Monday Medical: Training — from food to fitness |

Monday Medical: Training — from food to fitness

Cara A. Marrs/For the Steamboat Today

Want to run your first race, register for a triathlon or enter a bike race? No matter what your plans are, here are some tips for success.

■ Consider your current fitness level and lifestyle and set a realistic goal. Is your goal to run your first race, set a personal record or place on the podium?

■ There is a natural physical progression to any sport, and it's important that you respect this. Understand the distance and terrain and what equipment is needed, and then slowly build mileage to avoid injury.

■ Is the course hilly or flat? Will the race be held on the road or trails? Train according to terrain and time of day the event will occur.

■ Stick to a training schedule. This will help you track your progress. Keep a daily exercise journal and work with a coach or a training group.

■ Add variety to your training to keep it interesting and fresh. Take a Pilates, yoga or Barre fit class to enhance core strength and balance. Add Crossfit or Manic training to increase strength and agility.

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■ Wear the proper gear, carry a cellphone, have identification and always let someone know where you will be.

■ Rest is crucial for repairing and rebuilding muscle. On recovery days, get a massage or acupuncture or visit a physical therapist for preventive care. Schedule recovery days to help your immune system and bolster mental and physical health.

■ One of the most important training components is diet. The ideal performance diet is something you follow daily, not just on race day.

Look at your food as enjoyable fuel. Eating well will regulate blood glucose and increase performance. Eat a diet high in whole foods and skip the processed foods. At every meal, include a healthy carbohydrate, a good protein and a healthy fat and hydrate throughout the day.

Before exercise

1/2 to 3/4 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup berries

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1 tablespoon ground walnuts

Add 4 ounces of yogurt for a longer event

During exercise

Varies depending on the length of exercise. A good guide is 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrate every hour after the first hour. Try gels, chews, sports drinks or fruit and add protein for endurance events

After exercise snack

Within 30 minutes after your event, ingest some carbohydrates and protein, such as a smoothie with milk, protein powder (whey, rice, hemp), berries, flaxseed, Chia seeds and kale; dates and pistachios; or bananas and almond butter.

After exercise meal

Within two hours after the event, eat a meal with complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats for recovery, such as wuinoa with black beans, veggies, avocado, pumpkin seeds and flax; or tortilla, chicken, hummus, mixed veggies and avocado.

Protein will help with muscle recovery and rebuilding. Carbohydrates will restore glycogen stores used during exercise. Healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties.


If your exercise session lasts less than one hour, stick to water for hydration. If you are exercising more than an hour, add in some electrolytes.

Lastly, have fun and enjoy yourself. Learn from any mistakes, and celebrate when you're finished. You did it!

Cara Marrs is a registered dietitian at Yampa Valley Medical Center and Align Wellness. She also is a race director for the Steamboat Springs Running Series.

Training tips

■ Training is the time to try out what products work for you.

■ Your training cycle is not the time to do a cleanse, fast or try a restrictive diet.

■ While training, eat quality, whole food. Do not wait until you are too hungry and then grab convenience junk food.

■ Avoid fad diets and gimmicks.

What you put into your body is what you get out.