Mine started out with 6.5 quick (8:19/mile avg pace!), chilly miles in Central Park – the legs are feelin’ great, which is excellent timing because I really need running to keep me sane for the next couple of weeks.
I may not be posting/commenting as much as usual because of finals, final projects and daily nervous breakdowns because of said finals and projects (oh yes, and that thing called my job too…). But only a couple more weeks and I have some exciting posts planned with all of the glorious free time I’ll have 🙂
So I’ll leave you with some thoughts I had after attending a seminar and Q&A last week on “Breaking in to Sports Nutrition,” with Andrea Chernus, MS, RD, CDE. Chernus recently co-authored the book Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance, and she is (much to my excitement) involved with NYRR and the NYC Marathon as part of their sports nutrition team.
Being a runner and soon-to-be RD, sports nutrition is obviously an area that I’m thinking of getting into at some point in my dietetics career, and I was excited to hear what she had to say.
What interested me the most about Andrea’s talk is that even now, nutrition counseling and medical nutrition therapy are still a fairly new thing that colleges, universities, recreational/competitive sports teams and even some professional sports are just getting in to.
It’s crazy to think how two things that naturally seem to fit together – sports and nutrition – have taken so long to become well-known partners in great training and recovery regimens.
When Andrea began her career in sports nutrition, she essentially had to create her own job within the athletics department at Columbia University! She told us that many other RDs are still approaching schools and colleges about having an on-staff dietitian for athletes, but that slowly but surely the benefits of proper nutrition in relation to performance and recovery are spreading.
A lot of pro sports teams do have on-staff dietitians (can you imagine teaching a big, burly football player about vegetables? Hehe), and today she counsels all kinds of athletes and dancers about nutrition to enhance their performance.
She emphasized the importance of understanding the nuances of many different sports in order to counsel athletes effectively – for example, a runner needs a different proportion of carbs/fats/protein than a golfer or baseball player. The fact that there is so much to learn about nutrition needs for each different sport fascinates me.
(I know, nutrition nerd flag raised high).
As someone that is fully entrenched in nutrition and running, I know what an important component nutrition is to every single training run, and how it can make or break a race in an instant.
But if I had no nutrition education?
Homegirl would be totally confused about everything – carbs (When to load? What kind of carbs? What ARE carbs?), fat (Bad? Good?), hydration (Water vs. Gatorade? Salt?) – you get the picture. Which just makes me wonder how the millions of recreational/competitive athletes out there with the “normal” amount of nutrition knowledge learn to fuel their training/workouts successfully.
I think every kind of athlete at any age can benefit immensely from nutrition counseling – especially if they want to explore new ways to run faster, kick harder, flip higher, etc., but let’s face it – it’s expensive!
So a question for you guys – if you’re an athlete now, do you use any sort of nutrition plan as part of your training? Where do you get your nutrition information from?
Another question: If you were a college/high school athlete, did you ever work with a dietician?