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Archive for July, 2011

Last year, when training for the NYC Marathon, I remember my first 16 miler as being a huge step for me. It was a personal distance record, sounded really far (i.e., bragging rights: “I just ran 16 miles, yo”) and was only 10 miles short of the marathon distance.

I thought for the first time, “If I can run 16 that strong, then 26.2 is totally doable!”

16 miles is still one of my favorite distances, and I’m excited to be at the point in training when I get to crack it (and exceed it!). So I set out early on Saturday morning, which was a delightfully pleasant 75 degrees with low humidity at 6:00 a.m. – a picnic compared to last weekend’s slog fest.

I did my usual loop around Central Park and out to Riverside Park for another loop, and returned to CP to meet up with Ali for the last part of the run.

We chatted away the miles, and before I knew it the run was over (though I was totally tempted to keep going with Ali, who had an 18 miler on tap). We parted ways after taking a sweat-tastic photo.

I heat running with this lady!

I was pretty happy with my splits –  my goal for the run was to keep it fairly easy paced and hover around the 9:00 minute/mile range.

 

I usually do about half or a third of my long runs on the bridle path and the rest on the roads, and during the week I tend to stick to the bridle more often unless I’m tempo-ing. But a recent article in the New York Times by Gina Kolata (a runner who often writes about running. I heart her) debates whether running on soft surfaces is actually better for you.

Soft?

Hard?

According to Ms. Kolata, there are limited studies on actual runners and injury rate on soft surface vs. hard, and there’s no actual proof that soft surfaces can prevent injuries. Some can even cause them because of uneven surfaces increasing risk for things like rolled ankles or falls.

Still, I’m not completely sold. I’m pretty injury prone, and last year did a lot of my marathon training on the bridle and managed to stay healthy. I think that’s definitely worth something!

However, I do see the importance of running on the roads too – most races are on roads, so it’s important that our bodies are used to running on them. I guess like a lot of things, balance is key.

And of course, getting to the starting line healthy and in one piece.

On long run days I always crave pizza, and decided to make a super easy version with some whole wheat flatbread, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and tons of veggies.

It only took about 10 minutes in the oven – easiest dinner ever!

Delicious.

Of course it needed to be followed by 16 Handles

I promise there is froyo underneath the toppings and that I demolished every ounce of this massive creation.

Congrats to everyone who raced yesterday and good luck to everyone racing today!

Question: Hard surfaces, or soft? What’s your favorite distance to run?

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I was all ready to write about how exhausted I’ve been this week (which I guess is still kind of the case), but this morning’s run totally energized me. We had a big group this morning – Ali, Susan, Megan, Meggie, Maria and Tracy’s sister – and these ladies just invigorated me.

Pounding out the miles whilst chatting away, I forgot about the long week and overall fatigue I’d been feeling. Almost like it flew out of me as the miles passed, and by the time I waved goodbye to the gals I was so ready to take on the day. I heart running buddies 🙂

But seriously, this week has been dragging. Every day I’ve been all, “OMG it’s only Monday??” “OMG it’s only Tuesday???” and “OMG it’s only Wednesday????”

I also kind of think my butt may be partially glued to my chair at work. We’ve been super busy lately (aren’t summers supposed to be slow? I don’t think the PR world got that memo.), and that paired with a little thing called marathon training has made me exponentially wiped this week.

Usually when things get busy my routine gets pretty monotonous – run, eat, work, eat, work, eat, work/school, sleep. Repeat. Not because I’m that boring, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy to do anything else. And sometimes routine is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Plus, making weekday plans is tiring. Carrying through with plans? Even more tiring. Catching up on the Real Housewives? Mind-numbingly perfect.

But monotony can also result in a pretty cranky (and yeah, boring) Kelly. Especially when LuAnne’s new single gets stuck in my head.

So I’ve been trying to balance chill nights with other activities, usually involving eating. Which is never a bad thing.

Tuesday night my friend Kelly and I met at Blossom, another awesome vegan spot in Chelsea.

Sweet Potato Rolls stuffed with shredded coconut, jicama, carrot, red and yellow peppers, scallions, and avocado, with an almond ginger dipping sauce

Blossom Greens mixed greens, sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, jicama, carrots, tamari-toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a ginger teriyaki lime dressing

Vegetable Mezze Plate roasted fennel, brussels sprouts, sweet potato puree, sautéed kale, and tri-color cauliflower, accompanied by spiced quinoa

I was kind of bummed they didn’t have any carrot cake (because vegan carrot cake is my favorite!) but the Blossom Cheesecake was a decent alternative

The service was terrible, but Kelly and I had lots to catch up on so we didn’t mind that much. And it sure beat a night on my couch involving crazy Ramona mainlining pinot grigio.

Question: Do you consciously balance chilling out with other activities/plans? I’m a ridiculous planner, but sometimes I think I’m too anal about scheduling “chill time.”

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I never thought I would be so happy to see 70 degrees on the thermometer at 5:45 a.m., but it almost made me cry tears of joy this morning.

My legs didn’t feel quite as happy about it, but I made it through a 7.25 mile tempo run that was just a bit slower than I had wanted.

But let’s talk about last week – no groundbreaking workouts, just a whole ‘lotta sweaty miles.

  • Monday: rest, 50 minutes easy vinyasa yoga
  • Tuesday: 7.1 miles; 2×1 mile repeats (7:39, 7:43)
  • Wednesday: 7.75 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7.1 miles easy
  • Friday: 5 miles easy, 15 minutes elliptical, lifting
  • Saturday: 12.5 hot, sweaty miles
  • Sunday: 6.25 miles easy

Total: 45.7 miles. Meh, I’m happy it’s done and overwith. Onward and upward!

Corey tagged me in a 7 links game that’s going around the blog world, and I’m kind of a sucker for stuff like this. So here goes.

THE GOAL

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

 THE RULES

  1. Blogger is nominated to take part
  2. Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category
  3. Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part
  4. These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
  5. And so it goes on!
  6. They’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Most Beautiful

This is kind of a weird category, no? I’d have to say my most beautiful post was also the one that made me the most sad to write.

 In June, my great-grandma (called Nonna) passed away, and it was devastating.

She was everything to my family – chef, matriarch, authority figure, teacher, mentor, and most importantly, the source of so many laughs and so much love. I miss her every day.

 Most Popular

Almost every day some visitors land on one of these three posts:

And it makes my heart happy, because the reason I wrote them is to help other people learn about the risks, symptoms and causes of serious blood clots through sharing my experience.

Pulmonary embolisms kill one in three people that get them. And since I was one of the lucky ones to survive, I’ve made it a mission to help anyone and everyone realize that both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism can indeed happen to anyone. Here’s a recent interview I did with FoxNews.com talking about my experience (I’m super famous…)

 Most Controversial

I’m not really very controversial on the bloggy, it turns out. I guess whenever I talk about nutrition-related things people have their own opinions, but I’ve never really felt that anything I’ve said has cause controversy, per say.

 Most Helpful

I like to think the posts I write about nutrition are helpful! I love sharing my thoughts and learnings with ya’ll, and think these posts in particular have gotten great feedback:

 Surprise Success

In February I wrote a post detailing out the foods I ate in one day.

I didn’t think it was going to be very exciting, but then the Fage peeps got ahold it (and my multiple mentions of massive Fage consumption), and posted it on their Facebook page that had about 100,000 fans.

And zoom went my readership for that day! Thanks, Fage. Can I have some free yogurt now?

Not Enough Attention

Even after a year of blogging, I’m still surprised you all actually read this thing 🙂 Any attention you pay to Meals for Miles at all, I love and thank you for it!

Most Proud

I didn’t even have to think about this one – my NYC Marathon recap from last year!

I had deferred from the marathon in 2008 and 2009 because of injury, and at times never thought I’d actually get to run the damn thing. But 2010 was my year, and it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.

Ryan Hall and I, just hangin’ out…

The best cheering squad ever!

I loved every second in every borough, and can’t wait to do it again this year!

This little exercise was actually fun – I liked thinking through what I’ve done and written about recently. It’s almost like looking back through a diary, but not all of the dirty details (some things are better left unsaid on the interwebz and therefore most of the free world, ya hear?).

Question: Do you go back and read your blog, journal or diary often? If you don’t have one, how do you keep your memories?

Also, I’m not tagging anyone here because I think a lot of ya’ll have done this already, but feel free to play along if you haven’t!

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Hope everyone is managing to stay cool this weekend!

“Ugh” is how I would describe the last couple of days, including Saturday morning’s long run.

Or just “hot as balls.”

I woke up at 5:42 a.m. and it was already 84 degrees outside, but I knew the run needed to get done and that I could do it if I took it slow.

So I had a banana with a little chocolate peanut butter and a sprinkle of salt (in anticipation of a TON of sweat loss)

Stretched, grabbed my bottle of frozen Gatorade and left my apartment before I could convince myself otherwise.

Not gonna lie, the run was rough. I kept the pace super easy, which is probably the only reason I made it through and finished fairly strong.

Much slower than any long run I’ve had in a while, but I’ll take it. I think toughing it out during runs like this really help build us up mentally for hard races. I know I’ll remember this one in particular during, oh, mile 24 on November 6.

I was a sweat machine by the time I got home – literally my socks were sloshing in my shoes and I was dripping everywhere. A lot of Gatorade was necessary.

And so was an ice bath, followed by the usual – Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter and berries

Besides the promise of air conditioning and a delicious breakfast, visions of visiting the UES’ new Fairway helped get me through the run and gave me something to look forward to.

Basically, it’s everything I dreamed of and more. I visited Fairway on the day it opened and got a few things, but Saturday I aimed to get more of my usual stuff.

And I seriously die for the produce section – fresh and delivered daily

Everything was so organized! I also love the coffee section, where you can pick out what kind of beans you want and have them freshly ground.

I was kind of worried Fairway wouldn’t have all of the foods I usually get at Whole Foods, but they do and then some.

Tons of fresh fish with reasonable prices

And a large selection of Barbara’s cereals (namely Peanut Butter Puffins, which I’m slightly obsessed with…)

It may be weird to (still) be this excited about a grocery store, but having a place like this so easily accessible is such a change for me. And I guess you all know by now that I get super jazzed about food-related things 🙂

It was really strange not going to Whole Foods this weekend, and I kind of feel like I’m cheating on it (him?). But I’ll still visit every once and a while – nothing beats the Whole Foods salad bar!

When I gave the check out girl my reusable bags (from Whole Foods) to use, she gave me a free Fairway one instead.

Good job, Fairway marketing peeps.

The rest of my day involved not going outside for longer than 10 minutes, hydrating and having a delicious and fun dinner/froyo date 🙂

Question: Did you run long this weekend? How’d it go?

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Dear oppressive heat and humidity:

Running with you is pure misery. In fact, I think I hate you. Please go away.

Thanks, Kelly

I’m totally jumping on the bandwagon and complaining about the weather. Because it’s THAT bad. I swapped a planned tempo run Thursday morning with an easy 7 miles because I knew anything speedy might very well kill me.

The run went fine, except I was literally dripping sweat everywhere when I got back to my apartment.

It literally looked like I had jumped into the reservoir. And then peed myself a little.

This morning I ran a steamy 5 ish miles with Ali, Megan and Maria before heading to the air conditioned gym for some lifting. It was 85 degrees in Central Park at 6:00 a.m. – major props to Ali, who was banging out her 16 miler before the weekend!

I usually look forward to long runs on the weekend, but must say I’m kind of dreading mine tomorrow morning. Luckily, it’s a cut back week and I’ve only got 12 on the schedule.

Like everyone should in this heat, I’m paying extra attention to my fluid intake and making sure I get enough fluids and electrolytes (bring on the salt!) to keep me hydrated. Check out my post on hydration in case you missed it last week!

Last night my pal Darby was in town (she got married a few weeks ago!), and she requested a fun dinner spot. We hit up Sojourn, a little restaurant specializing in small plates on the Upper East Side.

We each got salads – I had the arugula salad with toasted almonds, granny smith apples, blue cheese, lemon vinaigrette

And then we shared a few small plates – seared diver scallops with leek and potato puree, corn and braised green onions and seared asparagus with lemon and olive oil

It was all delicious. And we had room for dessert, so of course I had to take Darb to 16 Handles.

It was the perfect treat for an insanely, obnoxiously hot evening.

We are sweaty but full of froyo.

A few more days of this heat and we should be feeling some relief. Here’s hoping the power stays on and we all keep cool!

Hope everyone has a good weekend 🙂

Question: What’s your favorite way to stay cool in this heat? Do you still run in it? I heart froyo, obviously. And I’m still running outside, but making sure to take it slow and hydrate!

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Holy heat and humidity, batman.

The forecast for NYC just keeps getting worse this week – it’s so dang hot! I *almost* convinced myself to bag my planned mile repeats on Tuesday morning, but then the badass voice in my head said:

“no. DO IT. Let’s see what you’re made of, fool.”

It’s true, I call myself a fool sometimes. And it almost worked – I made it through 2 mile repeats, instead of the planned 3, before succumbing to the heat and easing the pace up for the rest of my run.

2 miles warm up, 2 mile repeats (7:39, 7:43) with 3 minutes in between and 3 miles cooldown for a total of 7.1 miles.

I was ok with this – I like pushing myself and am getting better at it, but I know when to back off in cases like extreme crazy heat.

This morning’s run was an easy 7.75 miles with Lindsay, Megan and Natalie, which seemed to take every ounce of energy I had in my body. I have no idea how people deal with weather like this for months on end!

Breakfast – Kashi Heart to Heart, berries, skim milk

Ya’ll know by now that I love grocery stores. But here’s something you may not know.

Since moving to NYC almost five years ago, I’ve trekked to Whole Foods Union Square from the Upper East Side (my ‘hood) every Saturday for my groceries. And schlepped giant, heavy bags of goodies on the subway.

Which may contribute to lower back problems later in life…

But it was always worth it to me – delicious, quality produce, reasonable prices (I swear, Whole Foods is cheaper than other grocery stores in NYC) and amazing selections of fresh, whole foods.

My Whole Foods trips on Saturdays are something I look forward to. I know the store like the back of my hand and have a favorite fish guy (and one that I hate because he always questions my single portion orders. I AM SINGLE. THANK YOU FOR NOTICING).

But today, my friends, this will all change.

Because the Upper East Side now has it’s very own Fairway.

Fairway, for you non-NYCers, is a phenomenal grocery store with only two Manhattan locations – Upper West Side and Harlem. It’s an institution, even.

And now we have one!!

Our new little piece of heaven opens officially at 11:00 a.m. today, and will have “daily-delivered produce direct from the source, the largest selection of specialty and imported items, artisanal oils and vinegars including Fairway’s own exclusive imported barrel olive oils, a full line of natural and organic produce, foods, and health and beauty aids, traditional groceries, kosher foods, more than 600 artisanal cheeses, true New York deli and appetizing, made from scratch breads and pastries, Fairway’s famous hand-rolled bagels, Fairway’s own imported and premises-roasted coffee beans, the freshest seafood the ocean has to offer, the highest quality custom-cut USDA Prime meats from our in-house Butcher Shop and so much more.”

They’ll also have the first ever “Fairway to Go,” with chef-made prepared foods and Fairway’s own coffee.

My life has forever changed. I’m not even exaggerating. And I’m counting the hours until I get out of work and can check out my new home away from home myself.

Question: Do you get THIS excited about grocery stores? How the heck do you deal with the heat and humidity?

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Happy Monday!

A lot of miles last week, including an excellent long run on Saturday, and a jam-packed weekend with my sister results in a very tired Kelly. I kind of feel like I need a weekend for my weekend, but it was a great one.

Sister and I hit up a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try forever – Colicchio and Sons. It’s one of Tom Colicchio’s newer restaurants, and we had high hopes for a delicious, memorable meal.

Grilled octopus with endive, citrus & chorizo vinaigrette (we split this)

Butter poached halibut with spring onion, macadamia nut & fava bean ravioli

Caramel cream donuts with chocolate pudding, stewed blueberries & vanilla ice cream

The plates were kind of on the large size, but the portions definitely were not. Which is fine for a normal person, but I was HUNGRY. Marathon training has already turned me into a ravenous beast of sorts, and I probably could have eaten twice as much!

But everything was delicious, the service attentive but not annoying and the atmosphere A+. I’d definitely go back, maybe just not after a long run. 🙂

After dinner we met Tracy and Sara for a drink at the rooftop beer garden at Eataly, Birreria. The wait was a little obnoxious, but I managed to a). have fun and b). not fall asleep at the bar. And my sister managed to smile and nod when the conversation segued to running (she’s not a runner but an excellent cheerleader/spectator!). All important components to a successful night!

The Empire State building was red, white and blue for the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer match on Sunday. I’m sad they lost, but holy crap what an awesome game! Who knew soccer was so exciting?

Anyways, here’s how last week’s running went down.

  • Monday: XT: 40 minutes spin bike, 25 minutes elliptical, lifting
  • Tuesday: 7.2 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 8 miles
  • Thursday: 7.25 miles, 3 @ tempo pace
  • Friday: 4.85 miles, 20 minutes elliptical and lifting
  • Saturday: 15 miles, last ~6 at GMP
  • Sunday: 6 miles easy

Total: 48.4 miles

It was the first week I’ve included 6 days of running, which I’m going to try to do for most of this plan. Like Megan said in her last post, if you want to be a better, faster runner, you have to run. I’m really happy with how the week went and am feeling pretty good after a lot of strong runs.

This week is a cutback week, which couldn’t come at a better time…

(source)

Ew. I foresee a lot of sweat in my future.

Question: What would you rather have at a restaurant – delicious food and great service but small portions, or ginormous portions with so-so food and iffy service? I’d mostly pick the first option, unless it’s after a 20 mile run!

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My sister is visiting this weekend – hooray!

So of course before she could even get completely settled at my apartment, I had to bring her to the Holy Grail of the Upper East Side (well, at least until Wednesday WHEN WE GET OUR VERY OWN FAIRWAY! Not that I’m excited or anything.)

And as it would be, 16 Handles was out of the small sized cups. We had no problem filling up the medium sized ones instead. NOM.

I took Friday off to hang with the sis and do some fun New Yorky things.

The Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met was amazeballs (and totally worth the 1.5 hour wait). I actually haven’t been to the Met since I moved to NYC almost five years ago, which is kind of ridiculous since it’s located, um, basically on my street. I think it’s the tourists that scare me away.

After the exhibit we traipsed up Madison and shopped. And shopped. And tried on many shoes at the Barney’s sale that I would never be able to walk in in real life.

Birkenstocks > Louboutin?

We worked up quite an appetite, and sister humored me be allowing me to take her to one of my favorite vegan restaurants – Peacefood Cafe. I think it’s my mission in life to get people to like vegan restaurants as much as I do (even though I’ll never actually become vegan. Homegirl likes Greek yogurt far too much).

We shared nachos with homemade black bean sauce, salsa, guacamole topped with black olives & melted daiya vegan cheese

And then I had the Asian greens salad with seasonal baby Asian vegetables, mixed sprouts, shredded carrots, tomatoes, marinated & baked tempeh, ground peanuts, in a garlic, ginger, cilantro, ponsu & sesame dressing

I ordered the salad as my entree for a very specific reason – I am slightly obsessed with vegan carrot cake and wanted to make sure I had room for some.

OMG so delicious. And it turned out to be perfect fuel for my long run the next morning.

I set out with a goal of 4-5 fast finish miles at the end of the run, but felt awesome about halfway through so I pushed the pace a little early. As I was rounding the southern end of the park around mile 11 I ran into Ali, and after watching runners start a 4 mile race in CP, we hauled arse up Cat hill and around the bridle to finish our long runs together.

Honestly, this run felt awesome. I think Ali and I ran into each other at the perfect time, because we pushed each other through the last few miles at a great pace that felt pretty easy because we chatted through it. Visit Ali’s blog for an awesome, sweaty picture of us. 🙂

My runner’s high today is at 120%. Perfect for another day of shopping, eating and fun-having.

Question: Do you run with buddies?  Do you think they help/hinder your running? I heart them, and don’t know if I could get through some runs without ’em! Also, have you ever had vegan carrot cake? YOU HAVE TO TRY IT.

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This week is flying by!

On Wednesday I ran about 8 miles with AliLindsayMegan and Susan – I heart running with these ladies! It was a bit speedier than my usual easy run, so I wasn’t sure if it would effect how this morning’s tempo run would go.

I guess I should think more positively, because it went well! It was gorgeous – 65, no humidity – and I felt great.

The goal was 2 miles warm up, 3 miles at about 7:55 pace and 2 miles cool down.

I felt good enough to push it past the third tempo mile and maintain around my goal marathon pace for the last part of the run – hooray! Now if only every summer morning were like this one…

Favorite breakfast – Ezekiel sprouted grain cinnamon raisin toast, raspberries, blueberries and peanut butter. NOM.

You may be sick of pictures of my breakfasts, but I still haven’t found the motivation to cook any new and exciting recipes – partly due to the fact that it’s been pretty hot out and I’m avoiding my oven like the plague, and partly because I’ve just been so darn busy.

But I have been reading up on my nutrition news, and one recent study is causing me to have a sad.

The study looked at whether limiting access to fast food restaurants and increasing access to supermarkets in low-income neighborhoods improved fruit and vegetable consumption and overall diet.

The answer has to be yes, right?

Not so much.

The study found greater supermarket availability was not related to diet quality and fruit and vegetable intake (sad), but fast food consumption was related to availability and proximity to fast food restaurants in low-income study participants (not surprising).

I guess it would be too easy to build more supermarkets in low income areas, expect people to completely change their habits and buy tons of fresh produce. I think the problem with this tactic is the old, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” saying.

You can’t just plop a supermarket in a new area and expect people to understand what to buy that is good for their health, how to prepare and incorporate these foods into their diets and how to do it cost effectively.

I’m sure these supermarkets also sold tons of processed, cheap foods, which probably seem easier to buy and eat than fresh produce.

Clearly, education is also needed to help people actually change their behavior and their diets. I’m always thinking about what I want to do when I’m finally a dietitian (if the powers that be love me at all, it will be within a year or so!), and one thing I would love to do is supermarket education. Or basically, shopping with people and helping them pick out their foods and making sure they know what to do with them.

I mean, my one of my favorite things to do is go to Whole Foods.

It’s like my Disneyland. And helping other people like it as much as I do (or even half as much)? Awesome.

Just how will I do this? Well, I’ve got a year to figure it out…

Question: How close do you live to a grocery store? Do you think it effects your diet? Do you like grocery shopping?

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Happy Tuesday, friends.

It is steamy in NYC! I woke up at 5:30 a.m. this morning to 80 degrees and a gazillion percent humidity and knew a tempo run would not be the best idea, so I switched it with Thursday’s easy 7.25 miler. This will be the first tweak of many to this year’s  plan!

But the important thing: week 1 of NYC Marathon training = done. Here’s how it went down.

  • Monday: 50 minutes easy vinyasa yoga
  • Tuesday: 8 miles easy with Megan
  • Wednesday: 3×1 mile repeats, total 7.2 miles
  • Thursday: 7.6 miles with Natalie; 50 minutes PM vinyasa class at my gym
  • Friday: XT: 40 minutes spinning, 25 minutes elliptical, lifting & core work
  • Saturday: 15.25 miles with Ali, Lindsay and Megan
  • Sunday: 6 miles easy

Total: 44 miles

I’m feelin’ pretty good after this first week and looking forward to the next 16 🙂

A ton of people are gearing up for fall races right about now, and whether we’ve just starting our training plans (me!) or are already a few weeks into them, we’ll all be getting a lot of miles in during the warm summer months.

Which makes me want to get all preachy on hydration.

(source)

Hydration status can not only make or break a run, but can cause serious health problems if not taken, well, seriously.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends water losses due to sweating during exercise be replaced at a “rate close to or equal to the body’s sweating rate.” This is pretty individualized, and we can figure out our sweat rates by weighing ourselves before and after a run (a 60 minute run is standard). The difference between the two is our sweat rate.

The ACSM also recommends drinking fluids before, during and after running to help keep the body hydrated. I guess this seems like a no-brainer, huh?

Drink, and you will not get dehydrated. Duh. Here’s an article from Runner’s World that breaks down when to drink what, and how much.

But something I don’t think a lot of articles or information focuses on is overhydration, or drinking too much fluids. This can dilute the body’s sodium stores, which is extremely dangerous.

I know first-hand, because I experienced it during training for last year’s NYC Marathon.

(I ran and finished, so we all know this story ends well!)

I set out for a 16 miler on a hot, humid morning and drank very diluted Gatorade during the run. I also had some, ahem, extreme stomach issues, and that coupled with a high sweat rate caused my body to lose a ton of electrolytes. Drinking just water to rehydrate didn’t cut it – I needed to replace the electrolytes I lost!

Even with my nutrition background, this didn’t register in my head because I was so worried about preventing dehydration. I wasn’t listening to my body, and I kept drinking water when I got home because I thought I was dehydrated.

I started getting dizzy, had a terrible headache and felt disoriented. Long story short and a trip to the ER later, I learned I was actually suffering from hyponatremia and my body’s sodium levels were dangerously low.

So, how can you prevent this?

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If your stomach feels full or you can feel water sloshing around in it, don’t force yourself to drink. The body does a great job regulating it’s fluid balance – we just need to listen to it. Keep hydration top of mind before, during and after your runs, but be smart about how you’re feeling too.

SIP. Sipping fluids throughout your run is recommended over gulping larger amounts in a short time period – your body can use it more efficiently this way.

SPORTS DRINKS like Gatorade contain electrolytes that help you rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes, especially after a sweaty long run.

SALT. Salt is also something I make sure to get enough of. The ACSM says athletes performing prolonged exercise should ingest snacks or fluids containing sodium to help offset the loss of salt in sweat, in an effort to prevent hyponatremia.

(source)

I find having half a salt packet before and half after my long runs helps. I also like to eat more pretzels and have saltier snacks when in heavy training.

The lesson for marathoners: salt is our friend!

For me, my hydration plan depends on the kind of run I’m planning. For most runs less than 10 miles, I’ll have a cup of water before my run and maybe take  a few sips from the water fountains in Central Park if I need to during the run.

Afterwards, I’ll rehydrate with more water and a few sips of Gatorade.

(source)

For long runs, my plan is a bit different. I have a few sips of Gatorade and some water before the run, along with a little bit of salt with my pre-run snack – banana and peanut butter.

I take a bottle of 1/2 water, 1/2 Gatorade with me and sip it slowly throughout the run (and grab a few sips from the fountains too, if I need them!). I also take a gel for extra electrolytes and carbs for runs longer than 18 miles or so.

Then I rehydrate with a little more Gatorade, water and coconut water when I get home and throughout the day.

(source)

Coconut water is great for rehydrating because it has tons of electrolytes (especially potassium!), which we need to replace after super sweaty runs.

I can’t emphasize enough that this plan works for me. Hydration is so individualized – what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. The key is experimenting (safely) and figuring out what works for you.

I just wanted to share my not-so-great experience in hopes that it will help ya’ll hydrate safely this summer.

Question: How do you hydrate? Do you have a specific plan? Please share your thoughts!

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