Essential Sports Nutrition


IMWI training....going strong

I recently heard a great saying when it comes to training. 

Every workout should help you be more prepared for the next workout. 
I couldn't agree more. 

With our "train smart" approach to training, our goal is never to destroy the body. This is not limited to just putting training stress on the body with specific workouts but also with nutrition. No workout is performed without proper nutrition before, during and after workouts. Just to make myself clear, Karel and I never perform a workout without a snack before, sport nutrition during (powder in a bottle of water each hour) and some type of recovery snack or meal post workout. I just see no point in sabotaging a workout by not fueling properly to support the immune system, postpone fatigue and to enhance recovery. 

  Additionally, we never create a workout that is so "epic" that the human body can not recover within a short time frame. As an age group triathlete, time is not unlimited. It is important that in order to make consistent performance gains that we are not overstressing the body in one workout that we can not be equipped for another workout the next day. Certainly, there's exceptions to this rule such as well- designed training camps that place an intentional heavy load on the body to stress the body in a certain time frame. However, it would be a waste of time, money and energy if an athlete accomplished a big load, let's say, at a camp, and did not properly recover to make long lasting fitness gains. 

After Karel was finished with his 14 RETUL fits on Mon evening, we continued our trip just a bit more south to visit with my mom. 
Campy was SO happy at his resort, although it was a little different without my dad being present. This was the first time that Campy was in the house without both of his grandparents being there but not to worry, my mom gave Campy extra love. 

Weekly training update:
On Tues morning, we woke up without an alarm and had a good 90 minute the pouring rain. We didn't plan for the rain but around 1:15 into our ride, the sky opened up so we turned around. It was a planned EZ spin as Karel's legs were completely toasted after being on his feet for 4 days with the fits. 

On Wed morning we had 10 hours of driving ahead of us so we didn't want to exhaust ourselves before our trip. We had an early bedtime on Tuesday so that we could get a solid 8 hours of sleep and we woke up with an alarm around 5:45am so that by 6:45am (enough time to digest a pre training snack and get the body going after dynamic stretching/campy walk) we were both out the door for a run (Karel and I do not run together because he is too fast for me). 

My set:
1 mile warm-up. Then stop and stretch it out.
2 miles steady running w/ 20 sec walk in between each mile. 
3 x 8 minutes (4 min @ ~6:50-7 min/mile, 4 min @ ~7:45-8 min/mile - under/overs, my fav). 1 min walk in between. 
Then cool down
Total: 6.5 miles

When we got back to SC, I made sure to spend a good 20 minutes stretching out my hips and back as I was getting a bit stiff in the car (especially with a chihuahua sitting on my lap when I wasn't driving)

On Thurs I sat an alarm at 5:45am and was at the Y (2 miles down the road) at 7am for a swim/strength workout. Although I can choose my own schedule as a small business owner, I typically need a good 60-90 minutes to answer emails in the morning (most from my west coast athletes) and I do not like to push my workouts back past 8am because I need a good 7-10 hours most days (weekends included) to get to all of my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition to-do's. 

I started my morning with a great swim which I shared in a previous post and followed it with 30 min of full body strength (primarily legs and core). With IMWI being a challenging course, it requires a lot of power, not necessarily speed. Therefore, Karel and I are making sure our bodies are as strong as possible to take the 140.6 miles of stress on the body. I absolutely love being in the weight room even though most of my strength work is body assisted work (not machines). 

Karel and I wanted to do an EZ spin on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in the evening but it was raining so it was a good excuse to eat an early dinner at 5:30pm and get to bed before 9:30pm. 

On Friday morning, it was a cooler morning and the rain had stopped by the time we got to the Y at 7am. We did a great 3200 yard swim (the outdoor pool was chilly!):

500 swim warm-up
Pre set:
4 x 200's w/ fins (50 drill, 50 swim)
3  x 100's (50 steady, 50 strong)
50 EZ
2 x 100's (25 steady, 75 strong)
50 EZ
1 x 100 (strong)
50 EZ
2 x 100's (25 steady, 75 strong)
50 EZ
3 x 100's (50 steady, 50 strong)

400 pull
8 x 25's - 10 strokes no breath, then EZ into the wall w/ 10 sec rest

After our swim, we did 30 min of strength work and we added in some plyo's as well as good core work. It was a great morning workout!

In the evening, Karel went for a bike ride and I went to the Y for a nice form focused run on the treadmill (4 miles) w/ 30 sec rest each mile) for the first two miles and then 10 minutes of 1 min "fast" w/ 30 sec rest. Then cool down. 

This morning we were SO excited to ride as there was no rain on the radar! 
However, it's been a while since we rode our normal routes and wow, did those hills grow since last week!!!
We did 75 miles and just over 4 hours with 5000 feet of climbing. It was another beautiful ride but I was super excited to be off my bike when I got home. 
Off the bike, 4 miles w/ 30 sec walk each mile. It was a fast run for me with just under 7:45 min/miles but it felt good as I was not going by pace but just RPE. 

So, there you have it - lots of progress, feeling strong and the countdown continues for IMWI!!

Happy training!

Thank you body!


Endurance swim fueled by Pear-Chia Granola

Wow...where did the time go?
Once again, I find myself nearing the end of another Ironman journey with a tremendous amount of gratitude for my body and overall health. 
I have remained injury free for 15 continuous months which is a HUGE deal for me. From 2007-2013, I have been plagued with muscular-related hip and back issues which sadly, have put a halt on my running training for 4-12 weeks at a time. 
Additionally, the last time I experienced a sickness was in the summer of 2007. That's 7 years of no flu, cold, GI issues, infection, etc. I am so incredibly grateful for my immune system for staying so strong throughout my life, especially when I choose to train for and race in 140.6 mile triathlon events!!

So here I am again, giving a BIG thanks to my body. 
38 days until Ironman Wisconsin. My 9th Ironman!!! 

Here's a great swim workout (that I gave myself this morning) to build your swim endurance. 
Remember, fatigue affects breathing and form and a tired swimmer does not benefit from a workout like an efficient swimmer. Form over speed/distance - always. 

Warm-up (and part of the first main set): 
500 swim - stretch it out
100 kick EZ (mix up the stroke)
400 swim - stretch it out but increase effort just a tad from the 500
100 kick EZ (mix up the stroke)
300 swim - effort should be 80% or half IM effort
100 kick EZ (same)
200 swim - effort should be 90% or Olympic effort
100 kick EZ (same)
100 swim - best effort
100 kick EZ (same)

(you can shorten the kick to 50 and you can also start with 400 swim if you would like to remove 750 yards from the warm-up to save energy/time)
Active recovery:
400 pull w/ buoy and paddles - stretch it out, focus on your catch and hand exit in the water

Main set #2: 
3 x 100's - 90% effort w/ 10 sec rest
50 EZ swim + 30 sec rest (Or just rest 90 sec)
2 x 100s - 90% effort w/ 10 sec rest
50 EZ (same)
1 x 100's - 90% effort w/ 10 sec rest
50 EZ (Same)
2 x 100's - 90% effort w/ 10 sec rest
50 EZ (Same)
3 x 100's - 90% effort w/ 10 sec rest

200 pull w/ paddles only - active recovery
100 cool down 
4000 yards


Can you smell that? Don't you just love the kitchen aroma of warm granola cooking in the oven? 

Here's my latest granola creation filled with sunflower seeds, chia seeds, maple syrup and pears. Got a sweet tooth? Now you can satisfy your sweet teeth, fuel your workouts (or combine in cold milk for a great recovery "drink") and feel great with this heart-healthy creation. Enjoy!

Pear-Chia Granola
2 cups oats
1/4 cup coconut (unsweetened, shredded)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup 100% Pure Maple Syrup
1 soft pear (chopped  - I recommend Anjou pear for a sweeter pear)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine coconut, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss with clean hands.
2. Add 1 cup oats and mix with a fork until combined.
3. Add 1/2 cup oats and mix.
4. Add the last 1/2 cup oats and mix. 
5. Add chopped pear and toss. 
6. Spray a medium size cookie sheet with non stick spray and pour granola on tray and spread around with your hands.
(if you want a clumpy granola, add only 1 cup oats)
7. Cook granola for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown and firm.
(Smell test - when you smell your granola, you only need to cook for a few minutes more. Check on your granola. When it looks like it is getting golden brown, remove it immediately. One minute too long can burn it - I know from experience :( 
8. Let granola cook before placing in baggies/Tupperware and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days (if it lasts that long).


Fueling the busy body - a buffet of Trimarni creations

The other day, someone asked me what I eat when I am really busy.
I suppose I needed to give the reply of what fast food I order out or what's my favorite microwave dinner when I have no time to cook.

Now, there's always an exception as I do not believe that there is a perfect way of eating but you will not find a microwave dinner in our freezer and Karel and I rarely (less than 5 times a year) go out to eat (unless we are traveling). 
This doesn't mean I am good and you are bad but there's a reason why I wanted to write this blog. 

I absolutely love real food and I make time to cook, even in my busy lifestyle.
I know you can do it too. It's a lot easier than you think.
You, me.....we are all busy. Who isn't busy? If there were more hours in the day, we would find a way to fill those up as well. 

But it is because of my/your health that we are able to thrive in a world of craziness, business and never ending to do's. 

The food you eat has the opportunity to fuel your lifestyle. 
Why do you feel you are too busy too cook? 

Here are a few reasons that surprisingly, do not all have to do with needing extra time:
-No real food options in the house
-Grocery shopping takes too long
-Clean up takes too long
-Cooking takes too long
-Do not know how to cook
-Always going into meals starving (who wants to cook when starving and blood sugar is low?)
-Other, more important priorities than cooking...and sometimes eating
-Eating out is easier
-Eating out tastes better

-Not a good planner
-No fun cooking for yourself
-Crazy schedules (spouse/family/kids)
-Too busy training/exercising (if you are too busy to eat a real food meal because of this, then we need to talk :)
-No time to cook

I am busy, just like you, but if my body is not nourished, I can not do the things that I love to do and that life requires me to do. 
The food we eat has the ability to keep us health, energize our body, help us think clearly and my favorite, make us feel absolutely amazing inside. 
 So, it is important that you do not look for extra time to cook or hope for it to magically happen but instead, make the time. Carve out 30-60 minutes of your day to nourish your body and do not make meal time complicated. 
Certainly, there are a few things that help with making sure you get a health, real food, balanced meal in your system on a daily basis (hopefully three times a day):
-You can plan for leftovers
-Do a little prep ahead of time (Ex. weekends, morning)
-Get a little help from the grocery store (pre-chopped options)
-Involve the family at meal time prep
-Plan ahead
-Don't expect to be perfect
-If you are not a master chef, keep your recipes simple
-Think about the best days in your week to cook and prep
-Make compromises if you feel that there is absolutely no time during your week. Keep in mind that if you do not take time for your health (ex. nourishing your body or fueling your workout routine), you may be forced to make time for illness or injury. 

While in Jacksonville for the past few days, Karel stayed extremely busy by fitting 14 athletes on their bikes using the RETUL system. Each fit takes an average of 2 hours and Karel was on his feet from 9:30am until 5:30pm almost every day (one day until 9pm).
Needless to say, Karel was exhausted every evening on Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon and with that, his workouts were modified so that he could get good sleep on Sat morning (no workout) and Monday morning (no workout). 
It was my job (wife and RD duty) to make sure that my amazing hubby was well fed and that meant making sure that at the end of the day, he not only kept his blood sugar stable throughout the day but that he honored his hunger as he was working. Because we were staying with some friends at the beach, we had the great honor of being fed some fantastic meals and didn't have to do any kitchen. What a treat!
However, on Sunday, I was in charge of the menu and I could not wait to not only prepare a good evening meal for everyone to enjoy but one that would be balanced for each person. 

Because I believe that we should all eat similar foods but in different quantities and times, I prepared a plant strong buffet of options so that exhausted Karel could assemble his plate as he wished, I could create a plate that would help me continue to refuel from my morning long run workout (and boost my immune system) and for our friends to also feel great about what they were putting into their body. 

So I give you a beautiful buffet of Trimarni creations, all prepared in less than 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Blueberry Kiwi Almond Salad

Mixed greens
Slivered almonds
Kiwi (chopped)
Broccoli sprouts
Fresh Parmesan
Olive oil on the side

1. Combine in a bowl. Add as much/little of each ingredient as you wish. Mine was extra berry because I LOVE blueberries. 

Veggie stir fry 

Mushrooms (1 container, sliced)
Onions (1/2 medium, sliced)
Red pepper (1 large, sliced)
Tamari sauce (about 2 tbsp)
Garlic powder
Olive oil

1. Cook in a skillet on low heat with a tbsp of olive oil and 1-2 tbsp tamari.
2. Stir occasionally, cook until soft. Season to taste.

Herbed tofu

2 boxes firm tofu (cube, bought at Costco, can be stored in pantry until opened)
Herb seasoning (any no-salt seasoning)
Olive oil

1. On skillet on medium heat, add cubed tofu and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil.
2. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until tofu is slightly golden on edges. Lightly toss occasionally and add more olive oil to prevent tofu from sticking (or a splash of water).  Season to taste. 

Quinoa and rice mix

1 package quinoa and rice mix  (I did not use the link I attached, I used one that was in the house I was staying and forgot the name). 

1. Cook package according to directions on stove top. 

Chickpea, corn and edamame salad

1 can chickpeas
1 cup edamame
1 cup corn
Yogurt ranch dressing (or creamy dressing of your choice - I used what was in the house where I was staying)
Cracked pepper

1. Combine ingredients in a bowl (if using frozen corn and edamame like I did, you can defrost until warm and then cool in cold water and drain). 
2. Add 1-2 tbsp yogurt ranch dressing and stir until combined.
3. Season with pepper and keep in refrigerator until serving time. 

Enjoy your yummy creations by yumming with every bite. 
Remember, eating is a happy time. You should feel great while you eat and even better after you finish your meal. 

Happy Creationg Cooking!

(And yes, cooking in 110% Play Harder compression socks is very typical in the Trimarni kitchen)


Triathlon racing - how to plan your season

You may be asking yourself why I am writing about planning your triathlon season now, instead of waiting until the off-season?

Back in November, I wrote a blog about our racing season as well as 10 tips on planning your season. 

Although this blog was written just before the New Year, Karel and I actually discussed our 2014 season back in the Spring 2013. 

For triathletes who are choosing to do an Ironman, it's likely that you have to sign up in a year in advance. So if the Ironman is your ultimate goal (or a half IM), it is important to consider how you are going to plan your season. And you may want to consider your season planning before you register for your endurance race. 

I realize that a lot can occur in a year, most of which is out of your control especially if you are unable to plan for it to happen (or not happen). 

Over the past three years, I have been able to peak appropriately for my races (despite overcoming some obstacles along the way) all because of how my season was laid out for my body, my racing goals and my life (that of which I could control). 

If you are interested in reading any of my race reports from the past few years, you can visit my website to read more about how the races went down. 

But there are a few considerations that I would like to discuss to help you better plan your season. 

-It's very easy to register for a race, especially if it is new, your friends are doing it or if it is in a cool location. However, consider the timing of the race, where the race occurs and any logistics that may impact your racing experience. 

-If you are considering a long distance triathlon in Feb - June as part of your season, consider how you will prep for the race as well as any other races that will occur after that early season race. I find for many athletes, it is too early to peak appropriately for an early season race that occurs before late Spring and even if you race it for fun or as a tune-up, it's very easy to skip over important parts of a periodized training plan that will help you properly peak for the more important races later on in the year. Now, this may be no big deal to race in an early season race just for fun but also consider the time and money that you are spending on a "fun" race so early in the year and the impact that it may have on your more important, later season races. As an athlete, you have to think long term and not just stay in the moment when it comes to planning races. 

-If you are training indoors throughout the cold winter months, how many outdoor workouts will you be able to perform before your key race? These outdoor workouts with "real" course situations are very important to help with acclimating to the heat, dialing in pacing, nutrition and mental focus.  

-As mentioned before, an early season race may force you to skimp on base training (ex. speed work, strength work, weaknesses) and you may find yourself with a 1 month off season and then right into heavy training again. You need to build a strong foundation if you want to prep appropriately for your key race and you may find yourself a bit burnt out if you start your season training in Dec/Jan and have another key race planned for March and then another in Sept, October or November. Consider putting your key races within a 14-16 week time frame so that you minimize the chance of burn out (or peaking too early). Tune-up races are encouraged to practice transitions, pacing, nutrition, etc but with this comes removing pressure of "what if I qualify" for another race, PR's or specific time goals. Consider tune-up races as part of the bigger picture. 

-You can't control life but if you have a stable life (ex. a routine with family/work, etc.), consider races that work with your "normal" life. If your job/family requires more from you at certain times of the year, that is a big sign that you should not be peaking for a race during that time. Sure, it can be done but it's a short line to balance on to ensure that you do not get injured, burn out or too fatigued. 

-Ever athlete wants to peak at the right time. Be sure not to put too much pressure on yourself that you have to PR at every race. Keep your focus on your season goal that means the most to you. If you are aiming to qualify for a World or National event or place on the podium or PR, all of your training and racing should be designed in a way that you have the opportunity to put that hard work to the test, when it counts. 

-I am constantly finding athletes racing on courses that are not best suited for their strengths. There's nothing wrong with stepping outside of the comfort zone but before you sign up for a race because it is local or a race because it is a destination, do your research to ensure that things like weather, terrain, altitude, travel logistics, competition, etc. will not negatively affect your performance. You deserve to do well in your races based on your prior dedication to training so be sure to pick a race that suits your strengths. Additionally, if you love the course that you get to race on and you know it's the "right" course for you, you will find yourself with less stress/anxiety going into the race. 

-As an age group athlete, it's unlikely that your life revolves just around you. You have responsibilities, bills to pay and it's hard to balance it all. Racing triathlons (and training) is expensive and cutting corners does not give better positive outcomes. Embrace the journey which requires time, patience and the ability to understand how your body adapts to training stress. 

-Avoid haphazard training. Your training plan should have a purpose, just like your workouts. If you want to be a runner, train like a runner. If you want to be a triathlete, dedicate your training to three sports so that by race day you are strong enough in each discipline to put everything together. 

-Be extremely careful when it comes to planned or unplanned races. Every time you "last minute" decide to do a race, it has the potential to impact your training and health. Furthermore, if you have a race on your schedule that you feel you are not prepared for (or in the best health), it's always better to play it smart than risk long term damage to your season or health.  
Before every season, Karel and I develop a ATP (Annual Training Plan) for every one of our athletes which maps out the entire season and along with the scheduling of races (and priorities), we have a tentative plan written out as to when the athletes will build, recover, peak and taper as well as any other potential conflicts such as vacations, travel/work events, family obligations, etc. This way, we are able to create a training plan that is specific to our athletes goals and to help our athletes peak appropriately. This ATP is never set in stone for when it comes to one-on-one coaching, we are constantly adjusting training when life happens. 

-Having raced triathlons competitively as an age group endurance athlete for the past 8 years, finished 8 IM's (with 3 recent PR performances) and won a few races (2012 Iron Girl Clearwater Half Marathon overall winner, Branson 70.3 overall female amateur, HITS Ocala half ironman overall female) I have also had my share of races where I have learned and grown from a race performance. I never put race expectations on myself that are so big that I am hard on myself for not being more prepared. If I have a plan, I know where I am going and even if training doesn't go as planned on the plan, I still focus on how I can keep myself moving forward. Ultimately, every race day plan is based on my current level of fitness ON race day. 
A successful performance can be defined in many ways and many times, it does not happen when an athlete chases a finishing time. I encourage you to plan a racing schedule that allows you to peak at the race that maters the most and if there are two key races on your schedule, be sure you understand how to structure your training so that you can excel when it really matters. Many times this means scheduling breaks in your season so that you avoid overtraining and burnout. I see far too many athletes put in so much work in training (along with spending lots of money) and they are unable to put the training to the test on race day. Now, there are many situations as to why an athlete may not perform to an optimal level on race day (and it's not always within your control) but your odds of reaching success are much greater if you have a plan so you know, not only where you are going but also when your hard work will eventually get to pay off. 

Happy Race Season Planning!