Essential Sports Nutrition


4 race travel tips

Traveling to a race is almost a necessity for athletes these days. With so many race options and so many beautiful and bucket-list venues, it's likely that you will travel more than 2 hours to a race course at least once in your racing season. For some athletes, all you know is traveling to races as you have limited options for racing in your city/town. 

Race-cations (as we call them) provide a special opportunity to travel to a destination, race somewhere new and (hopefully) enjoy a little sight-seeing and R&R after the race. Although traveling to a race can be exciting, racing is stressful and combining that fact with the many unknowns and potential logistical nightmares of racing in an unfamiliar venue, outside of your home environment, this can bring anxiety, worries and fears - especially if you are racing a new distance for the first time or you have specific goals and expectations for your race. 

I encourage you to not push away the thought of traveling to a race. Most of my most memorable racing experiences happened when I traveled to a race because traveling makes for great memories.
Focus on these 5 race travel tips to keep your mind at ease before and during your travel. 

1) Plan ahead - Although you can't control everything, you can still put your mind at ease by having plans for your trip. Although you don't have to have a plan for every minute of every day, you'll find that less unknowns will stress you out if you create an itinerary detailing what may or will happen between x-date and race day during your travel. Research the best places to eat, park, sleep, explore, etc. so that you know your race location as if it was your local hometown. Remind yourself that part of traveling is knowing that things will not always go as planned so be sure to bring a positive attitude and always have a plan B.
Keep in mind that even though your plan(s) may change or something comes up that disrupts your plan, this doesn't mean that you are doomed to have a bad race. I'm sure many athletes can share stories where something did not go well before or during the race and they still did amazingly well. I can share a few stories about bike mechanical issues pre race which had me stressing before race day! 

2) Stay relaxed - Every athlete has his/her own definition of being relaxed. For some athletes it may mean surrounding yourself with friends, family and other athletes and staying busy with activities, whereas for others, it may mean isolating yourself from others so you can stay in your zone. Whatever works best for you is just fine but always communicate this with your ravel companions so they don't expect you to be someone who you are not in the 48 hours before your race. Just like on race day morning, avoid being rushed with travel so plan extra time for everything. It's important to feel comfortable in your lodging arrangements so make sure you do your research before booking (ex. does your condo have AC, do you have a queen bed or twin bed to share with your spouse, how far is the race location from your housing, etc.). Be sure to schedule downtown fro yourself to relax and put your feet up when you can (or shut your eyes for a 15-20 min power nap) and of course, focus on yourself and what makes you feel the best. If something stresses you out at home (ex. traffic, waiting in line, etc.) try your best to avoid those situations at your race. Many times, you can but if not, bring coping skills for these uncomfortable situations. 

3) Do your race research - Regardless where you race (hometown or in another country), when you plan for something and it changes, this can throw you off your game. It's important to keep up with your race website/emails for any last minute changes so you are prepared. 
Review course maps, race day itinerary/schedule, packet pick-up information, transition area layout, read forums to better understand logistics/timing of race week to-do's, review parking, things for your family to do on race day or where they can see you and any other details.
If something is out of your control (ex. race course changes, weather, etc.) just remember that every athlete is dealing with the same uncomfortable situation as you - feel at ease that you and your competitors are all in the same situations. 

4) Check, re-check and double check - Review all travel arrangements in the months and weeks leading up the race, review race website and pack and re-pack. I find that most athletes who travel for a race make plans either way far in advance or very last minute. Regardless of when you make your plans or pack for a race, recheck to make sure that you have everything that you need. You prepared your body physically for your event so it's in your best interest to prepare yourself mentally so that you have everything you need to feel "at home" at your race venue.

And Bonus #5: Make memories
It's a very special experience to travel to a new destination and this is often why athletes choose race-cations. Regardless of the outcome of your race performance, you are bringing home a new experience, with new memories. Don't take your race-cation for granted - you are lucky that you have the time, income, support from others and ability to take your hobby (or profession) to another part of the world (or another state/city) in order to participate in a race. 


My very first blog post - DNF

February 3rd, 2007. 
My very first blog post. 
ou think my first blog post would be a post about me, introducing myself to the world or talking about something positive or happy in life.

But sadly no. 
Instead, I wrote about my very first DNF (Did Not Finish) race. 

Since then, I have written 2212 blog posts. 

That comes to around 245 blog posts per year for the past 9 years. 

I've written about our triathlon races, Karel's bike races, my dietetic internship, my travels and events, recipes, nutrition tips, fueling tips, motivation tips and pretty much anything and everything about my life. 

And there clearly are not enough posts about our cats as Campy often gets the spotlight. 

I'm not planning to stop blogging anytime soon as it is the best outlet for the many thoughts in my head and I love being able to refer back to special times in my life that I have documented through my blog. 

I've written happy posts and posts when times were tough. Although my first blog was written 9 years ago when I was 24 years old, I find it very special that I wrote about this race, even though I didn't finish what I had started. 

But you know what?

Life is hard. 
Accepting that it is normal to have bad days is just part of living. And you really can't value your great moments unless you have bad moments for comparison.And this is true for racing and pretty much anything in life. 

We all have great days, good days and days that we don't want to remember. So while it is important to highlight the great days because we often take them for granted, it's important to not let the bad days get the best of you. 

It's just part of being human. 

I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane with my very first blog post that started the Trimarni blog........

(I'm not sure who I was talking to as this was my very first blog and had no idea who would be reading it besides Karel or my parents but thank you to all the Trimarni blog followers....I guess I was writing knowing that you would be reading this one day.)


Well, that's right-no finish time for the miami marathon. 
I never thought it would happen to me....
For the first time ever, I got injured during a race. 

Even worse, first time I have been injured since I started training for triathlons/marathons. What a Bummer! The marathon, all together, wasn't the best for me. 

Started out really rough, standing for over 30 min before the start in the pouring rain, only to start the race with soaking wet shoes and the rain to finally stop. Next part of the the race, which went bad, was when I ran up the first huge causeway and my shins and calves starting killing me. Quads hurt, everything hurt really...well, except my heart. Heart rate was fine and I wasn't showing any signs of fatigue, besides in my legs. However, I ran through it, stopped in 3 port o potties, then at mile 11, I felt like I had just started running! I was a brand new woman. 

I guess that is why I love endurance events. Nothing like a 11 mila warm-up!

From miles 11-19 I was just dropping pace (as you saw in my 10K splits) from over an 8:30 pace to almost 5 consecutive miles of sub 7:50 pace. And even better, I was seeing a sub 3:35 finish, when at first I didn't see anything less than 4 hours! However, at mile 19.5 my achilles just throbbed with pain. I was wondering what was going on...I've never been injured during a race before! I didn't know how I could run anymore, but still tried. It was like a poor ironman shuffle. 

However at mile 20 had to walk. I knew the shuffle run wasn't normal Marni running style and I felt tired cause I was using muscles that weren't designed for running a marathon. I tried to run, stretch, whatever just to keep going and it wasn't until mile 22 that I couldn't make it anymore. 4 more miles of walking in pain or just stop. 

Although it was at mile 22 that I debated about stopping, it was at mile 20 then I started the self talk about my reasons for going or reasons for stopping. 

The tears were being held back by my pride that I still have many more races. However, when you hear a person in the crowd yelling "you can do it, just 4 more miles" all I could do was tilt my head down to the ground and keep walking. 
Why why why I asked, but sometimes there isn't always a "Because". 

It just happened and it is overwith.What a bummer and it just sucks! No other words around it, but I'm thankful there is no tear or sprain, just some tendonitis or inflammation. 

But to be so passionate about running and see people running right by me, it was sad for me cause I just love that feeling of running. 

The energy, the endorphins, the feeling of moving forward and being so easy. This was not the way I would have choosen the outcome to be for that race, especially after my horrible first half of the race. 

I even debated about stopping at the half and just finishing without a medal, but my Marni spirit took over and I just wanted to keep running. 

It took a lot for me to stop and I am glad that I did. The foot is getting better and I am anxious to move on and look forward to my upcoming race season. 

And the worst was that I didn't feel in the mood for my celebratory pancakes!!!! Now that is the most shocking part of it all. 
But I  did eat my ice cream in the afternoon....of course!

This just shows me that I even more appreciate what I do, ever morning, of every day. waking up, excited to train, not worrying about anything hurting me or feeling weak and just loving every minute of my life, regardless if I'm swimming, biking or running. 

I'm ready to train hard and work even harder for the upcoming season. I am very thankful that I have a strong heart and a positive mentality when it comes to racing and training. 

If it wasn't for many friends, who support me tremendously, I wouldn't be able to be so serious about my triathlon racing career. Thank you for being so understanding!

And most of all, Thanks for your support. There's always another race, and as far as I'm concerned...I'm a triathlete/Ironman now and the marathons will have to wait until mile 114.4 of the Ironman in Kona! ;) haha.


Daily diet or fueling manipulation?

Through this approach, your body composition will change because you are able to perform well and maintain a realistic and sustainable style of eating. 
Are you an athlete looking to change body composition and improve your performance as you train for an upcoming event?
Consider this: 
Manipulating your eating before, during and after workouts in an effort to enhance the adaptive response to training will only provide a marginal performance and body composition improvement if your daily diet is not well-balanced, well-timed and consistent.

It's remarkable how the body performs and changes when emphasis is placed on the daily diet as a vehicle of nourishment and when workouts are supported with food as a vehicle of energy.

Far too many athletes choose sport nutrition restriction over daily diet manipulation whereas the later can significantly help to change your body composition without compromising energy when you ask your body to perform and adapt to intentional training stress.

Meeting your daily nutrient and energy needs in the daily diet ensures maximal adaptation to your training because you have met your foundation nutritional needs which will help allow you to perform (and recover from) a variety of workouts - from easy to moderate to intense and from short to longer to very long.

Once you place emphasis on your daily eating (which it will change throughout your season), you'll find that your body systems, hormones and metabolism work better. Your body ultimately works for you as an athlete, not against you. Thus, rather than trying to outperform a poorly planned diet by restricting nutrition around and during workouts (this statement in itself makes absolutely no sense but athletes continue to believe that this is the "best" approach to improving performance and to assist in weight loss) you'll find it much easier to optimize, adjust and personalize your fueling regime before, during and after workouts to meet your performance goals after you have taken the time to establish a healthy foundational diet.

If you know (or think) that your daily diet needs some tweaking, consider the straight-forward approach of creating a well-balanced, well-timed and consistent eating plan rather than simply not eating around and during your workouts with the hope that food elimination or restriction will make you a stronger, healthier and fitter high-intensity or endurance athlete. 

Ultimately, if performance and body composition changes are the ultimate goals of your nutritional changes, you'll find that when you create a foundation diet to support your current training load, your workouts become easier to accomplish, you can go longer or harder with better focus, form and motivation and you can maintain a great sense of enjoyment when you train (which leads toward more training consistency and longevity in your sport).

And ironically, with this approach, there's a better chance of unintentionally changing your body composition without intentionally trying, while maintaining a great healthy relationship with food and the body AND feeling fulfilled and happy in your sport of choice.


Private training camp - recap

If you are an athlete and you love nature, mountains and challenging terrain, you will love our training playground....otherwise known as Greenville, SC. 

If I had to choose three words to describe what we heavily focus on during our training camps I would choose the words; FIT, FUEL, TRAIN.

Of course, FUN is included in there too. 

A private training camp is the perfect option for the athlete who needs specific individual attention in specific areas.

In the case of our last private training camp this past Thurs - Sat, triathlete Gin (who is coached by Professional triathlete Haley Chura) from Athens, GA reached out to us regarding setting up a private training camp to help her with her cycling skills (specifically with climbing more efficiently and using her gears more effectively), to assess her bike fit, to discuss fueling and daily nutrition to ensure she stays healthy with her training and reaches her performance expectations in training and on race day and to help with swimming mechanics.
Gin is a very strong and fast athlete but she reached out to us for help to address the little things that will help her train smarter so she can train harder.
After the OK from her coach Haley to train with us for 3-days, Gin stayed with us in our home, I prepared all the meals (and made grocery trips as needed to keep her mini fridge stocked with foods that she liked), Karel set her up with a new (and much improved) bike fit and we went to work with three jam-packed days of training based on her needs and fitness level. 
Gin left her train-cation near the mountains with a tired body as we placed a lot of great intentional stress on her body with the following training plan (which was OK'd by her coach Haley to ensure that we were all on the same page, with a team approach to ensure Gin's need's were fully met):
3 hour ride + 3 mile run - AM
3000 yard swim - PM
Bike fit - AM
5 hour ride + 20 min run  - AM/PM


90 min run - AM
2 hour bike - Mid Day 
In between the training sessions we talked about what was learned (or needs improvement) during each session so that she could pass along the info to her coach Haley and of course, there was a great emphasis on rest, fueling/refueling and recovery. 

A private training camp is an efficient, valuable and informative solution for the athlete who has specific limiters which are preventing consistency in training or keeping you from getting to the next level with your fitness.
We work with athletes of all levels (and all sports - swim/bike/run) and regardless if you are coached by us or another coach, our job is to help athletes become stronger, faster, more efficient, smarter and more confident when training and racing.
A hands-on experience with an athlete is one of the most valuable experiences to ensure that you are not bringing bad habits to training, ultimately forcing you to train harder than you need to/should be training. And, by seeing you in action, we can quickly address weaknesses/limiters in your skills or movements.

 Because of where we live (and thanks to Karel having decades of cycling, bike racing and bike mechanic experience) our campers often find that the biggest benefit of training with us is the opportunity to work on bike skills (and fitness) on our challenging (hilly) terrain.

We can build your confidence while cycling - descending, climbing, cornering, riding in the wind. 

We can build your skills while swimming - strengthen your skills for open water.
We can build your running resilience - climbing and descending hills, learning how to run more economical off the bike. 
We can help you fuel and eat smarter.
We can make sure you are in the most efficient position possible on the bike to help you ride stronger, reduce risk for injury and if you are a triathlete, to run better off the bike. 

Here are a few pics from Gin's 3-day training camp: 

Karel talking about how to properly execute the main set of the bike workout on rolling terrain. The focus was on variable cadence, working on slowing down the cadence to control the heart rate and how to pace on rolling terrain. 

Working on climbing efficiently in and out of the saddle.

Working on how to sit properly on the bike with proper hip position, while pushing harder efforts and pedaling efficiently. 

Saying hello to Mr. Lama. 

I told you we have fun too! 

Enjoying the view. 

Swim workout - 30 x 50's with short rest and different toys to prevent fatigue while developing proper swim mechanics. 

A windy day means a great opportunity to practice riding efficiently in the wind. 

Heading to the mountains with a total of ~7000 feet of climbing in our 5-hour bike ride. 

Getting comfortable riding on bumpy roads.

A long, steady climb on the Watershed to N.C., on our way to Flat Rock. 

Quick stop to refill bottles. 

I ran solo on Saturday because our camper was too fast for me and I didn't want to hold her back so Karel put her through a great rolling 90-min run workout and I did intervals on the track as part of my 95 minute long run. 

Last ride of the training camp -  Over 12,000 feet of climbing in 3 rides!

First night dinner - mix of roasted veggies (peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, onion, corn), baked chicken, jasmine rice, quinoa.

My plate (tempeh for me, chicken for Gin and Karel). 

After our normal recovery smoothie (Clif Recovery protein powder + whey protein + 1% Organic milk + cherries + ice/water) we had a light lunch each day. On Thurs we had sandwiches (deli meat for Gin and Karel, cheese and hummus for me with cottage cheese on the side)

Friday night eats after a long day of cycling (and a short run off the bike) - PIZZA from Sidewall Pizza Company

Along with a colorful salad that I made to compliment the pizza. 

Homemade strawberry and date pancakes. I made these before our long run so that they would be ready for after our run workout. The pancakes topped with butter and syrup (and recovery drink) served as refuel from the run and fuel before our 2-hr ride which was around 90 min after we finished the run. 

Send us an email when you are ready for us to plan your private camp (train-cation) in beautiful, bike-friendly Greenville, SC.

We can't wait to work with you to help you become the athlete that you never thought you could be but was always within your capabilities. 


Boston Marathon reflection

It's hard to believe that 10 years ago I was waking up in a Boston hotel room, getting ready to run my 2nd marathon. 
And not just any marathon, THE Boston Marathon. 

As a swimmer, turned runner and then turned triathlete, I didn't fully appreciate the magnitude of being an athlete who had qualified to run in the Boston Marathon.
After I ran the Miami Marathon in 2005 (my first marathon) in a time of 3:38, a friend told me "You Boston qualified!"
No joke, I said "What's Boston?"

It took me a few minutes for it to come to me that I had qualified for the Boston Marathon. It was not a goal of mine as my #1 goal was just to finish my first marathon. The thought of running 26.2 miles was so daunting for my swimmer turned runner body who had never ran more than 6 miles before training for 6 months for my first marathon.

Fast forward to April 2006......
I remember giving my parents a hug and getting on a school bus to be dropped off in Hopkinton with the other thousands and thousands and thousands other runners. It was a long never-ending drive but we finally arrived. I can't remember the weather (I think it was a bit chilly for my Florida body) but I do remember that I was nervous and overwhelmed with all the fast runners around me. 

I had studied the course but the unknown of running on the course was leaving me ancy as I waited and waited and waited for hours until we finally were able to corral at the start line. 

I can remember bits and pieces of the race and my inexperienced body and mind was just taking it all in.
It was everything I thought it would be and more.
I didn't start my blog until the following year so I have no race report to document my Boston Marathon experience. 

I earned my Boston Marathon finisher medal and this race will never be forgotten. Although I am triathlete now, this race will always hold a special place in my heart.
I learned what my body is capable of doing and since then, I have stayed performance-focused, willing to test my limits and work for bigger dreams and goals. 

My dad surprised me with my request of "something salty and sweet" after the marathon. 

To every runner who dreams to run in the Boston Marathon and to those who are running this year (or next), don't forget to thank your body, for all 26.2 miles.
You are so lucky to have a body that allows you to run so fast for so long.
Don't take your running freedom for granted.