Essential Sports Nutrition


IM "long" brick and PB&J french toast

Karel and I are getting, 42 days until race day! It feels like yesterday when we signed up for the IM (last July!).  For each Ironman I have trained for, I have considered it a blessing that my body can "race" and compete in an 140.6 mile event. No workout or day is taken for granted and continuously thank my body for what it allows me to do. Without a doubt, I love the feeling of being able to take my body and mind to new places as I get stronger, smarter and fitter as an endurance athlete. But with this being my 6th Ironman and I get to share it with Karel for his first IM, I guess you can say that Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th, 2013 is going to be a very special day for both of us. 

After the morning pre-workout snack around 5:45am (alarm set for 5:15am which included doggy walk, start the coffee, feed the furry ones)  I was off to Nocattee (6 miles down the road) via car to get set for another key Ironman brick. We will be doing the "big" long ride of 112 miles next week (I think - I need to check with Coach Karel and Training Peaks on that one) but this weekend included another quality bike + run workout. Because the process of building endurance can not be rushed, I feel that you can still adequately prepare for Ironman races and learn a lot about yourself (and what to expect on race day) by focusing less on multiple centuries (100 mile rides) and "long, slow" workouts and instead, make your miles count by building endurance. I believe every athlete needs a confidence booster workout but in order to build confidence you also have to have a body that can withstand the stress of repeated training.  Nutrition before and during, pacing, mental focus, body toughness, clothing, gear, etc....There are a lot of little things that are often forgotten when athletes train for an Ironman and I love considering every possible area that I can work on before race day in order to have a great race day performance. 

Today's workout for me:
4 hour ride + 30 min run

Karel's workout (He had to work around noon today):
3.5 hour ride + 5 mile run

My workout (super windy day today) which was mostly with Karel:
25 minute warm-up (solo)
Main set: 
3 x 8 min @ Karel's pace (which was low Z4 for me for power) w/ 4 min EZ
20 min @ Karel's pace (which was mid to upper Z3 for me for power) w/ 4 min EZ
Group ride: ~49 minutes (which was mid Z3 for me for power)
Regroup with Karel for his last interval: 25 min @ Karel's pace (which was mid Z3 for me for power) w/ 4 min EZ
35 min Z3 low (solo) w/ 4 min EZ
25 min Z3 low (solo) w/ 4 min EZ
Cool down
Total 4 hours, 83 miles

4 mile run off the bike:
Mile 1: 8:07 min/mile
10 sec walk
Mile 2: 7:59 min/mile
10 sec walk
Mile 3: 7:55 min/mile
10 sec walk
Mile 4: 7:56 min/mile

I know it seems like a lot of intervals but it works because the body adapts quicker than doing long, slow rides or trying to do too much (too fast) at one time. There's a lot that needs to take place within the body to prepare for an Ironman and luckily, adaptations can be made with hard workout and you don't have to be an exercise physiologist to know why or how things are working. However, eliminating the "junk" and focusing on the quality will not only help you experience more consistent performance gains but it will also keep the training fun and exciting for you won't feel as if your Ironman journey is taking over your life. 

After the workout, I cleaned myself up to make my way to the farmers market to buy a delicious-looking watermelon. After a recovery drink, FIZZ and some stretching, I made my way to Ponte Vedra to meet with one of my athletes who is doing his 2nd Ironman next weekend. I love helping my athletes (online/in person) with race day strategies for I feel the best way to go into a race is to know that you are able to race with your current level of fitness. 

I finally got home in the early afternoon and someone was super excited to see me. On went the 110% Play Harder gear (ice  + compression = love it!) and I was excited to get a meal into my belly. I was really happy with how my nutrition went today as one thing I pay close attention to is any signs of my tummy being "off" which rarely happens before workouts. It is expected that the body can do some crazy things after a long workout with sport nutrition but the past few weeks have been ideal for my tummy post workout as the recovery meal is just as enjoyed (and welcomed) as the pre training snack.

Although certain foods are ideal post workout (carbs and protein, minimal fat/fiber) it is important that you recognize what foods "work" the best for your body post workout. I feel that in the Ironman prep journey, you must make a lot of mental notes as to what works and doesn't work. The athletes who get wrapped up in the miles often overlook critical areas such as gear, nutrition, the mind, pacing as areas which can make or break your race day performance. The Ironman doesn't care how many 100+ mile rides or "long" runs you did in training if your tummy is hurting, your body is fatiguing, your mind is wandering and your muscles are aching on race day. It's very easy to be obsessed with how many miles you need to swim, bike and run to check-it off your training daily to-do list but you must ask yourself, what can I accomplished within those miles that will set me up for a good race day? Certainly, race day is being able to execute your training and race with your current level of fitness. If you don't have an effective nutrition and pacing plan, all those "long" training sessions will quickly be forgotten. Set yourself up for success by focusing on quality workouts. If you are confused as to how to do this for an Ironman, I strongly recommend getting a coach who can guide you through the process and to keep you motivated and excited to take part in this exciting journey. 

So...on to more yummier topics. 
I think I will call this PB&J French Toast - yummy in my belly creation. 

2 slices rye bread (this sits well in my belly post workout)
Peanut butter (smear)
Fruit jam (no HFCS)
Red currants (you can use raisins)
Banana (I try to consume some type of fruit post workout)
2 egg whites + 1 whole egg + dallop greek yogurt
Kale (I try to consume some type of veggie post workout)
Olive oil
Green yogurt
Goat cheese (This sits  well in my belly post workout)

1. Scramble eggs w/ dallop of greek yogurt (about 1 tbsp) and add a tbsp of water to help with mixing. (I love to use greek yogurt with my eggs - it makes them fluffy).
2. Turn on pan to medium heat and saute kale in a little olive oil (~2 tsp) until slightly crispy.
3. Remove kale from pan.
4. With a little olive oil, drizzle pan for bread.
5. Dip breads into egg mixture and cook bread on one side for 2 minutes until slightly firm and then flip to cook for 1 minute. See step 10 if you want to create your french toast as eggs are cooking.
6. With a little olive oil, drizzle pan for omelet (you can use cooking spray if you just need a little).
7. Pour leftover egg mixture onto pan and sprinkle a little cheese into the egg mixture before it gets firm.
8. Flip after 2 minutes (or when eggs are firm).
9. Place kale in center of cook egg mixture (turn off heat) and place some greek yogurt on kale and then close egg  as you use spatula to remove from pan and onto your plate.
10. Smear a little nut butter on the bread as well as jam and then top with sliced bananas, red currants and a drizzle of honey.


Remember - no workout is complete until you recover. Even if you stretch post workout and eat "well" - don't forget about keeping the body recovered throughout the day. We LOVE our trigger point set (+ foam roller/grid) which we use several times during the day (morning and night). I highly recommend investing in recovery tools for you can only train hard if you recover harder. 


Pear-berry oatmeal, IM-prep swim set, Trimarni "summer" checklist

Pear-berry oatmeal

1/2 cup oats (dry)
1/2 small pear (chopped)
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp (about) red currants (or raisins)
~10g protein powder (optional: whey, vegan, soy -to help slow down digestion and to promote satisfaction for a few hours)
Water or milk to meet consistency needs

1. Mix ingredients together in large tall bowl (Recommend a tall bowl as oppose to a wide bowl which will help prevent spilling over, although watch for rising oatmeal).
2. Add water/milk (liquid) to almost cover the dry ingredients (leave about an inch or so not covered. if not using protein powder, cover 3/4ths dry ingredients)
3.Stir well with a spoon (especially if adding protein powder)
4. Microwave (uncovered) for 1 minute, then stir.
5. Continue to microwave in 45 second intervals until oatmeal meets your consistency needs (it may get more thick the longer you microwave. I like my creamy so I typically microwave around 2:15). 

This morning swim set was the perfect way to start my day before working at the hospital. I followed swim with hip strength which I do 3x's a week (Mon, Wed and Fri) as well as hip work daily (ex. clams, bridges, hip hikes, McKenzie moves). 
This set was exactly what I needed for mind and body to finish another GREAT week of training (can't wait for the weekend!).
 I always feel a boost in swim confidence when I do repeating 100's on a cycle and I have always incorporated them into my IM training for the last 8 weeks or so of my peak training (typically on a Friday either as a short "intense" set or within a longer distance set.
Doing repeating 100's is a great way to increase your anaerobic threshold without compromising form so long as you take advantage of recovery. Depending on your comfort in the water, you may need to lessen the number of 100's that you do. For example, rather than doing 4 x 100's on a cycle like I did, try 2 x 100's trying to keep the same cycle. Then work your way up to 3 and then 4. The key is to make sure you are only resting "just enough" so that you compromise your respiratory system just a bit to raise that threshold. You don't want to fatigue too early in the set so be sure you pace yourself. With this set, you are able to be more consistent as the workout goes on without letting fatigue destroy your form or exhaust you from finishing the set if you were to just swim "fast" for a 2000 or to swim steady and not make progress to getting faster in the water.  In an Ironman you do not have to be "fast", you have to be efficient so if you are new to swimming or uncomfortable in the water, keep on working on your form and endurance and limit the speed work to once a week and within a "short" workout. 

5100 yard IM-prep workout
4 x 500's warm-up (odd swim, even pull w/ paddles - try to be steady on these)
100 backstroke recovery
Main set: 20 x 100's
Perform the main set like this: 4 x 100's with 10 seconds rest (keep the same cycle - for ex. I did these on 1:30 and was holding ~1:18-1:19 per 100), then do 1 x 100 EZ backstroke recovery (take a total of 3 minutes rest OR double your interval for the fast).
Repeat this cycle of 4 x 100's fast, 1 x 100 EZ for four times for a total of 20 x 100's. 
Optional: 500 pull  w/ paddles - work on stretching out the stroke
Optional: 400 choice
100 cool down

Training, exercising or racing this weekend? 

Don't forget your Trimarni checklist for outdoor activities in the heat: 
-Sport drinks w/ carbohydrates (for workouts/exercising over an hour)
-Sunscreen (SPF 30+, broad sp...ectrum)
-Wicking clothing 
-Recovery drink/food
-A smart game plan (adjust intensity as needed)
-Recovery compression/ice


The patient athlete

First Triathlon  2003
Ironman Wisconsin 2010

Ironman World Championship 2011

Are you a goal setter? Do you keep your eye on the prize day in and day out? My life functions the best with goals. I wake up excited to see what the day may bring and I go to bed, anxious for another opportunity tomorrow. I would assume that if you read this blog, you are motivated and passionate about health and fitness and I hope that you are spreading your wonderful energy to your friends and family in order to inspire others to live a more balanced active and healthy lifestyle.

In the case of making progress as an athlete - such as building endurance, speed, confidence, mental toughness and skills, it takes a lot of work and much like studying for an exam, you can't cram for a race in 1 week and expect great results. You may be able to fake your performance (unlikely in longer distance races) but the body is not going to retain much after the race. You have to be patient and not always do things happen when you'd like for them to happen.

There is a lot of continuous work that goes into great race day performance and the work is not always achieved in one season or in a few months. It takes a lot of effort to reach goals and many times, impatience keeps athletes from reaching what is very possible in the mind and in the heart.

We all know how to push when we are about to break and often times, we make progress this way. But then there are times when we push and make no progress and instead, move backwards. Not sure about you but I wouldn't want to be in a marathon and move  backwards when everyone is moving forward. The same thought applies to training. We each have our own ways to move forward but get caught up with rushing the process as to the "best" way or being like others and so, while others move closer to their goals by doing things their way, you may find yourself struggling to keep up. The mind may be strong but the body is tired, exhausted and burn out. Does too much too soon come to mind? Or perhaps, fear-based training?

Every athlete and fitness enthusiast will have set backs in life, set backs with fitness and set backs with goal reaching. Much like the satisfaction you get when you have a fantastic workout and physically feel yourself pushing to a higher limit, this same enjoyment should come from overcoming obstacles when you never thought that you could not succeed. By being patient, not only will you enjoy your great workouts even more but you will not feel overwhelmed when setbacks come into your path.

In training for 6 Ironmans (Placid being #6 in 6.5 weeks), I have learned that there is no "perfect" way to train for an Ironman. At the end of the day, you have to be patient with the process and most of all, you have to enjoy it. Many athletes, regardless of sport or distance of choice (racing or participating) have been limited in personal success because rather than accepting the progress that has been (and is still being) made, they search inside and out (thanks to social media/blogs/books/articles) for a faster, better or easier approach. New equipment,  a different fit on the bike, different nutrition, extreme changes in training...just a few that come to mind.

I think many active individuals (runners, triathletes) would feel comfortable using the title "type A" at times when it comes to training, racing, the diet, work and life.

" Type A personalities may have traits that lead to better performances in life and sport. Type A personalities generally have higher need for achievements and their behavior pattern is often associated with the success of an entrepreneur.

(Reference here)

Since I started competitive swimming at the age of 10 or 11, I have always lived my life as an athlete. My brain is trained to perform daily and because of that, there is not struggle to workout everyday (or move my body). I don't consider myself an athlete who stresses or over analyzes races, for my competitive spirit often desires the opportunity to be beat by those who are faster than me in order to help me push myself to be better. I try to look at the positives in every race rather than determining my success based on a finish place or time.

Because of my natural desire to be challenged in life, I have learned to enjoy the journey of reaching goals. The best journey is when you have your eyes set on a goal but you enjoy the journey more than the thought of even reaching that goal. Reaching the goal then becomes a bonus.

 If you know me well, I am an open book when it comes to goals and I am not afraid to talk about my goals and how hard I am willing to work for them. I've blogged about wanting to qualify for Kona at my Ironman's and other personal goals with my career.  I firmly believe that life has not been easy for me. Sports, school, life....I have encountered many struggles, obstacles and set-backs while trying to reach my goals.

So, therefore...patience is the most powerful weapon that I can carry with me in my journey of life.

If you are impatient and wish time to fly by, it's likely that you will struggle with reaching goals. Accumulation of hard work leads to great performances. Life, work, sports...even if you work hard but are impatient you will find yourself trying to take short-cuts or too many risks to try to progress too quickly.

You don't have to be an athlete to carry the unfortunate trait of impatience. Want to lose weight quickly? The fitness/supplement/diet industry can help you with that. Quick fixes and extreme efforts sell well. Instant gratification is what our society thrives off of as very few people desire to be the tortoise when you can be the hare. When people want results yesterday, it's no surprise that something that can be accomplished quickly is much more fulfilling than something that takes time to achieve.
Some progress is better than no progress. But if you have a goal and don't see extreme results in a week or two, how long will it take you to forget your goal and move on to another method to see if "that way" will be faster. Bouncing around from attempt after attempt is nothing more than feeling defeated by a challenge without realizing your true potential to achieve success.

There are no short cuts in life. I learned this about a year after obtaining my Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology.
Wanting to do more with nutrition for active bodies and desiring to take my passion for public speaking and writing to the next level, I was told by many that I would need to obtain a Registered Dietitian credential to be qualified and licensed to "practice" nutrition.

For three years, I was forced to be patient. You can't rush time, especially when it comes to education. Unlike sports, doing more and wanting it now was not going to happen. The saying quality of quantity could not have been more true than during my 10 month dietetic internship. I learned more than I ever imagined and my initial dreams of having my own business and taking my passion for speaking to the next level were combined with a new love of clinical nutrition.

Throughout my dietetic journey, I also realized the true value of patience. Hard work in both sport and life will pay off but you can't expect results tomorrow if you haven't put in the time to learn lessons, to overcome obstacles, to feel defeat and perhaps, become someone who you never imagined you could be.

Life is not easy. I see nothing wrong with "I can't" being part of your vocabulary because you are acknowledging that something may not be possible that you are thinking about trying. do you know it isn't possible if you don't try and get started now?

I have never allowed can't (for I have said it many times) to override "I can."

If there are any takeaways from this blog post, my hope is that you will never give up on your goals. Its much better to achieve a goal in 1,2 or 10 years than to think to yourself in 1,2 or 10 years....."what if I only tried a bit harder to be more patient with my approach and never gave up."

Should you workout today? Find out here.

          Do I Workout Today?

Do I Workout Today? via Gym Junkies


Food trend - plant strong athlete

If you are like most individuals, you are not surprised by the number of new, trendy, hip or cool foods on the market. From fresh to processed, our culture loves to eat trendy foods, companies love to profit it off of them and the media loves to talk about them. (perhaps I have reversed this timeline as the media has a major influence on how, what and why we eat). 

Coconut, kale, gluten-free, greek yogurt, juicing, quinoa. Just a few that come to mind when you think of the recent foods that are most talked about when discussing "healthy eating" or dieting. Anyone remember Olestra?

Did you know that there are over a dozen types of lettuces? I wrote a blog a while back on the many types of green leafy options that you can add to your current diet. 

How come the media isn't obsessing about M√Ęche, Mesclun or Mizuna and how come the grocery stores aren't carrying them for us to enjoy? 

When I work with individuals on the diet, specifically for performance or health purposes, it is very important to me that I treat each athlete/fitness enthusiast as an individual. But in our quick-fix society, it is so easy to want to be like the masses - do like others to receive the same results. 

In the past 20 years, I have "worked" on my diet to create a diet that gives me food freedom and peace with food. Comfort with my food choices without obsessing about calories or portions or food preparation. I have worked on mindful eating the most in that keeps me constantly in the moment when it comes to eating. I know how it feels to overeat and it doesn't feel good. So I don't do it. I don't get cravings or drops in blood sugar because I have tweaked my diet in a way that prevents these issues from happening. It may not work for others how I eat but my body is happy and my body is healthy. Why should I try to  follow a food trend or diet if I have created my own diet that allows me to function well in this world (and performance to the best of my ability during training/racing)? 

 At age 10-11, I decided to not eat meat for animal reasons and since then, I have learned how to eat as a healthy and active athlete/health conscious individual. I call myself a vegetarian because I don't and will never eat meat. It isn't a fad or a temporary trend. 

I know how to maintain my diet when traveling, eating on the road, eating at events and eating at home. I am always excited to better myself with my food choices, especially when it comes to bettering my health and performance but I am not "trying" new ways of eating as if I need to fix what is not broken. I have never fasted, cleansed or detoxed for my body never gets out of whack. 

I see nothing wrong with trying new things and tweaking the diet. Some styles of eating that are trendy (Ex. Mediterranean, vegetarian) actually come with a host of health benefits but that doesn't mean that you have to follow them strictly to still receive health benefits. That is how I work with others for I believe that learning how to create a healthy relationship with food is best mastered when you recognize what foods make YOU feel the best and enhance your lifestyle. Although adding kale and greek yogurt to your diet will not override other dietary choices, certainly there are many great foods out there that without the media, perhaps we would have never seen in the grocery store or recognized at farmers markets. 

When you think about the food trends in 2012, I am sure you have tried those foods or have adopted a diet that includes those foods (some or all). Nothing wrong with that as I hope that you are still working on your diet to support your individual needs and goals and not eating something temporary or for a quick-fix because the news, a celebrity, coach or nutrition guru told you that if you eat this, you will be "healthy". 

As I mentioned above, my plant-strong diet is with me for the rest of my life. It is not something that I will deviate from but instead, enjoy it as it helps me live an active lifestyle. But in the past 20 years, I have worked at it and I invite you to do the same for your own diet. 

Elimination diets are very trendy and I am not a fan. I feel that spending your energy on what not to eat is only going to set you up for failure and restriction in the diet and lack of flexibility with eating (especially around others). Banning food is not the way to go if you want to "be healthy" so instead, I invite you to think about what you aren't eating, possibly what you could be eating instead, as a way to create a positive relationship with food and perhaps, stop blaming the outcome or effect and instead, direct your positive energy to the missing link(s). 

I love writing about plant strong eating because not only do I practice what I preach in consuming a plant-strong diet for health and performance benefits but also, because we all need to do a great job, every day, of making sure we nourish our bodies with real food, mostly plants. If you feel you have "bad" food in the diet, perhaps you just don't have room for other foods (or not making room or the time to consume them) and it is within those other foods that you can make a positive impact on your health, mood, body and performance. It isn't as if one food is better than the other and certainly, no food is "bad" when consumed on occasional eats/treats but take some time - a few weeks at the minimum, to give a little thought to your diet to make sure that you are not "working" on your diet to be like others or to "fit-in" but instead, create a diet that works for you and is here to stay.

Is Plant-Strong "Healthy" for an Athlete? By Marni Sumbal

Healthy eating can be confusing when it's aimed to the masses. With many research-supported guidelines for "healthy" eating, a plant-strong diet is often celebrated as the most effective way to reduce risk for disease and manage a healthy weight. Although it is not required that you give yourself a dietary title as to what you don't eat, consider a variety of health promoting plant-strong foods to fuel and nourish your active lifestyle.

Protein is essential to assist in growth and repair of muscles, bones and tissues, keeps hair, skin and nails in good health, is helpful for the immune system and helps to keep the metabolism, digestion and brain in optimal health.

For most athletes, meeting recommendations for protein (1-1.5 g/kg/d) can easily be accomplished through a varied diet. To ensure a decrease in fat mass (and not lean muscle mass) if striving for weight loss/body composition changes, do not neglect quality, portioned controlled protein at meals, snacks and for workout recovery. 

For proper digestion and absorption, satiety and control of blood sugar with carbohydrates, all individuals should aim for around 20-30g of protein per meal and addition protein with workout recovery/daily snacks to meet your individual daily recommend protein intake.

Nutrition plays a major role in your training regime and the choice for a specific dietary regime (or any variation) should not sabotage your training plan. Because you can't out-train a poorly planned diet, your diet should keep you healthy, active and happy. If your eating today is restrictive based on how you ate yesterday, ditch the diet plan mentality. 

Maintain a healthy relationship with food and consider a more plant strong, balanced diet as you enjoy the creativity, freedom and flexibility that come with eating a variety of whole foods.

Meat or no meat, choose foods that are simple to prepare, convenient, safe, wholesome and pleasurable as you support your healthy lifestyle with consistent fitness/performance gains.

Here's a protein-rich, plant strong meal which has an extra bonus:  many valuable vitamins and minerals within this meal aside from protein!

1 cup mushrooms - 2 protein
2 cups cooked broccoli - 8g protein
1/2 cup farro - 4g protein
1/4 cup black beans - 3.5 g protein
3 ounce tofu - 7g protein
1 cup cherry tomatoes - 1g protein
1/2 cup peas - 3.5g protein
1/2 ounce pumpkin seeds - 2.5g protein
Total: 31.5g protein

Read more: Iron Girl


Body and mind stir-fry creation

Fuel your body with real food because your body needs fuel to function, to thrive, to live, to be happy.

Don't watch the clock.

Don't say you're being bad.

Don't regret what you choose to put into your body.

Don't say you're cheating.

Don't worry/stress about what other people are doing, what others may think or what others may assume. Own your actions.

Feed your body throughout the day when your brain and body need energy.

As I was seeing and charting on patients today in the hospital today, I couldn't help but think (as I always do) about how grateful I am to have a body that is well, happy and healthy.

Every time you think about (or do) body bash or voluntarily restrict food that can be used for fuel or for health, consider reframing your thoughts.

That same body that you think is fat, ugly or gross or just messed up or failed you, is the same body that you push to cross finishing lines, wakes you up in the morning to take care of your family, helps you have a productive day of work to pay the bills and is where you will live for the rest of your life.

Body and mind stir fry
Cubed pre-cooked potatoes (you can buy frozen, in bag or slice fresh and then microwave for 2-3 minutes until soft)
Cubed firm tofu
Red bell pepper
Sliced mushrooms
Dark leafy greens
Olive oil

1. In a large skillet, heat to medium heat and place potatoes, tofu, pepper, mushrooms, sliced garlic and peas in the skillet with 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add 2 tbsp of water and cover for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking).
2. When veggies are slightly brown and soft, add a spoonful or two of salsa and then ~1/8 cup mixed nuts (pistachios and peanuts).
3. Season with your choice of seasonings - a pinch of salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano.
4. Prepare a Tupperware container (if bringing to work for lunch) or shallow dish with a large handful of leafy greens and top with the veggie creation.


Ironman prep- long run + yummy berry-licious pancakes (recipe)

After my quality brick workout on Saturday and my normal post workout recovery routine (recovery drink, stretching, foam rolling on my bac, Epson salt bath/shower, 110% Play Harder gear, food and then trigger point, I rested briefly after a nice long Campy walk and then I had to attend to "work" duties for Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC while Karel was working at Trek. After a delicious dinner last night, we both were ready for bed around 9pm as our eyes were sleepy and the body was begging for rest. Have I ever mentioned that Campy is a professional sleeper?
Without an alarm, we both got up around 5:30am this morning as I guess our bodies were ready to start the day.
For the training this am - tempo bike + long run. With the run being the primary focus of the run today.
Seeing that I am gradually progressing back with my running, I am very careful to not do too much too soon. However, I have noticed that with all my hip strengthening work, I find myself running with better form than ever before. It's as if my glutes are finally working and my back is finally liking me again. Crazy as it seems - my body always seems to function the best when I train for an Ironman...short distance, speed events - not so much.
Considering that the Ironman distance is all about putting together the pieces of swim bike and run into an endurance event, I do not do many "long" runs. The longest I have ever ran in training for an Ironman has been 2:45 as I feel it is better to go by time than by miles. However, I find that 16-17 miles is a good distance to aim for and to get comfortable with in training for an Ironman and to really get comfortable running off the bike. I do most of my runs off the bike because it works for my body to get warmed up on the bike. I don't feel that every Ironman athlete needs to bike before every run but it is good to run off every bike - even if it is for 5 minutes (and it can be  a walk, not always a run).
Because my long runs are typically off the bike, I believe that running steady is better than running fast for an Ironman. In years past, I have always tried to focus on a goal time for the marathon in the IM and I tried to simulate that in training. Well, oddly enough - I've never been even close to running that time in the Ironman. I've managed to run 3-sub 4 hour marathons off the bike in Ironman's but always running the pace of a 3:30-3:40 marathon in training. Anyone can teach themselves how to run fast or a certain pace in training but off the bike - well, that's a whole other story. For me, I run better off the bike (not always faster) so I prefer to run a long run at a steady pace.....not slow, but steady. I will always do intervals in my long runs but I am focused on my running being efficient. Thus, I can run continuous if I want but that doesn't always give me a quality week of training with an efficient body, the following week. Thus, every long run has the purpose of making sure I am able to run off the bike in an Ironman and most importantly, arrive to the race hungry and not injured, to race.  I have been keeping check of my HR in training and also on my form for I know if either of those two get off, so does my pace. Of course, the best IM runs come after a bike that has been paced well so it is important to recognize that in order to run strong off the bike (or run/walk as I will do on race day) you have to be able to put together a training plan that allows for endurance fitness gains over time. You do not want to overkill yourself with a 20 week (or even 10 week) Ironman plan with long, slow junk miles. Make your workouts count and you will be able to put that training to good use on race day.
1:15 bike
20 min warm-up
5 x 2 min leg openers (high cadence) w/ 2 min EZ
Main set: 30 min IM pace (low Z3 watts)
5 min cool down
Transition to run
Long run: 11 miles
Total time: 1:36 (average pace 8:34 min/mile - which includes my walk breaks)
The focus was to keep my HR as close to 130-145 as I could and to hold around 8:30 min/miles. There are a few faster splits because I was imagining myself on race day and I guess I got excited so I had to dial it back. Also, I ran two bridges (up and down) which was helpful for controlling my form and HR. I was running from 9am - 10:30am so it was getting very hot and humid but my body does well in the heat (not ideal as it isn't the fun type of suffering like pushing in cooler weather) so keeping my HR in check as I stayed in a steady pace was the goal for the long run.
(BTW - this is my longest run since January. What a great feeling to be able to thank my body for this run, especially after I wasn't able to run for 3 months from Feb - April. THANK YOU BODY!)

After each mile, I walked 10-13 seconds after my garmin autolapped the mile and then I hit lap to restart another mile.
On my garmin 910xt, I have my garmin set to see the following on my interval screen when I run which helps me pace myself:
Lap time      Current pace
Lap pace      Lap HR
Mile 1: 8:26 min/mile, 120 bpm
Mile 2: 8:22 min/mile, 129 bpm
Mile 3: 8:34 min/mile, 134 bpm (the intercoastal bridge is ~.68 miles from one side to the other)
Mile 4: 8:34 min/mile, 137 bpm (back up the bridge again for ~.68 miles)
Mile 5: 8:27 min/mile, 139 bpm
Mile 6: 8:25 min/mile, 144 bpm
Mile 7: 8:19 min/mile, 146 bpm (got excited thinking about the IM!)
Refilled my flasks with water/sport drink - 2 minute break at most. I had a total of ~250 calories for my run, consuming gel or sport drink, a little every mile and then water/sport drink as needed - I am never strict on when I drink/take in calories - if my body needs it, I take it but no more than every 15 min on the bike or 1 mile on the run)
Mile 8: 8:27 min/mile, 142 bpm
Mile 9: 8:25 min/mile, 146 bpm
Mile 10: 8:23 min/mile, 147 bpm
Mile 11: 8:14 min/mile, 148 bpm (got super excited....allowed myself to go for it)
 After cooling off and stretching before getting into my car to drive home from Nocattee (where I love to train), Karel and I exchanged training stories from our morning bricks and we were both quick to get to the freezer for our 110% ice pads.
While we iced, I made some berry-licious rye pancakes. They came out really good as I put together this creation without looking at any recipes.
1/2 cup rye flour (you can use any flour)
1/3 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
3 large strawberries - chopped
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut shreds
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
Makes 7, 1/4 cup wet batter pancakes.
1) Mix together ingredients.
2) Heat your skillet to medium heat (or a tad below) and drizzle with olive oil. Pour 1/4 cup serving of batter on to skillet and press down lightly with back of measuring cup to make a flatter pancake. 
3) Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side and flip when bottom of pancake is firm. cook other side for 2-3 minutes.

I can't believe this is my 6th time training for an Ironman! I am so grateful to my body for allowing me to do this. I absolutely love the journey of training for an Ironman and I never get wrapped up in the end result. I realize that competing in an Ironman is a gift and I am the first to say that the human body does not have to allow "us" to train for anything and push our bodies to higher limits. With everything that I have been through over the past 7 years since I have started racing in Ironmans, I can honestly say that it never gets easier when you keep raising your limits. However, it is always fun, I never get burnt out and I wake up super excited and motivated to see what my body is capable of for that day.

Happy training, exercising and healthy living!