials and new article

It is with great excitement that I can finally add 3 more letters to my name!!!

For the first time on my blog....
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

I am so honored to be a licensed dietitian and nutritionist in the state of Florida. What a journey this has been!!!
As a Registered Dietitian, I am proud to follow the mission, vision, purpose, focus and values set forth by the Florida Department of Health:

MISSION: To protect and promote the health of all residents and visitors in the state through organized state and community efforts, including cooperative agreements with counties.
VISION: A healthier future for the people of Florida.
PURPOSE: To protect the public through health care licensure, enforcement and information.
FOCUS: To be the nation's leader in quality health care regulation.
VALUES: Integrity, Commitment, Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Teamwork, & Empowerment.

A little about licensure in the state of Florida:
The Dietetic and Nutrition Practice Council is responsible for licensing and regulating dietitian/nutritionists and nutrition counselors in Florida. Applicants seeking to be licensed as a dietitian/nutritionist may apply by examination or endorsement.

License Requirements:
•Possession of at least a bachelor’s degree with a major course of study in human nutrition, food and nutrition, dietetics, or food management as outlined in sections 468.509, F.S., and 64B8-42.002, F.A.C.

•Successful completion of 900 hours of pre-professional planned and continuous supervised practice in dietetics or nutrition, as described in subsection 64B8-42.002(3), F.A.C.

•Successful passage of the dietitian exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration

Licensure Method (for me):
•Endorsement of Status as a Registered Dietitian - This method is for the applicant who is a registered dietitian with the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

I am also so excited about my latest article on USAT online - Multisport Zone Fuel Station.
I absolutely love writing about this topic! Also, I enjoy sharing my thoughts as I have learned a lot from my own personal journey with food, while learning how to fuel for endurance sports as a vegetarian.

I hope you enjoy it and if you can relate to the article, please share with others.
Develop a healthy relationship with food


Cycling Race and Upcoming event

Congrats to my hubby for placing 6th in the Nocattee Road Race on Saturday! Karel also had a 6 mile TT on Saturday evening (which he is not a fan of time trials) but managed to get back some speed to place 2nd in the circuit race on Sunday!!

Campy and I had a great time watching all the cyclists! It was a HOT weekend but we love being outside. Plus, I just couldn't pass up being a spectator in a race just a few miles down the road. Next weekend for Karel....the Labor Day Cup in hilly San Antonio! I'm super excited as bike has really missed training in the hills!!

Also, if you live or are going to be in the Jacksonville area next week, the Trek store and Hammerhead triathlon club will be giving a FREE event for all athletes interested in swim, bike and/or run. Hope you can make it!!

NUTRITION, BIKES, TRIATHLETES and FREE STUFF! (The Event is also on Facebook)

Time: Wednesday, September 7 · 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Trek Bicycles of Jacksonville
9965 San Jose Blvd, Suite #6

Trek Bicycles and the Hammerhead Triathlon Club invite YOU to a FREE event!

Enjoy an evening of socialization, education and FREE STUFF!!

...Trek will be providing food and drinks from NATIVE SUN and the event will have lots of give-a-ways from Trek, Bontrager, Oakley Women and Hammer Nutrition.

Do you have questions about bikes (gear, types of bikes, clothing, etc.)?
All your bike-related questions will be answered after the event by the trained Trek store staff. Also, feel free to shop around after the nutrition talk.... Trek Store merchandise will be available at a discount on the evening of the event.

Interested in joining the largest triathlon club in the Jacksonville area?
Talk with other triathletes and meet the Hammerhead president (and several board members), to discuss the many benefits of becoming a Hammerhead club member. Applications for joining the club will be available at the meeting or you may sign-up online.

Confused about sports nutrition?
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, CISSN will be a guest speaker for the

Beyond Sports Nutrition: Developing an appreciation for food for fuel.

Marni will discuss the importance of having a healthy relationship with food as well as learning how to properly fuel and recover from training and exercise. Marni will also be available after the event to answer any of your questions. Learn more about Marni @

Any questions: please call 904-880-7227 (Trek store - San Jose location)
Check out: and


Monday Product Review

My running dramatically improved once I got my Garmin 410.

I also started to love running outdoors, once I was able to monitor my pace and distance. More than anything, my running had more of a purpose and I was able to be more consistent with my running. I think the treadmill is a great option for keeping pace but after all my hip issues, I have kept my running outdoors so I could really focus on my form and cadence. I am a firm believer in consistency, so whether you are using pace for running, HR or watts, it is important that you are focusing on quality training and not just how far you "need" to go. As far as HR in the summer, I find it is an extremely hard tool to use in order to gauge your effort. Therefore, for my athletes I have them monitor their HR but we focus on nutrition in order to be as efficient as possible, as well as specific interval workouts to improve the anaerobic threshold.
I think Garmin's (or running devices to measure speed, HR, pace, etc.) are very personal. Because there are many options, it is first important to have a price range and then consider what functions you want to use. Some gadgets are super fancy but for many people, just having pace and HR is all you need.
The 310XT and 305 are popular garmin's among runners so my suggestions is to ask your friends/training buddies as to what they recommend. My garmin (410) is not water-proof so that creates some difficulty for when I use it in a race. My garmin, however, is super comfortable and I like it because the face of the watch faces towards me so it is easy to see the numbers on the big screen. It is also super comfortable and reliable (just be sure to LOCK the screen when you are running).
For the bike, Karel has the Garmin Edge 500 which is perfect for him since he loves analyzing his (and my) files. His garmin tracks his distance, speed, location and elevation is compatible with a heart rate monitor, speed/cadence sensor and power meter.

Oakley Women Clothing
I am so excited to write a blog (and post pics) on the successful LADIES NIGHT @ the Jacksonville Running Company on Friday evening. We must have had over 200 amazing and inspiring ladies come out to the event.
A big thanks to Hammer Nutrition, Iron Girl and Oakley Women for providing the most wonderful swag for the event.
As an Oakley ambassador, I was super excited to bring my clothes from Oakley Women, as well as my sunglasses to introduce to athletic and fit women, who share similar passions. While we all may do different sports, I believe we should all embrace the human body, love our body and of course, look good while using our body!!!
I invite you to check out the fabulous line of
Oakley Women clothing and sunglasses either at your local Oakley store or online. And don't forget to keep performing beautifully!

Craft Active Bike Short

My favorite brand of triathlon clothing is without a doubt, Louis Garneau. They make the most comfortable clothing that fits extremely well. I have a few tri shorts from Louis Garneau (LG) and Karel has several bibs from LG. Finding shorts with a good chamois (padding in shorts) is extremely important when choosing the perfect bike shorts. However, sometimes it takes a few rides outdoors (as riding the trainer is often different than the feeling of riding on the roads) to either love or hate your new bike/tri shorts.
As for other good brands that you may want to try, Bontrager has a 30-day Unconditional Comfort and Performance Guarantee on their clothing where you can try it out and it you don't like it, bring it back where you bought it, within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.
Needing a few new pairs of cycling shorts for my last 6 weeks of Kona training, Karel picked up two cycling/tri shorts from the Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville. One was LG Women Pro Tri shorts (in Red - love them!!!) as well as the Craft Women's Active Bike Shorts.
Both shorts are super comfortable for an interval or long ride and I highly recommend either product.
Craft Performance Apparel
You can also check out OneTri for all your triathlon needs


The gift of life

The other day, either on TV or radio, I heard someone say "Enjoy the Gift of Life".
A big smile came to my face as I do believe that we each are given a gift to live life to the fullest. However, we must recognize that as we reflect on the past, we must focus on the present moment in order to prepare for the future. Nothing makes me feel more alive and appreciate my life, than being active. I don't have to swim, bike and run to be active and I don't have to have a specific workout to be active. I just love using my mind, muscles and body on a daily basis and I do my best to control other areas in my life, which will allow me to be active for the rest of my life.

As I was reading quotes yesterday morning (which I do several times during the week), I came across this quote which was just perfect to get my through my 5 hour bike which included a 3-hour, power/watts-controlled main set. Talk about mental!!

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”

(Pic taken yesterday at Karel's race. He had two races yesterday - road race (6th place) and 6-mile TT. Today he has a crit to finish off the Nocattee stage race).

What activity/workout in your weekly routine makes you appreciate the gift of life?