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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "Training tip"

The patient athlete

Marni Sumbal

First Triathlon  2003
Ironman Wisconsin 2010

Ironman World Championship 2011


Are you a goal setter? Do you keep your eye on the prize day in and day out? My life functions the best with goals. I wake up excited to see what the day may bring and I go to bed, anxious for another opportunity tomorrow. I would assume that if you read this blog, you are motivated and passionate about health and fitness and I hope that you are spreading your wonderful energy to your friends and family in order to inspire others to live a more balanced active and healthy lifestyle.

In the case of making progress as an athlete - such as building endurance, speed, confidence, mental toughness and skills, it takes a lot of work and much like studying for an exam, you can't cram for a race in 1 week and expect great results. You may be able to fake your performance (unlikely in longer distance races) but the body is not going to retain much after the race. You have to be patient and not always do things happen when you'd like for them to happen.

There is a lot of continuous work that goes into great race day performance and the work is not always achieved in one season or in a few months. It takes a lot of effort to reach goals and many times, impatience keeps athletes from reaching what is very possible in the mind and in the heart.

We all know how to push when we are about to break and often times, we make progress this way. But then there are times when we push and make no progress and instead, move backwards. Not sure about you but I wouldn't want to be in a marathon and move  backwards when everyone is moving forward. The same thought applies to training. We each have our own ways to move forward but get caught up with rushing the process as to the "best" way or being like others and so, while others move closer to their goals by doing things their way, you may find yourself struggling to keep up. The mind may be strong but the body is tired, exhausted and burn out. Does too much too soon come to mind? Or perhaps, fear-based training?

Every athlete and fitness enthusiast will have set backs in life, set backs with fitness and set backs with goal reaching. Much like the satisfaction you get when you have a fantastic workout and physically feel yourself pushing to a higher limit, this same enjoyment should come from overcoming obstacles when you never thought that you could not succeed. By being patient, not only will you enjoy your great workouts even more but you will not feel overwhelmed when setbacks come into your path.

In training for 6 Ironmans (Placid being #6 in 6.5 weeks), I have learned that there is no "perfect" way to train for an Ironman. At the end of the day, you have to be patient with the process and most of all, you have to enjoy it. Many athletes, regardless of sport or distance of choice (racing or participating) have been limited in personal success because rather than accepting the progress that has been (and is still being) made, they search inside and out (thanks to social media/blogs/books/articles) for a faster, better or easier approach. New equipment,  a different fit on the bike, different nutrition, extreme changes in training...just a few that come to mind.

I think many active individuals (runners, triathletes) would feel comfortable using the title "type A" at times when it comes to training, racing, the diet, work and life.

" Type A personalities may have traits that lead to better performances in life and sport. Type A personalities generally have higher need for achievements and their behavior pattern is often associated with the success of an entrepreneur.

(Reference here)

Since I started competitive swimming at the age of 10 or 11, I have always lived my life as an athlete. My brain is trained to perform daily and because of that, there is not struggle to workout everyday (or move my body). I don't consider myself an athlete who stresses or over analyzes races, for my competitive spirit often desires the opportunity to be beat by those who are faster than me in order to help me push myself to be better. I try to look at the positives in every race rather than determining my success based on a finish place or time.

Because of my natural desire to be challenged in life, I have learned to enjoy the journey of reaching goals. The best journey is when you have your eyes set on a goal but you enjoy the journey more than the thought of even reaching that goal. Reaching the goal then becomes a bonus.

 If you know me well, I am an open book when it comes to goals and I am not afraid to talk about my goals and how hard I am willing to work for them. I've blogged about wanting to qualify for Kona at my Ironman's and other personal goals with my career.  I firmly believe that life has not been easy for me. Sports, school, life....I have encountered many struggles, obstacles and set-backs while trying to reach my goals.

So, therefore...patience is the most powerful weapon that I can carry with me in my journey of life.

If you are impatient and wish time to fly by, it's likely that you will struggle with reaching goals. Accumulation of hard work leads to great performances. Life, work, sports...even if you work hard but are impatient you will find yourself trying to take short-cuts or too many risks to try to progress too quickly.

You don't have to be an athlete to carry the unfortunate trait of impatience. Want to lose weight quickly? The fitness/supplement/diet industry can help you with that. Quick fixes and extreme efforts sell well. Instant gratification is what our society thrives off of as very few people desire to be the tortoise when you can be the hare. When people want results yesterday, it's no surprise that something that can be accomplished quickly is much more fulfilling than something that takes time to achieve.
Some progress is better than no progress. But if you have a goal and don't see extreme results in a week or two, how long will it take you to forget your goal and move on to another method to see if "that way" will be faster. Bouncing around from attempt after attempt is nothing more than feeling defeated by a challenge without realizing your true potential to achieve success.

There are no short cuts in life. I learned this about a year after obtaining my Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology.
Wanting to do more with nutrition for active bodies and desiring to take my passion for public speaking and writing to the next level, I was told by many that I would need to obtain a Registered Dietitian credential to be qualified and licensed to "practice" nutrition.

For three years, I was forced to be patient. You can't rush time, especially when it comes to education. Unlike sports, doing more and wanting it now was not going to happen. The saying quality of quantity could not have been more true than during my 10 month dietetic internship. I learned more than I ever imagined and my initial dreams of having my own business and taking my passion for speaking to the next level were combined with a new love of clinical nutrition.

Throughout my dietetic journey, I also realized the true value of patience. Hard work in both sport and life will pay off but you can't expect results tomorrow if you haven't put in the time to learn lessons, to overcome obstacles, to feel defeat and perhaps, become someone who you never imagined you could be.


Life is not easy. I see nothing wrong with "I can't" being part of your vocabulary because you are acknowledging that something may not be possible that you are thinking about trying. But...how do you know it isn't possible if you don't try and get started now?

I have never allowed can't (for I have said it many times) to override "I can."

If there are any takeaways from this blog post, my hope is that you will never give up on your goals. Its much better to achieve a goal in 1,2 or 10 years than to think to yourself in 1,2 or 10 years....."what if I only tried a bit harder to be more patient with my approach and never gave up."


Train smarter to reach success faster

Marni Sumbal


Back in September 2012, I spoke to a group of active women on the topics of eating and nutrition and performing beautifully. The focus of the talk wasn't to tell people what to do to reach performance goals or to lose weight but rather how to be smarter in the action steps or thought process to reach personal goals. If you are interested in checking out my recap of the event, here is the first of a series of blogs on the lecture. 

Not too long ago, I went to Iowa to talk to a group of runners at their annual banquet on the topic of "common mistakes made by runners - "how to train smarter to reach success faster." The event went better than I thought because I had no idea how many runners struggled with understanding topics such as designing a personalized training plan, how to understand and use training gadgets and how to focus on other aspects in life that can positively impact training/fitness gains beyond just focusing on the training miles. 

So, now that I am recognizing that triathletes and runners are becoming more and more overwhelmed, confused and exhausted by the sport....and everything that comes with it (training gadgets, gear, plans, sport nutrition, daily nutrition, stretching, strength training, sleep, mile-obsessed, periodized training)....I am trying to do my best to help others better understand how to train smarter to reach success faster. 

I am SO excited to  have the opportunity to speak at the upcoming Hammerhead Triathlon Club monthly meeting which has been connected with Trek Bicycles for a great, entertaining and educational evening. Trek Travel will be speaking about their upcoming travel trips and training camps and I will be talking about "Triathlon boredom - how to train smarter to train harder." If you can make it - we'd love to have you there! The event is free to the public and as always, come to meet other like-minded individuals who share a similar lifestyle and passion. You do not have to be a triathlete to attend - just someone who has fitness goals and a desire to reach them. 

For a little preview of some of the topics I will be discussing at my talk on Wednesday, I dedicated my latest Iron Girl article to the topic. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading! 


Train Smarter to Reach Success FasterBy Marni Sumbal MS, RD, LD/N




Are you an active individual who feels confused as to the smartest sway to train for your upcoming event?
Participating in a race requires more than just putting in the miles and finishing a workout with sweaty clothes. You should always feel deserving of your “athlete-in-training” status as you are no longer an “exerciser”. Instead of trying to be like everyone else, take into consideration a few simple suggestions of how you can train smarter to reach success faster.



1. It’s not just about the miles – Consider the many variables in your life that can positively affect your training consistency and health. Among the top priorities: Sport nutrition before, during and after training to assist in intentional physiological stress. Strength training to enhance your cardio-focused routine. Stretching to encourage proper range of motion and injury prevention. A restful sleeping routine to help control appetite, quicken recovery, assist in stress and attitude management and to encourage stable energy throughout the day. Intentional active recovery and rest to prevent overtraining and to encourage consistency in training. Purchase, use and a basic understanding of training gadgets (ex. GPS and HR-enabled devices) to avoid haphazard training.

2. Developing a healthy relationship with food and the body – Eat a wholesome and balanced diet for fuel and for health. When it comes to changing body composition to encourage performance gains, your body will take care of itself when you are performance-focused, not scale obsessed. Avoid words like “off-limit, bad, guilty, chubby, fat and ugly” to guarantee that you are appreciative of what your body is allowing you to do on a daily basis and that you fuel and nourish your body adequately. Always thank your body for giving you a tomorrow and for crossing finish lines.

3. Don’t rush the journey- To make the most physiological training adaptations with the least amount of training stress, focus on your individual response to training. Training adaptations vary between individuals and there is no perfect training (or diet) plan. A properly planned training routine and well-planned racing schedule will ensure well-timed, peak performances due to progressive, individualized overload. Your training routine should take into account your current level of fitness, frequency, intensity and duration of workouts, past successes and regrets, available hours of daily training, number of weeks until your A-races, short and long term goals, past or potential injuries/health issues and ability to recover properly between workouts.



Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to IronGirl.com, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.

Email trimarnicoaching@gmail.com



No-guilt nutrition on recovery/off days

Marni Sumbal

Two weeks of quality training are behind me. It doesn't seem like a lot but I still have 6 more months to go before Ironman Lake Placid and without emphasis on recovery, there is no way I can progress with intentional exercise-induced stress and fatigue.

My body is going strong but to be proactive, I will rest my body and mind before I really need it. A solid 9 hours of sleep last night and I know a day off from training was needed since I am not a napper and nighttime is the only time I can rejuvenate and repair. I am a fan of active recovery (ex. swim, non-weight bearing activity) as a replacement for a day off but never when it comes with waking up with an alarm. Seeing that the drive to and from the gym may take more time than the actual swim, alongside feeling rushed, meal prep, etc. I didn't even need to think twice about not doing an active recovery/drill-focused swim this morning since I asked myself last night "What will I gain from this swim?" NOTHING. I'd rather walk Campy and stretch.

Sometimes active recovery does a body good but I do not associate active recovery with body-image control, feeling guilty about eating on off days or feeling "off" without a workout. All I have to think about is my upcoming week of training on Training Peaks and the day off is exactly what I need to help me out with the next 6 days of training.

A while back I wrote an article on nutrition on off/recovery days and I feel it is an appropriate time to share the article again. Seeing that we are almost into February, if you are sticking with an exercise resolution or if you just started your triathlon training/running/cycling plan to gear up for the upcoming season, it is likely that you still going strong and perhaps, haven't considered the beauty in rest and recovery.

The key with off days is to not lose focus of recovery. The idea of a planned rest day (whether Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday - depending on when you need the recovery to ensure a quality, consistent week of training) is to keep up with all the things that you need to do to ensure a great next x-days of training. Sleep, stress management, stretching and diet are key as you can not assume you will recover from the past 6 days or so of training just by not doing cardio or strength training and eating whatever you want and sitting around with tight muscles. Take that control that you have with the diet and exercise/training (which is likely the reason why you struggle with taking planned "off" days) and use that for your recovery day so that you will increase the chance of having consistent training all month long.

Thanks for reading!

Nutrition on rest days from exercise/training

Fearing the possible

Marni Sumbal

Fear-based training.

I have mentioned it in the past and it is something that is very familiar to athletes who are training for individual-sporting events.

I think of it like a college student with a big exam on the radar. Two months to prepare seems like an eternity so it is unlikely that one would start studying that far in advance. Plenty of time, right? So instead of studying a little bit every day in order to retain information, days slip by and the student begins to get more fearful of the big day. One month away and the motivation is there but it is a bit sub par - the book is open but there is more goofing around and scratching the surface than really accepting the challenge ahead and that time is running out. Two weeks left and it is crunch time. Eek!
Long hours, exhaustion in both mind and body but there is not other choice at this point. Try to squeeze in 60 days worth of studying into 14 days and the only thought is "I wish I would have started sooner."

Fear-based training is not unlike the student who procrastinates until it is crunch-time. It's not uncommon for athletes to have a race on the schedule- months in advance- but there is a tendency have excuses or reasons for not focusing on the little things that will play out on race day and instead waits until he/she has no other choice but to at least prove to him/herself that she/he can do "it" in order to reduce anxiety.

Well, this blog post isn't about fear-based training. Instead, it is about fearing the possible.

What if you lived your entire life thinking about the what-if? What if you just got started a bit earlier? What if you dedicated yourself a bit more to the task at hand? What if you had a more open mind or a more positive attitude? What if you didn't wait until the perfect time to get started?

What would you do if you were not afraid to fail?

Over the past year in a half, I have been working with a mental coach, my friend Gloria who has helped me trust myself as an athlete and to believe in my ability to put my training to the test on race day. With the help of Karel, as my supportive hubby and coach, he has given me sets that I would have thought were never possible with my body and thus, he has shown me that I have the ability to reach higher limits with my training. These same athletic characteristics of believing in myself, wanting to challenge myself and being dedicated to the task at hand have also been very important in my personal life, specifically in my past education and continuing career.

As athletes, fitness enthusiasts or anyone who enjoys a healthful lifestyle, we are always wanting to better ourselves in both body and mind. Whether you are training for a race, looking for a new career, thinking about a life-changing decision or questioning an upcoming opportunity, we all have opportunities in our life to take something that we fear and to get out there and just try to go for it.

In our society, it seems as though many people are raised to want success. Seems kinda obvious, right? You wouldn't want to strive for failure in life when successful people are the ones who get the credit and attention.

But this comes with a bigger issue in that we have missed opportunities in life because of fearing failure. We question the "what if" and that scares us so we put off trying. We get frustrated at the first try and give up.

What's the worse that can happen? You don't get the job, you have to walk when you want to run, you don't lose those last 5 lbs, you get turned down, you have to wait until next time? Life goes on but at least you tried.

But then - what if the best thing happens? You get the job, you run faster than you could ever imagine, you lose those last 5 lbs, you get the opportunity you were wanting for, you don't have to wait until next time. Life goes on and now the possible has happened.

What I love more than anything about sports is the continuous opportunity to try. To try to become better, smarter, fitter, stronger and healthier. The opportunities are endless when it comes to seeing how close you can come every week, month and year to reaching your full potential and then you get to do it all over again the next year.

I remember at Branson 70.3 in September 2012 and having the run of my life. I had trained hard, worked on my mental strength with Gloria and I was hungry to race on a very challenging course. I had all the pieces together and all I had to do was put them together for 70.3 miles.

I remember on the 13.1 mile run that I was hurting...bad. It was not tolerable at times and I wanted to slow down. But I resisted. My mind had convinced my body that I would push and push until my body phsyically gave up. I trained too hard to not keep trying. My mind was not going to let my body surrender. I ran a huge PR off the bike, had the fastest female amateur run of the day, along with a new age group course record and placed overall female amateur. All because I refused to give up before I had to give up. It was a decision that I had to make over and over and over for one hour and 36 minutes..... and it was not easy. But when I crossed the line, I felt the feeling that I dreamed of as I was gasping for air and bracing my completely exhausted body. I was so happy that I went for something that I never thought was possible.


It was around 48-degrees this morning when I started my ride. Karel and I drove to Nocatee and we each did our own workouts (Karel did a run-bike-run and I did a bike-run).
I could have stayed inside on the trainer or I could have skipped the bike to go for a run. But instead, I told myself to not fear the possible. Why should I let the weather stop me from having a great workout? I dressed appropriately and I felt great on the bike. 

The set was hard...thanks Karel for making my legs burn. 
10 x 1 min ON/1 min OFF intervals (ON intervals are 110+rpm, power was way high and OFF are EZ spin)
Then right into 10 min Z3 steady.
Then 5 x 1 min ON/OFF intervals
The right into 10 min Z3 steady.
The rest of the ride was Z2.

I hit my power zones and my legs were burning on the on/off intervals. It was windy and cold out but I didn't let it stop me from achieving the possible.

Then came the fearful part. A set that in my mind was not possible. No way, absolutely not. What was Karel thinking when he wrote my workout in training peaks? I suppose my athletes think the same for me when I write their workouts :)

4 miles off the bike - start at 7:30 for first mile immediately off the bike. Then mile 2 at 7:25, mile 3 at 7:20 and last mile "fast/hard". No stopping in between miles.  

I had 1:30 on the bike to think about this set but I didn't. I kept my mind in the present and just like in Branson 70.3, I just went for it when it was time. What's the worse that could happen? I don't make the intervals so I run slower? I don't make the intervals so I have to walk? Certainly, it's not the end of the world and there will always be another workout. So, with running shoes, visor and Garmin 910XT on...it was time to fear the possible. 

Mile 1: 7:30 min/mile
Mile 2: 7:19 min/mile
Mile 3: 7:07 min/mile
Mile 4: 6:55 min/mile

These are the workouts that remind me why I love sports. Sunday it took me 4 long miles to find my rhythm and today, immediately off my bike I had it in me. I love the workouts when I have nothing to prove to an audience or a crowd of spectators but instead, to myself, all alone, outside and a few birds watching me from above. Always keeping in mind that I will save my best performance for race day, these are the workouts that remind that fear can be good or bad.

So, how do you want to live life? Fearing failure or making the possible happen?
Really, what's the worse that can happen?

You are so much stronger than you think. Don't be afraid to try.

Long slow distance - base building

Marni Sumbal


Are you in the beginning phase of your season training? Likely you have been told that your training should be long and slow. Especially if you are an endurance athlete, in order to build aerobic capacity, you should be training at a very low heart rate, teaching the body to metabolize fat for fuel and should teaching your body how to get more comfortable being aerobic in order to prepare for your upcoming next phase of training.

Unless you are a very new athlete to the sport of triathlons  and are learning how to get more comfortable on the bike or in the pool, the focus right now in this "base" phase should not be 100% long, slow distance.  (I don't believe in "slow" running if it comes with poor form due to purposely trying to run slow as that can be damaging to the body. Keep in mind, the word slow is relative..what is slow for you may be fast to others.) If anything, steady is a better word and slow should be removed from your training vocabulary. Also - I don't believe in active recovery "run" days for triathletes. Get your sleep and stretch. Form-focused runs (which include drill work) are fine as a "workout" included in your plan but not on a day "off" from training to recover.

The focus of training is to make gains in fitness. A lot needs to happen with the physiology of the body in order to get faster and stronger. Certainly you can still want to get faster and stronger even if your primary goal is to finish an upcoming race. It's not all about racing fast and hard. It's all about training and racing smart.

I'm always thinking about ways to reduce training stress but still make gains. Fatigue is not something that I want to "train through" and I feel fatigue brings injury for fatigue brings poor form. Also, fatigue can come with slow distance because too much time is wasted in that "comfortable" Z2 zone.

As a coach and athlete, your primary goal on race day is to slow down the least and to pace yourself. The focus of training is to make progress so that as you continue with training you are becoming more efficient and economical with your sport. Eventually your current Z4 effort may turn into your Z3 effort on race day and you may find yourself pacing your way to a great race all because you trained your body properly throughout your periodized training plan.

We will all struggle with fatigue in training and racing. But why waste all your best efforts in training and so early in the season? Long slow distance may give you some miles on the bike to brag about in January but if you neglect some higher intensity efforts you may find yourself struggling with performance gains and the change for overtraining due to combining high volume and intensity on the weeks leading up to your big race. That's a BIG no-no....get faster now w/ a strong body (once again - strength training should be part of your training routine and a priority) and then gradually build volume. If you are training for an endurance event, your final prep should not be intense and extreme - avoid fear-based training. It should be specific to the distance ahead. When I trained for my last 2 Ironman's (Kona 2011 and IMWI 2010) I only did 1 ride over 100 miles each time. All my rides were around 4-5 hours, including steady state intervals (anywhere from 20-50 min w/ 2-5 min rest in between) with the power that I built throughout my periodized training plan. I saved my best performance for race day and had a nice big PR in Kona in 2011 and found myself racing very strong on the difficult IMWI bike course.

Use a little speed work to help your aerobic capacity. Instead of trying to resist fatigue with long hours on the bike or long running miles, focus on quality training. Every workout should have a warm-up where there is little focus on pace or speed. Monitor your HR, walk.slow down to control yourself, focus on good form and stretch dynamically (for running) before the main set. After your main set, cool down. That's how I schedule my workouts and same for my athletes. I don't care about miles but what they do within those miles. I'd rather do a 3 hour steady interval bike ride than 6-7 hours on the bike right now. Actually, for my fitness ability, I don't ever want to "train" for 6-7 hours on the bike because I know that I will benefit very little from being on my bike for that long. For running, I'd rather do 10 quality miles w/ intervals at a bit faster intensity than 14-18 miles of long slow running (OUCH).

The problem with long slow training is poor form and over/under emphasis on nutrition. It may work for some but I'd like to make better use of my time when I do my longer workouts. As much as I LOVE training, I like to feel accomplished at the end and know that my fitness on race day isn't made up of a few great workouts but rather many, consistent good workouts. I know my workouts are good because I review my training files. Great is something I say when I am feeling it during or immediately after a workout. It is how I describe how I feel about the workout - not necessarily a sign that I am making improvements aside from building mental strength.

SAT.

It was a tad bit on the chilly side but after my weekend in Iowa last weekend (-6 windchill), I can't complain about the cool 50-degree temps yesterday morning.
It was super windy so combined with the cooler temps I knew it would be a challenging workout. Again, no need to waste time on the bike riding slow for hours and hours when I could have a great workout sitting on Karel's wheel.
After Karel did his TT on his fixie (for the Ponte Vedra Beach Fixie World Championships - "aka" bragging rights among guys/girls who like to ride fixies) and I warmed up, I took off a few items that were keeping me warm and it was time to head to Nocattee for a few steady intervals.
Sitting on Karel's wheel has been years in the making. There are still intervals that he does that I can not "hang on" for but when it comes to Ironman or Half Ironman training, his Z3 effort is my low Z4 effort for power zones so it works really well that both of us can get a quality workout. I don't race an IM in Z4 but instead upper Z2 and my zones are determined from a 20 x 20 minute sustainable max effort power test w/ 2 min EZ in between.

The main set was the following
15 min Z3 (Karel)
2 min EZ
15 min Z3 (Karel)
2 min EZ
20 min Z3 (Karel)
2 min EZ

Steady upper Z2 for the remainder of the ride (Karel)

So while Karel was focused on his zones in Z3, here's how my workout on Training Peaks looked:
15 min - 168 watts, 138 HR, 88 cadence, 23.24 mph
15 min - 172 watts, 139 HR, 86 cadence, 22.4 mph
20 min - 164 watts, 139 HR, 87 cadence, 22.54 mph

There's a few things I'd like to point out as I know triathletes love comparing numbers. I've been working on my lactate threshold for years as cycling was not a natural sport for me so for me, my HR may look "low" but it is certainly not a HR that I enjoy to tolerate behind Karel's wheel. The wind was really strong and we did long loops in Nocatee so with every change of direction, there would be a need to change gears to keep a steady cadence. I am working on my cadence as I was a slow masher and now I am getting much better with a higher cadence. I do ON/OFF intervals to work on a fast spin (ON) which burns like OMG but it is making me better.
Speed is irrelevant in my mind when training as I can not hold those speeds on my own so I guess I will enjoy getting in more miles due to higher speeds sitting on Karel's wheel. So more importantly, the power is what I care about. My ability to maintain a certain wattage for a period of time. No matter the terrain, wind, etc. I need to be consistent with my effort. Karel is super steady so riding behind him gives me a great workout for this base phase of training.

We rode for 2 hours and 50 minutes by the time we finished the workout and cooled down and it was time for a 25 minute form-focused run off the bike (7:30 min/mile pace average) for me and for Karel (who has not been traveling like me so he has been doing a few more bricks than me) he ran for 30 minutes and covered more distance because he is faster.

After the workout - time for the Farmers Market!


SUN:
 

                                    
After sleeping in to get a solid 8 hours of sleep, we took our time in the morning and headed back to Nocatte for a run and a 30ish min recovery spin.

Karel did a bit longer run than me because I believe that every athlete needs to consider their own consistency with training before jumping in on group workouts (especially long ones). I have not had consistent weekend training for a few weeks so I can not rush my mileage.

Karel and I went our separate ways along the roads and paved trails in the neighborhoods of Nocatte and Karel finished with 1:30 of running and I had 1:20.
I am a firm believer in pace training and monitoring the HR. I am strict on form right now for me and my athletes so anytime form begins to struggle or get sloppy, it's time to walk or slow down.
I consider myself a better runner off the bike due to being warmed up on the bike so it takes me a while (more like 3-4 miles) to feel good on a long run.
I noticed my HR was a bit higher on warm-up than I wanted it to be in looking at my garmin when I started - despite me feeling good with  my perceived exertion/form. My perceived effort was fine but my HR was not where I wanted it. This could be contributed to several factors (a bit warmer today, legs weren't sore but felt a bit heavy - more quad dominant this morning, likely my hamstrings were a bit tight) so instead of pushing through with a high HR and struggling with form later in the workout, I opted to walk for a few minutes (1-2) every mile until I finally felt like I was ready for my main set. That came around mile 4. Like usual, I don't care about my pace or distance in warm-up..the warm-up is there for me to warm my body up for the main set. If no main set - there is still a focus for the run.

Main set: 
4 x 1 miles sub 7 min/mile pace (with good form - build into each mile) w/ 2 min walk recovery.
I carried my gel flask filled with hammer heed (1 scoop) for this run and refilled as needed.
I have my Garmin 910XT set on proper screens which allow me to properly pace my efforts.
I have a screen that shows current pace (so I don't go out too fast in each interval), current HR and time and another screen that shows lap pace (which is great for shorter intervals around 2-6 minutes), distance and time. I tend to use the second screen more. I also hit lap anytime I do an interval. Because it is set up on auto-lap for each mile, I do not need to hit lap when a 1 mile repeater is completed but instead, when I start the next 1-mile lap. Same applies for any other interval distance (2 minutes, 1/2 mile, etc.) - I always hit lap for it is much easier to review in Training Peaks. I also have a screen with the normal functions that most people refer to in training - total time, total distance, average pace and average HR. I tend to flip to this in warm-up and cool down without focus on my total distance. I stop when I am cooled down or my time has been reached and it is time to cool down. I don't run to complete x-miles in training. I have stopped plenty of times with x.90 miles or x.40 miles on my watch but no need to prove anything to get to the next mile. 

Mile 1: 6:53 min//mile pace, 149 HR
2 min recovery walk - 123 HR
Mile 2: 6:47 min/mile pace, 153 HR
2 min recovery walk - 123 HR
Mile 3: 6:47 min/mile pace, 155 HR
2 min recovery walk - 127 HR
Mile 4: 6L43 min/mile pace - 158 HR
2 min recovery walk - 126 HR


I couldn't ask for a better week of training. 11 hours training (which was my peak hours in Branson 70.3 prep), good sleep, good nutrition and good balance. A day off Monday, strength training Wed/Fri (including plyometrics on Wed) and 2 solid brick workouts (thurs/sat). The 35 min recovery spin with Karel after our run was the perfect way to end our training week. This was a week of quality and structure. I had a plan and a purpose and I look forward to doing it all over again next week. 9 more weeks of half IM specific training and then it is time to gradually move into more specific Ironman training. Build the form, strength and speed now and endurance will follow. Train smarter to get faster.

Quality - base building.

Blueberry pancakes and advice on New Year training

Marni Sumbal

Now is the time when the weather makes it hard to get out of bed but thankfully, we have a new year to keep us motivated with our fitness routine. Perhaps you are gearing up for an upcoming race or have your eyes set on a few personal fitness/body composition goals. Whatever the case may be, don't rush the journey.
 
Sure, that is a saying that is often repeated and overly used but I am a firm believer that the process shouldn't be rushed.
 
Considering that I work with a lot of different types of athletes and receive emails from active individuals wanting to step up their training and/or exercise routine, I wanted to offer one bit of advice for getting back (or starting) a training plan.
 
Start with 2 weeks of "intro". It's very easy for athletes to get excited about training again and feel the need to wait for the perfect time to start. Or, feeling guilty or lazy after a break, go all-out in the beginning part of a training plan. When it comes to training or simply sticking to an exercise routine, we can often make it really easy to fail or feel defeated by simply expecting too much out of our mind and body. Like anything else in life, when we learn to do something new, we adapt by doing something over and over again. Just like in a sport or in training, we must "train" ourselves to perform optimally. Why this becomes so confusing for people, especially goal-oriented individuals who love to exercise, is that in order to adapt to training stress, training has to be consistent.
 
Giving yourself an intro week or two is a great way to remove the pressure that you have to be perfect w/ every workout and it also gives you a good marker of where your fitness is at this point. You can do a HR/pace test to assess fitness or my favorite, perceived exertion to give yourself a marker of what you are able to handle right now. Also, this intro week allows you to remove the need to push hard 7 days a week and gives ample time to work on skills and drills which are fundamental in quality training. Whether you ate a bit too much over the holidays, are ready for the "Reward" food because you earned it (we will save that topic for another blog) or are feeling excitedly nervous for your upcoming racing season, consider the stress you are about to put on your body and use a few weeks ahead of you to assess any weaknesses in your training schedule which may keep you from being consistent as the months progress. The number one problem I see from athletes is being caught in the miles or time spent training and forget about taking the smartest road to success. Sadly, athletes often take the long road which include junk miles, injuries, burnout, feeling like a zombie by the end of the week and even social isolation. It never has to be this way if you are gearing up for an event or striving to change body composition and certainly you should never be feeling this way by week 3-4 of a new training routine.
 
So, as you enjoy some of my homemade pancakes, consider sitting down with a piece of paper (if you coach yourself) or with your coach to decide on the best racing plan for your year and the best training plan to keep you energized, motivated and excited for the next 360ish days of this new year.
 
The pancakes pictured below were consumed on Sunday December 30th after a chilly and windy 38-40 degree ride in Florida. I sat on Karel's wheel for around 53 miles and we had the most brutal headwind for the last 90 minutes. After a long, hot shower and a tall glass of coffee, I had one thing on my mind that would make me feel incredible....pancakes. Enjoy!
 
 



 
Blueberry pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats (uncooked)
1 tbsp. flax seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
 
1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, flax and salt.
2. In separate bowl, mix together milk, water, honey and vanilla extract.
3. Make a well in flour mixture and pour wet to dry and mix until smooth. Add a little extra water for easy spooning for pancakes onto skillet.
4. On a non-stick skillet, medium/low heat, drizzle a little oil or use non stick spray. Pour ~ 1/4 cup batter on to tray and w/ back of spoon, smooth to make a flat pancake.
5. Cook for 1:30-2 minutes or until bottom begins to turn golden and flip. Cook other side for 1 minute.
 
 
 


Train smarter to train harder

Marni Sumbal

Well, I'm happy to say that my injury is almost gone. YIPPE for being smart. What was likely about to develop into a really bad case of plantar fasciitis was minimized by icing, Alleve (since I rarely take anti-inflammatories, maybe 10 or less a year, they work when I need them to work), foam rolling, ball rolling and stretching. Realizing that I can still bike and swim, I did not "test" the injury at all with any running after my calf became extremely tight on Wednesday afternoon. Every day I am feeling better and better and I am more and more thankful that I acted before and did not react after the fact. No race but I'm likely back to running in less than 2 weeks. I'll take it!

I would say that I am 90% healed so I will wait until I can go a full day without feeling anything in my foot/calf and then I will wait 2 more days before I resume running. As a recommendation to others who are injured, do not neglect the other side of your body when you are injured.  The same focus I give on stretching and rolling (especially my ITB and piriformis which is a daily routine twice a day) is being given to my left foot.

Thankfully, I have learned that prevention is cheaper than medicine. But I can't hesitate to tell you that if you are someone who experiences ongoing or painful injuries, please get it checked out as you will waste more time and energy google-ing and trying to treat yourself. Visit a sport physician and then see a physical therapist. They know their stuff and they will give you practical advice and help you out to move in the right direction. Be sure to find one that specializes in your sport so that they are very familiar with your daily exercise routine and goals.

I am working on a few presentations for January and February in which I will be talking with running groups and triathlon groups on training smarter to train harder. As age group athletes, I feel there is a lot of confusion out there as to how we can reach performance goals or personal athletic goals and not feel overwhelmed in the process. One thing I am seeing a lot of right now is athletes who are eager to start "training" again and are jumping right back into structured training with all the intensity and volume added in like it was just yesterday that they were peaking for their A race. Or, the athlete has not taken a break (only to "recover" from the last race) and is going hard again.

I am noticing athletes with a lot of energy in the beginning of a training plan (especially at the beginning of the New Year) so any free time is being taken up with "exercise" - AKA "junk".

 For many of my athletes, they are in an unstructured structured phase of training. The progression to structured training can be hard for any athlete because you never know how the body will respond and with short term goals in mind during every workout, it's easy to want to do too much too soon because you feel good.

The transition phase to more structured training should be around three to four weeks depending on how long you took yourself out from structured training. It's good to take a break but what we need to avoid is losing fitness. We need a break for the mind and body and the first priorities when we get back into a routine is strength training, flexibility work, focusing on the daily diet (prior to working on "sport nutrition) and weaknesses. Keep in mind that as an athlete, you are training for adaptations to the physiology of the body.
If you are just "exercising" you are focused on achieving x-miles or x-amount of time.
When you are training, your body is under stress. Thus, the workout has a plan and a purpose. Changes in stroke volume, cardiac output, oxygen uptake, hemoglobin levels, lung capacity, resting heart rate, VO2, an increased size in slow and fast twitch muscle fibers and muscle hypertrophy are all adaptations that occur when you train smart.

Although I am all about balance in life and with sport, I constantly remind my athletes that it will get harder. For now, they can thank me now for periodized training and making consistent gains that will pay off by race day.

When you have a training plan from a coach or put together your own plan, avoid doing too much too soon. Be ok with having a lot of energy at first because you don't want to waste energy on the first month of training only to find yourself burnout and injured 7, 8 or 9 months down the road. I encourage you to think about your training in training blocks - perhaps 1 month at a time with goals that you want to accomplish in each month. Consider the other variables in your life such as diet, sleep, flexibility and stress management that will also play an impact on your progression in fitness.

Here are two really great reads that I came across to help you develop a healthier relationship with exercise/training and to help you train smarter. Any questions, send me an email or comment on my blog. I enjoy responding to comments personally via email (or phone call if needed).

The art of recovery - By Matt Dixon
Common Mistakes made by triathletes - By Wayne Goldsmith

Do you have time for an injury?

Marni Sumbal

It concerns me that athletes think that stress fractures are simply a natural occurrence of being an athlete and training for an event (or trying to become more physically fit). I have never had a stress fracture and will do anything in my power not to get one. However, I have had my battles with long-term painful muscular injuries and I am constantly finding myself learning how to be a more proactive athlete.

 I realize that many injuries are accidents in that as athletes, we have a hard time recognizing a normal ache from painful, injury-provoking ache. And sometimes, accidents do happen such as rolling an ankle when running on uneven surfaces or crashing on the bike. But as athletes we are always teetering on the edge of getting injured because we like to push to see our limits and with a natural tendency to think "if some is good, more is better", simple decisions often come with major consequences.

As age group athletes, we are not paid to do a sport which ultimately keeps us physically fit. So, when it comes to an activity that you enjoy, that helps you burn calories, relieve stress, spend time with others and occupy your free time, why do you let your love for consistency outweigh your ability to be flexible and to be proactive? Sure, you can come up with a dozen reasons as to why you need to do that race or that training session but I have a feeling if you were to ask an athlete who is now injured or is rehabbing from an injury if he/she could have had a do-over, they would likely be jealous that you are not the one in pain or painfully having to sit on the sidelines for an undisclosed number of weeks/months. I'm sure they could easily answer, "was it worth it?"

 If only they would have listened to their instinct (or created one) and to not let a moment of  being in the now come ahead of thinking about the future.

As an athlete, I get it. It's tough to dedicate time, training and money for a race and then have to think about the possibility of not doing a race. Despite dedicating every training session to mentally and physically preparing your mind and body for the race, an injury causes you to stay in the present and regret the past. The future only goes so far as a finishing line and determination to get there outweighs any long-term consequences of your decision to do a race (or upcoming training sessions) with a body that is not physically and mentally healthy.

Without removing my athlete status, I will put on my coaching hat to help you decide if it is really worth it to train and race injured (or on the verge of an injury).

But I told everyone I was doing it and all my training buddies are doing the race. I don't want to miss out.
The one who has to live with an injury is yourself. Race with your training buddies injured, miss out on the upcoming weeks or months of training because you were caught up with peer-pressure or race-hype.  Consider your family, job, friends and your daily responsibilities which require a healthy body and mind to perform optimally on a daily basis. There will always be another race and you can still stay involved by cheering or volunteering at the race. More often than not, a missed race may only cause you to be out for 1/2 the time compared to doing the race. Thus, the quicker you will be back at it with your friends.

But I trained so hard for this race.
You trained to perform with a strong, healthy body and a strong race day performance comes when your mind is your only limiter. Put your ego aside and keep in mind that there will be other races. If you want to impress yourself with your fitness, do so with a body that is in not in pain before or during a race.

But I paid for the race and I don't want to lose my money.
Consider the time lost from training and exercise after you are rehabbing yourself to good health again. Time does not have a price tag. When you are injured you wish time would rush by so you can be back at it again. But when you are in good health you wish you had more time to enjoy the things you love. Consider next time to not register for a race until the day before, if possible. Decide if the price difference between registering early vs the day before is worth it when it comes to losing your money for early registration or having to not worry about losing anything by waiting until the day before a race and making the smart decision not to race.

But I invested so much time, money and energy in training for this race.
There should only be a handful of times in your racing career when you will need to make the call if the race is worth "it". Rather than involving your physical therapist, doctor, etc. all at once to magically heal you in x-weeks/days before a race, consider realistically if you really think that the odds are in your favor in that your team of magicians will heal you and allow you to race injury free and properly recover from the race. Realizing that even if you are experiencing an injury, there are ways to finish a race without doing more damage but you have to be realistic with your approach to racing with an injury. Consider the money for xrays, MRI's, physical therapy, time away from work and any other commitments or activities that may be affected with your decision to not race smart or to race in the first place.

But I think I am getting better. I'll just take it easy.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the race environment and not take it easy. Secondly, your definition of easy may be masked with pain relievers as you may be on the verge of healing but it will only take a matter of minutes or miles to put you back where you were before....if not worse. I have a two day rule. If you are experiencing an injury or pain, wait until you are 100% to assess your status if you should race or train again. Once you are 100%, wait two more days to be on the safe side. If you are 100% again after 2 days, you are good to go. If you are still questioning that lingering ache that won't go away or that is keeping your brain active thinking about whether or not you are healed or  not? Then you aren't ready to race or train again.

But I carbo-loaded or I am worried about my weight.
Simple. Consider not exercising for the next 2-3 months and that will answer your questions if it is really worth it to feel frustrated with your current diet routine or body image and to be even more disrespectful to your body by racing injured only to burn calories. How about thanking your body for all the good workouts OR if you have been struggling with injuries, consider evaluating whether you are eating to train or training to eat.

But I just really want to do it.
Really? Just for a t-shirt and a medal? Consider your racing career. Do you see yourself racing for the next 20 years or do you think only race by race...just trying to get yourself to the next starting line? Keep in mind that your body is impacted in some negative way, every time you take a chance racing or training with an injury. You can only take so many chances before you will experience long-term consequences for your actions. Sure, you  may be tough as nails and with a pain threshold that is unlike anyone else. Is it really worth it to explain to your family and friends that you are sad, depressed and emotionally drained that it was completely within your ability to take a few minutes to weigh the consequences  instead of coming up with a million excuses as to why you had  to do the race? Keep in mind that when you are injured, it affects everyone. Your family, your children, your pets, your boss/employees....everyone. There is a reason why you love doing what you do.

Your active lifestyle makes you feel amazing, healthy and well. Three things that can not be achieved with an injured body.

So, do you have time for an injury?
Make the right call. It's not worth it.

A few small changes before 2013

Marni Sumbal

Over Thanksgiving I was talking with my 89 year old Grandpa who is mentally sharp, active and living independently in Reno, NV with his wife (re-married after my Grandma passed away a while back - they just celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary yesterday).


Like many people Grandpa Joe is still interested in the "best" diet out there. I think speaking to individuals on nutrition should be a case-by-case discussion, with similar recommendations but age-appropriate information that is also practical and realistic. I have spoken with a variety of people in and out of the hospital, from all different socioeconomic background, with all types of diseases and lifestyle issues (ex. wheelchair bound, no car, living off food-stamps, etc.) which make giving advice on the perfect "diet" near to impossible. Our society reads too much about what not to do and I believe we should be spending our energy on what we can do. There are so many diet books out there as to what not to eat but if you think about it, sometimes it is the habits that we are making that are driving our actions. It isn't the food itself but rather how we eat it and why. I would guess that many people eat when they aren't hungry, overeat because they are starving and eat for emotional reasons. It's not that wheat is bad or that meat will kill you but rather why we are eating what in the first place. Think back to the last time you ate....where were you? Were you eating with others and did they influence your eating style (positive or negative)? What time did you eat? What did you eat? Simply address the questions instead of the food to understand how you are living your life.

So, when it comes to healthy living, who's to say that there is a perfect diet out there that we all need to follow?

My Grandpa has the best advice and with his amazing memory, he tells the best stories. So giving him nutritional advice at his age was a bit difficult, as you can imagine.
When he asked me my thoughts on the "best" foods out there, I politely told him that as a society, we are always looking for the next best thing. We often forget to address what we have done in the past to get us to this point. Even if you feel like you aren't as healthy as you think you can be, something is working and we should never overlook that. To point blame on any one food or habit is not helpful when you think of the many things we do on a day-to-day basis that help us get to tomorrow. For my Grandpa, he has lived 89 amazing years, free of cancer. To me, that is a huge accomplishment and he has done a lot of "best" things that have worked for him. He does have a few health issues but to reference my mission in life - he is still living a quality life and is still making memories. I find it hard to accept that our society will spend a good 30-40 years of life "worrying" about weight instead of living life to the fullest and making things happen in a positive manner. Because eventually, when you hit a certain age - health will become more important than body image and there will be a time when you will say "I wish I would have." So, why waste your energy on looking a certain way or eating "perfectly" and instead direct your energy on living the best live for yourself.

You can spend your entire life trying to be perfect OR you can spend everyday being productive for a better tomorrow. Never a day lost and many days to be proud of the small changes you are making.

Since I don't believe in being strict or extreme when it comes to my life, I am constantly conscious of the actions I am making and if they are enhancing my life. One area that is a concern to many is body image. For me, at 5-feet tall, I suppose I should be 5 -10 lbs "lighter". I am around 110lbs and Ironman peak training weight I am around 107-108lbs unintentionally. So to make dietary changes to get to a weight that I feel is not "ideal" for me would only leave me feeling restricted on life. I can't live a fun, energy-filled, active life and make memories when my body image and diet are always on my mind. Food enhances my lifestyle and for me, seeing a number on a scale is not worth it to me to sacrifice my days on earth just to weigh less. I'd rather buy a bigger size of clothes and make more memories with Karel and Campy.


 I encourage you to aim for a body composition that allows you to do-more in life, with less injuries and health issues. There is a fine line between wanting to "look" a certain way for appearance or what you feel is "ideal" versus a healthy weight that keeps you living a great life.





Because I believe in making small changes for a better lifestyle, here are a few changes you can focus on before 2013 to make for a better New Year.

1) Warm-up  - maintaining a consistent and flexible exercise routine for an hour a day is encouraged in order to live a quality-filled life. You aren't required to run an hour a day for parking far away at the grocery, taking the stairs or dancing are all great activities to keep the body moving after (or before) you sit all day. Whether you struggle with the cooler temps or just getting the motivation to get out the door the best advice is to warm-up before you "exercise". Get the blood flowing and release some endorphins as you warm the body up. Walk up and down stairs for a few minutes, walk in place and pump your arms or do a little cardio and before dynamic stretching. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to warm-up the body and to get the energy you need to accomplish the activity ahead of you.
2) Don't go into a meal starving - It's not about being good or bad or getting upset at your cravings in the evening. To prevent overeating at a meal, eating too fast, overindulging after a meal (ex. desserts, snacks) and to feel better after you eat than before, plan a small snack around 30-60 min before your meal to keep your appetite and blood sugar controlled. Last night's pre-dinner creation was sliced vine tomatoes w/ basil and Brie cheese. Other options should compliment your dinner meal. Avoid  having crackers and cheese if you are planning pasta and cheese. Veggies, fruit slices, a few nuts or a little protein are all great options to keep your appetite and cravings controlled as you find yourself better enjoying your meal prep (and meal).


3) Progress as an athlete - Whether you are training for an event or exercising for fitness, all active individuals should have goals and should enjoy seeing progress within every workout. Treat yourself like an athlete, no matter your fitness level. When working with athletes, the biggest areas of concern that are overlooked by athletes are; flexibility, strength training, recovery, mental strength and intervals. Avoid the junk miles and the boring workouts and give your training a plan and a purpose. Establish short and long term goals and as you work on your weaknesses and build off your strength, be sure that you are seeing yourself grow as an athlete, doing the work to get yourself closer to your goals. I don't believe in training more to "get better". Train smarter to train harder and then recover to do it all over again.



Pre-race nerves

Marni Sumbal



Tomorrow I will be racing a 10K with Karel. The Native Sun 10K in Mandarin, just a few miles down the road. I'm super excited for the race and I've worked really hard to break 40 minutes. I've trained my body and my mind and tomorrow I will give it my best effort. It's going to hurt all over, my body is going to want to quit around mile 4 and my mind will try to tell me that I can't do it for the last mile. No race is without a battle between the mind and body throughout the race but I've learned that although we (as athletes) have a lot to face on race day, there are a few things that we can control on the days leading up to a race.

As a long-time athlete, I've experienced all types of pre-race nerves. From swimming competitively in High School in order to do well at State Championships to swimming in college and not letting down my teammates in order to qualify for Nationals. Then, in racing in my first triathlon, my first marathon, my first half Ironman and my first Ironman. All nerves for the unknown. I feel getting nervous never goes away but we all become better (or worse) and managing those pre-race nerves. However, for most of us, despite how bad those nerves may feel, we still toe the line and put our hard work to the test.

In working with a variety of athletes from all fitness levels, I've dealt with many different pre-race nerves. I've heard it all.....

I suck
I'm not ready
I'm not as fast as I use to be
I am worried about......
I hate the way I look


It's amazing as to what we tell ourselves before a race or even worse, how we speak to others about our personal feelings about an upcoming event.

One of the most important things in managing your pre-race nerves is confidence. This is not the same as being arrogant. Confidence is knowing that you have put in the work. Confidence is being honest with yourself as to the work you did (or didn't do) and how you will perform on race day. Confidence is knowing that there will always be people faster and slower than you.

Confidence is the ability to be grateful for the voluntary opportunity that you give yourself to pay money for an event, put in the work to get to the starting line, challenge the body and mind until the finish line and cross the line exhausted only to receive a t-shirt and maybe a medal. Confidence comes when we know that our choice to participate in a sport is an individual choice and to get to the finishing line, it is purely an individual effort to make the body work. Confidence shines bright when we enjoy being pushed, beat and challenged by others. You see, sports teach us so many life lessons and one of those is confidence.

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
Eleanor Roosevelt


The worst thing about confidence is that you can't buy it, you can only work on it. Funny thing is that people can give it to you and they can also take it away from you. But above all, if you don't have faith in yourself, every training session and every pre-race effort will be put to waste for you won't be able to reach your full potential.

I find a lot of athletes take part in fear-based training due to increasing pre-race nerves. To me, there is no need to test yourself in training just to prove to yourself that you can do "it". Sure, we all need to train the body to adapt favorably to the stress we put on it but I believe that athletes do the best when they save their best performance for race day. Why waste your best effort in training for an audience of one? Why show off to your training buddies when you can execute a fantastic performance on race day? Fear based training and not trusting yourself only leads to too many risks during training and an over-trained body on race day.

If you are participating in an event or race this weekend or in the near future, don't let pre-race nerves get the best of you. If you hurt when you run, walk. If biking hard makes your legs ache, just slow down. If you can't catch your breath while swimming, just flip over on your back and take a moment to regain focus. If you are one to compare yourself to others on the starting line, why not think about all the people who aren't as strong as you to get to the starting line? If you compare yourself to an old-version of yourself, why not thank your body for keeping you healthy and strong for so many years as you age. If you "wish you would have" there's no point wasting energy on something outside of your control (uncontrollables will steal your energy, just like negative people).

As you gear up for your upcoming race, take a moment to assess the work you did, the work you didn't do, the mental strength you have, the mental toughness you are still learning to achieve, the goals you have accomplished, the goals you have for the future and most of all, as you stand on your starting line, remind yourself as to why it was so important to you to get to the finish line. As you fear the unknown ahead of you, have trust your body, mind and abilities and don't forget......there are no requirements for calling yourself an athlete, how you get to the finishing line (so long as it is legal) and what you weigh (or look like). The best races are not told on paper but rather in a race report after the race is complete.

Go out there and race your own race. And when the race is over, reflect on your accomplishment as you return to your "normal" life with your "normal" friends and "normal" job. If you struggle with pre-race nerves, just remind yourself that you are part of a select group - you are an adult athlete who chooses to partake in competitive sports despite having a job, not getting paid to compete and balancing a family/life. Your pre-race nerves are merely a sign that you are ready that you did the work and it is time to show off your talent.

Best of luck! Don't forget to thank your body at the finishing line.......

The impatient athlete

Marni Sumbal

2004 - first triathlon (sprint)

April 2012 - Iron Girl Clearwater - Overall winner




September 23rd, 2012 Branson 70.3 - 1st amateur female
 
 
I don't need my mental coach (and friend) Gloria to confirm that I have a type A personality.

"Type A individuals tend to be very competitive and self-critical. They strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments."

I think many active individuals (runners, triathletes) would feel comfortable using the title "type A" at times when it comes to training, racing, the diet, work and life.

However, I feel over the past few years, I have learned to become a more relaxed type A. In other words, this is what I try to be less of on a daily basis......

"Type A personalities experience a constant sense of urgency: Type A people seem to be in a constant struggle against the clock. Often, they quickly become impatient with delays and unproductive time, schedule commitments too tightly, and try to do more than one thing at a time, such as reading while eating or watching television.
Type A individuals tend to be easily aroused to anger or hostility, which they may or may not express overtly. This appear to be the main factor linked to heart disease."

Interestingly, Type A personalities may have traits that lead to better performances in life and sport. Type A personalities generally have higher need for achievements and their behavior pattern is often associated with the success of an entrepreneur.

(Reference here)

Since I started competitive swimming at the age of 10 or 11, I have always been an athlete. I don't consider myself a hardcore athlete, for my competitive spirit desires the opportunity to be beat by those who are faster than me in order to help me push myself to be better. I try to look at the positives in every race rather than a finish place or time.

Because of my natural desire to be challenged in life, I have learned to enjoy the journey of reaching goals. If you know me well, I am an open book when it comes to goals and I am not afraid to talk about my goals and how hard I am willing to work for them. I firmly believe that life has not been easy for me. Sports, school, life....I have encountered many struggles, obstacles and set-backs while trying to reach my goals.

Patience is the most powerful weapon that I carry with me in my journey of life.

If you are impatient and wish time to fly by, it's likely that you will struggle with reaching goals. Accumulation of hard work leads to great performances. Life, work, sports...even if you work hard but are impatient you will find yourself trying to take short-cuts or too many risks to try to progress too quickly.
You don't have to be an athlete to carry the unfortunate trait of impatience. Want to lose weight quickly? The fitness/supplement/diet industry can help you with that. Quick fixes and extreme efforts sell well. Instant gratification is what our society thrives off of as very few people desire to be the tortoise when you can be the hare. When people want results yesterday, it's no surprise that something that can be accomplished quickly is much more fulfilling than something that takes time to achieve.
Some progress is better than no progress. But if you have a goal and don't see extreme results in a week or two, how long will it take you to forget your goal and move on to another method to see if "that way" will be faster. Bouncing around from attempt after attempt is nothing more than feeling defeated by a challenge without realizing your true potential to achieve success.

There are no short cuts in life. I learned this about a year after obtaining my Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology.
Wanting to do more with nutrition for active bodies and desiring to take my passion for public speaking and writing to the next level, I was told by many that I would need to obtain a Registered Dietitian credential to be qualified and licensed to "practice" nutrition.

For three years, I was forced to be patient. You can't rush time, especially when it comes to education. Unlike sports, doing more and wanting it now was not going to happen. The saying quality of quantity could not have been more true than during my 10 month dietetic internship. I learned more than I ever imagined and my initial dreams of having my own business and taking my passion for speaking to the next level were combined with a new love of clinical nutrition.

Throughout my dietetic journey, I realized the true value of patience. Hard work in both sport and life will pay off but you can't expect results tomorrow if you haven't put in the time to learn lessons, to overcome obstacles, to feel defeat and perhaps, become someone who you never imagined you could be.



Life is not easy. "I can't" is part of my vocabulary but I have never allowed it to override "I can." If there are any takeaways from this blog post, my hope is that you will never give up on your goals. Its much better to achieve a goal in 1,2 or 10 years than to think to yourself in 1,2 or 10 years....."what if I only tried a bit harder to be a bit smarter with my approach and didn't give up."

I have dreams in life and then I have goals. A goal like qualifying for my third trip to Kona at Lake Placid next year is a long term goal that will be on my mind over the next year as I put in all the hard work that is necessary to race strong against my competition in the 30-34 age group next July. Dreams, on the other hand, are a different story. Unable to determine a finish-date as to when a dream will come true, I figure why not work hard with my passion for public speaking until an opportunity is presented to me show my love for speaking.....speaking about topics in which I am very passionate about.

On October 16th, 2012, a dream of mine came true.



I hope you enjoy my first ever live TV segment (featuring four of my very own new Trimarni creations) which is part of the Baptist Heart Wise Program for Women with Baptist Medical Center Beaches.

Healthy eats with whole grains

Off-season training tip

Marni Sumbal


"Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success."
Napoleon Hill

I can't believe one year ago I was packing for the 2011 Ironman World Championships. I will be blogging soon about my recap of my 2011-2012 season, reflected by my decision to not do an Ironman this year. But in the mean time, just a few pictures from last year to remind me of the amazing opportunity I had to be an Ironman World Championship qualifier and finisher, two times earned.

Quick pic before Karel discovers the mountains of Kona on his bike

Thankful for Ironman Finish #5. Successfully starting and finishing every Ironman I have signed-up for.






Pre race warm-up

Karel making sure I have proper hydration n my bike

Can't ask for a better place to warm-up for a race

Karel fully enjoyed his vacation. Sometime, hopefully we will both be racing in Kona.

The calm before the storm. 140.6 miles awaits us all.

No race is complete without a "love my life" thumbs-up photo.


TRAINING TIP:

Nearing the off-season for many seasoned triathletes, it's easy to jump into early or late season races with an untrained or unmotivated body and mind, respectively. Participating in an endurance event requires an efficiently trained aerobic system as well as exceptional muscular, mental, respiratory and cardiovascular strength. To perform optimally on race day and reduce risk for injury throughout the season (ex. muscular injuries, chronic inflammation and stress fractures, etc), skills/technique, flexibility, strength training and muscular imbalances/weakness are often overlooked as the most critical components of off-season "training". My advice is to avoid taking a 3+ month break from training and then jump into hard training. Give your body a needed break to become a little "unfit" (aka rested, not "fat and lazy" like many athletes say during a 2-3 month break from all activity) before you get back into things. At minimum, allow at least 1-3 months to build a base prior to training "hard", after a needed "off season" 3-4 week break from structured training. Allow your body to adapt gradually for a few months in order to have the best season thus far. What physiological adaptations can you expect?
-lowered heart rate, increased stroke volume, increased cardiac output, increased heat dissipation (increased surface area of capillaries), increased glycogen storing and use of fat stores, increased myoglobin and increased mitochondria size and number

Questions about training or nutrition in the off-season or worried about staying motivated with exercise in the winter? Send me an email and we can chat about your fitness/body composition/racing goals
Trimarnicoaching@gmail..com

Ladies Tri Night event recap - Train Smarter

Marni Sumbal

(pic taken from Ironmandad.com Branson race report)

In 10 days I will be participating in my 7th half ironman event - Branson 70.3. I am beyond excited that I will be sharing the course with Karel, for his first ever half ironman. We are both ready and feeling strong and we are out to race our competition with our current level of fitness. The goal is to race smart. We are not out for a specific finishing time but instead to be challenged by what the day will bring. In endurance racing it's not about being fast but rather about who slows down the least. No need to make up time or put any time in the bank. 70.3 miles (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) is a long way for the body and whether you like it or not, fatigue is bound to occur. I can only speak about the event based on the course profile and from other reports but it will be a very challenging bike course so the mind and body will need to work well together.....just like we have trained them to do.
(with good nutrition, of course).
This week is a FULL recovery week. As I mentioned before, all the work is done (as of last weekend). We aren't using the word "taper" for "taper" in my opinion, involves intensity. Right now, we are allowing the body to rest, rejuvenate and repair so volume is really low (typical training week for us has been ~13-15 hours a week, this week is around 7 hours). We both took Monday completely off from training and woke up feeling rested (although a bit sore in the legs from the weekend). By Tues, I was feeling really good so I went for an easy 1 hour spin and Karel took another day off. There's a lot of stretching going on and massages are scheduled for Sun (Karel) and Tues (me). Next week we leave on Fri so before then we will be waking up the body with the same type of low volume "training" but adding in a little intensity w/ adequate recovery. This will give the body a little taste as to what will come on Sept 23rd but without the residual fatigue that comes with periodized training.

At the Ladies Tri Night event on Monday, I dedicated the middle third of my talk to a topic that I have learned to embrace this year. In having my best season ever, I can contribute most of my athletic success this year (which in turn, translates to my athletes having individual success as well) coming from training smart.
For many people, there's the basic understanding that if you want to get faster or reach  PR, you just have to train more. It's all about volume.
After removing my stubborn hat a few years ago (pre IMWI '10), I started to recognize the balance, fun and consistent progression that comes from training smart. Or as I like to say, quality training.

So, do you train smart?

ØDo you know the difference between training and an active lifestyle?
ØIs your training/exercise schedule flexible to fit your lifestyle?
ØDo you respect your body when you are injured or fatigued?
ØIs counting miles the only way you feel accomplished?
ØDo you feel guilty if you miss a workout? Are you able to schedule intentional rest/recovery days?
ØDoes a number on a scale or food intake determine your daily training volume and intensity?
ØDo you find yourself comparing your training/exercise routine to others?
ØIs your current training and diet routine working for you?
ØHave you ever raced injured, just for a t-shirt and medal?
ØDo you feel it is normal to experience severe cramps, dehydration, extreme fatigue, lack of appetite, extreme weight loss (or gain) and brain fog, just because you are training for a race, exercising for fitness or racing to a finish line?

ØAre you having fun?

It's not necessary to fit into every category but hopefully the questions (and your responses) will make you think about your current training (and perhaps, diet) regime and if it is working for your body, your personal life and your athletic goals. You may think that your current training routine is working for you but take my word, it is possible to gain fitness and improve performance by focusing more on quality over quantity. It's not just about the miles and burning calories.

If there was one word I could suggest for athletic individuals, the word would be: CONSISTENCY
You do not achieve goals in life on one day. Goals require hard work, dedication, patience and time. If they don't, they likely aren't seen as major life accomplishments.
oLife changes frequently. Your eating and training routine should also change to allow you to be as consistent as possible at this point in your life. In order to receive the most prominent physiological adaptations to the body with the least amount of training stress, train smart by focusing on consistency.
 
To help you out, I've created several tips for both fitness enthusiasts and athletes to start training smarter and more consistently. It's not rocket science but it does take a lot of strength. Understanding that athletes improve by putting stress on the body and then recovering, it doesn't surprise me that athletes get so caught up in the training and the miles with the rapid increase in endurance events. Whether it is fear of the distance and you feel you need to prove something to yourself in training (? - what if you can't do that 20 mile run that you squeezed into training 2 weeks out from race day, because you got too tired last weekend during your 16 mile run....what then?) or worry that you will gain weight during taper, athletic events (like tri's and running races) require a body that is trained, recovered and well-fueled. You can only beat the system for so long until you end up with an overtrained body or an injury. Additionally, it isn't a contest as to how little you can consume nutritionally, in training. What you may feel is normal or OK, perhaps should be addressed with a qualified professional, specializing in sport nutrition and/or exercise physiology.
CONSISTENCY TIPS:

1) Get a massage and stretch before you badly need it.

2) Fuel consistently during
workouts, before you feel tired and fatigued.
 

3) Prioritize nutrition before and after workouts, before you find yourself struggling with recovery.


4) Prioritize your nutrition throughout the day to compliment your intense/long daily training regime rather than obsessing about your intake on your "off" or lighter days.


5) Don't strive for a race weight but rather a strong body that will perform optimally by x-day.

6) Don't wait until taper (or rest week/day) to feel "normal" again. Find balance now.

7) Don't "rest" an injury/pain
after a workout. Address normal vs. not-normal aches on a daily basis and seek help before it gets worse.

8) Don't
just train hard and "rest" unintentionally – when you badly need it. Consider intentional rest days long before you actually need them.

9) Respect and thank your body for what it
allows you to do on a daily basis.

10) Have
fun, trust yourself and be confident. Don’t rush the journey.
 
Always keep in mind that if you are an athlete, training for an event finishing line, you will always need to appreciate daily exercise, just like the "normal" people in this world.
You don't have to train for an Ironman or run marathons to be healthy, fit and well. Daily exercise can do wonders for the mind, body and soul and best of all, most of the time, it is free!! Ever tried that thing called walking??? You can find it right outside your front door or office and it doesn't require a membership fee.
 
EXERCISE TIPS:
1.Think like a kid - have fun!
Have you ever seen a child with a garmin while playing tag?? Isn't it funny how so many athletes have to get to x-miles or x-time before the workout is officially complete. I challenge you to run or bike to a destination or to just stop when it feels right.
2.Focus on the little things – skills, sleep, strength, nutrition
3.Step outside your comfort zone
4.Set goals and track progress
5.Start slow, have a plan
6.New stuff – clothing, gadgets, location
7.Involve others for motivation
8.Time-focused or break it up
9.Use perceived exertion and/or effective tools
10.Make it a priority – when is the right time for you?
*BONUS TIP*: Daily prescription and long term health investment
 
 

Ladies Tri Night event - Perform Beautifully

Marni Sumbal

I could not have asked for a better crowd.....a bike shop PACKED with active women who all aspire to train smart, fuel efficiently and perform beautifully. Familiar and new faces filled the room and without enough chairs for the 60+ women in attendance - I'd say that's a great turnout for the first ever Trimarni Ladies Tri Night! An event not exclusive to triathletes but rather, an open invitation to anyone who lives an active lifestyle. And a huge thank you to those who changed schedules to be at the event, who came early and offered to help and to our amazing friends in Waycross, GA who made the drive just for this event. Thank you!
 

After changing out of my scrubs from a busy day at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, I dressed "up" in my Oakley shine support tank and had all my Oakley Women shades out for display.

The first 40 women who arrived by 5:50pm received a PACKED goodie bag thanks to Hammer Nutrition. Hammer Nutrition has been wonderful in terms of fueling my active lifestyle and I am thankful that they also help me out in many of my speaking events. I've been a loyal Hammer user for at least 5 years and with 5 IM's (2 IM World Championships) and 6 Half Ironman's behind my name, I couldn't ask for a better company to provide quality products to help me fuel my endurance lifestyle. If I had to pick my favorite products they would be Strawberry Heed, Grape Fizz and Huckleberry Gel (+ gel flask). And for supplements, hands down tissue rejuvinator is the best because it takes the place of ibuprofen and keeps me functioning well during my peak training. I have not used an anti-inflammatory pill since 1 week post Kona last October (I never use any type of anti inflammatory during or immediately before any race). Also to thank, 110% Play Harder helps the recovery process thanks to their genius mobile-ice bath + compression.



Without a doubt, everyone LOVED Veronica's Health Crunch. Not a seed or nut left in sight at the end of the event. I'm so proud of Veronica for having a vision and a goal and for making her dreams come true. A few years ago she approached me at one of Karel's cycling races, telling me about her idea for granola. Now, several years later her product is ending up on shelves at Fresh Market (can't wait for it to get to Jacksonville) and she is selling her product online. It is absolutely delicious and the ingredients are so simple, yet perfectly blended. YUM!!
 
Another big thanks to Chobani for donating Greek yogurt for the event. To introduce the ladies to other types of yogurts, I picked up my favorite plain yogurt, Dannon nonfat which sits very nicely in my tummy and is the perfect compliment to any fruit or smoothie. Both yogurts are packed with calcium and protein and went nicely with the health crunch. Oh, and the pink napkins are super cute.
(don't worry - the dietitian in me made sure all the yogurts were on ice before the event. No need for anyone to get sick)

 
I'm sure no one forgot about the amazing giveaways.....Hammer, Oakley, Veronica's Health Crunch, 110% and Nootca really hooked us up with some amazing swag. Also, president of the HammerHead Triathlon Club, super star IM triathlete Susan Wallis also provided lace locks to two newbie triathletes, doing their first triathlons this month.
  • Oakley donated the Drizzle and Overtime shades as well as the adorable Carver bags.
  • Hammer went above and beyond with Recoverite and Gel jugs + flask + fizz.
  • Veronica's Health Crunch donated a HUGE bag of her delicious crunch.
  • Nootca donated their amazing anti-fog 207 goggles (which I have been using for the past few weeks and will be wearing at Branson 70.3 next weekend).
  • 110% Play Harder donated the Mercury sock as well as one of their TOP sellers, the calf sleeves. They also provided a visor which is super comfy (Karel and I both have one for the hot summer training).
  • And last but not least, I have to give a HUGE thanks to Trek Jax for opening the shop after hours for the event. Karel is the GM of the San Jose location but his boss Jeff Kopp and his wife Alycia have been super supportive of all my career endeavours. They didn't even hesitate when I asked if I could hold a Ladies Tri Night event, after my friend Sky wanted to have an "informal" nutrition and training talk to 5 of the ladies who she is training for their first triathlon. Who knew it would end up being such a fabulous event with such great support of some amazing companies who embrace an active and healthy lifestyle. I also want to thank Trek employee Nicole for taking time out of her evening to be at the event to answer any female bike-related questions. Courtney P. also works at Trek but she just finished the Las Vegas 70.3 World Championships.

The presentation lasted around 40 minutes so I'd like to recap a little of the first part of the talk....saving the rest for another blog.

PERFORM BEAUTIFULLY

I read a study not too long ago which triggered me to begin my talk on the topic of Perform Beautifully, as part of the Oakley Women campaign.

-Gender and Body Image Study:
ØFemales 50+ years of age, 1,800 U.S. Women
Ø27% obese, 29% overweight, 42% normal weight, 2% underweight
-Results:
Ø4% binge eat
Ø8% purge
Ø70% diet to lose weight
Ø36% dieted ~50% of the time in last 5 years
Ø41% check body size daily
Ø40% weigh themselves at least twice a week
Ø62% report body weight negatively impacts their life
Ø79% report body weight affects self-image
Ø64% think about their weight daily
Environmental Nutrition Sept 2012, Vol 35, No 9.

I struggled making it through my Dear Body letter as I read it allowed but I felt it tied so nicely with the study which shows how women can spend so much of their life focused (and obsessed) on body image - almost wasting life away just to achieve this "perfect" vision of what they feel is "healthy". There's no point in a lean body if you can't do anything with it and certainly, as an athlete, the body is going to change throughout the year and season.
I wrote this letter to myself just a few days before my 4th IM. I found it a life-changing experience and I encourage others to spend the time thinking about what you would say to your body - hopefully positive and perhaps apologetic at times.


 I always try to leave my audience with take-aways rather than just lecturing on what to do. I like to give advice that everyone can use based on their own lifestyle needs. I don't like to lecture, but rather inspire.
 
Here are a few tips if you are striving to perform beautifully:
*Aim for progress not perfection.
*Love your body not for a number on a scale, but for allowing you to cross finish lines by being healthy and strong.
*Don’t rush life. Every day is worth living.
*Every body is special. Embrace your body and individual needs. Don’t live a strict lifestyle but one of balance, consistency and enjoyment.
*Give yourself a reason to wake up every morning with a can-do attitude.
*Set short and long term realistic goals rather than living a life of regret, failure and obsession. Goals require dedication, energy and passion.
*Recognize your own individual needs based on your current training and lifestyle requirements.
 
*Be kind to your body so it doesn’t fail you. Thank your body, daily.
*Recognize the rewards of consistent daily exercise. Eat for fuel and for health.
*To perform beautifully, one must be patient. Take pride in the steps that are required to achieve goals in life and find ways to overcome obstacles with beauty, passion and grace.
 

More to come on how to train smarter......


Tips on consistent training & Sunshine tempeh, squash and mango stir-fry

Marni Sumbal

Wow - 26 days until Branson 70.3. My body is feeling great and Karel is also feeling strong... but we still have about two more weeks to make some more serious performance gains.
This weekend we will visit my parents and ride/train on the hills in San Antonio (Dade City, Florida) to get our legs ready for the challenging 56 mile bike course in Missouri. Plus, Campy misses his grandparents and the "resort-style" living.

Can we say "What a life?"

On Tuesday, I posted on my Facebook page about my tips for achieving consistency w/ training and racing. On a personal note, I'm having my best season ever but I will admit that it's hard to think outside the box, especially when there are so many opinions as to how to train for triathlons. I may have a background in exercise physiology and exercise science and I may be a dietitian, specializing in sport nutrition but no amount of credentials can make it any easier to not overthink training (aka overtrain). Sure, we all know what we should be doing and the right thing to do (and when too much is too much) but, if you are competitive with yourself, like to train or have goals related to your performance, it's easy to always think about those who are better than you and compare yourself to them. Perhaps you should be thinking about those who may be looking up to you - impressed with what you are able to accomplish on a daily basis to meet your own personal goals.

On race day, I'm out to race my competition, not a time. With the trained body that I have on race day, I challenge myself to race amongst those who are better trained than me and I will be proud to race among those who see me as someone who pushes them to train harder. We all race for different reasons.....but we all reach the same finishing line.

One of the hardest things for an athlete-in-training is to be aware of "the now" but to consider the future. Who cares what other athletes are doing - you are racing your own race. To help you have a quality racing and training season, here are my tips to find balance and consistency w/ your training:
1) Get a massage and stretch before you badly need it.
2) Fuel consistently during workout, befo...


re you feel tired and fatigued.
3) Prioritize nutrition before and after workouts, before you find yourself struggling with recovery.
4) Prioritize your nutrition throughout the day to compliment your intense/long daily training regime rather than obsessing about your intake on your "off" or lighter days.
5) Don't strive for a race weight but rather a strong body that will perform optimally by x-day.
6) Don't wait until taper to feel "normal" again, find balance now.
7) Don't "rest" an injury/pain after a workout, address normal vs not normal aches on a daily basis.
8) Don't view your training as train hard and "rest" unintentionally when you need it. Consider intentional rest days long before you actually need them.
9) Respect and thank your body for what it allow you to do on a daily basis.
10) Have fun and inspire others.
 
With less than 4 weeks until race day, you'd imagine that our focus is to train hard....it's crunch time. Yes, we are still training hard BUT the focus now is on reaping every tiny, little gain we can achieve within every single training session. For the magic has been happening over the past 2 months....we have nothing to prove to ourselves in this last peak of training - nor will we give it are all in training. For we belive in saving our best performance for race day.
 
How can we do that but still gain performance and race strong on race day and meet body composition goals? Train hard, recover harder.
More rest, more sleep, more active recovery. More emphasis on the weekends when we have more time to recover (that is, when Karel isn't working on Sunday's and for me...I'm always working :) ) and more recovery (less volume) during the week. The intensity will stay through taper but with more recovery comes more energy, more consistency and more power.
 
I don't train my body to burn calories. I don't focus on what I "can't" eat (according to others).
I fuel. I train hard. I recover. I have fun.
 
I'm loving the challenge of "thinking outside the box" and I can't wait until race day!
 
So, on to another delicious creation.
I'll be honest, some days I just don't feel like cooking. But give me a pre-meal snack like a few baby carrots and some peanuts to chomp on as I am feeding our house full of animals (and fishies) and before I know it, I'm thinking of another creation to fuel my lifestyle. Knowing that a "meal" will leave me satisfied and well-fueled, I decided that the dreary weather was not going to affect my cooking so in honor of the random hurricane Issac rain showers (thankfully, we were not hit), I hope this creation brings sunshine to your belly.....Enjoy!




Sunshine tempeh, squash and mango stir-fry

Ingredients (for ~2 people + a little leftovers):
Mushrooms (container)
Tempeh (cubed, 1 package) - or your choice of protein
1 can roasted tomatoes (no salt added)
Squash (1 large yellow, thinly sliced)
Corn (~1 cup)
Black beans (~1.5 cups, rinsed and drained)
Mango (~1/2 cup cubed)
Whole grains (~1 cup or 1/2 cup per person)
Dark greens of your choice (spinach above)
Olive oil
Seasonings: chili pepper, cumin, curry powder

1. Recommend having protein and whole grain option prepared ahead of time.
2. Heat non stick skillet to medium heat and drizzle w/ olive oil.
3. Cook mushrooms, corn, squash until veggies are lightly golden.
4. Add black means, tomatoes (spoon out rather than pour) and mango and stir until combined.
5. Add protein and cook on low for a few minutes, stir occasionally.
6. Add spices and toss. Turn off heat.
7. Plate greens in shallow bowl. Top w/ heaping scoop(s) of veggie/tempeh mixture and sprinkle w/ whole grains. Top w/ cheese.

Traveling to a race: avoid the FREAK OUT

Marni Sumbal

2006 Boston Marathon

Over the past 6 years, I have had the privilege of traveling to races (or racing to travel) to many exciting venues. Of course, even though I did the training, it wasn't without the help of my travel agent (aka "MOM") to help me stay stress free as I prepared my body and mind for my races. My parents have supported me since I started my journey of endurance racing and I suppose they understand that this is a hobby.....so be it, a very, very, very expensive one.
Luckily, I met Karel on a group ride - so, I guess he "gets it" as well. However, as a cyclist turned triathlete, he is now realizing that cycling races are super cheap. Sure, no t-shirt or medal when you finish but with prize money and an inexpensive race fee, but the logistics of signing up and participating in a cycling race is nothing compared to a triathlete.
I suppose any sport that has  a bag specific to "transitions" is a sport that requires more than just a few accessories.

Speaking of hobby, for most of us, training and racing is a passion, a form of exercise and a way to use your body and mind. Whether you want to collect stamps, watch old movies, read novels or do Suduko, a hobby is something that interests you, is something you are passionate about, keeps you entertained and most of all, makes you happy. It should not disrupt normal daily activities of living and it should simply enhance your life because it is something that can be shared with others (in some way or another).

Having said that, racing triathlons or running events can be pricey. Not mentioning the cost it takes to properly train for a race (clothing, coach/team, massage, gear, nutrition, equipment, etc.), race fees, traveling, logistics, food, etc. every athlete must understand that although you can cut corners to save some money here or there, your race day experience should be even better than all the months (or years) you dedicated to training in order to prepare for that one special day. Knowing that we have just one body and that quality ranks much higher than quantity, I believe there are many areas in training for tri's or running races that are "worth the cost" to make sure you do it right the first time or accomplish your goals without taking too many risks.


When I speak about traveling to a race, I could suggest.....

traveling w/ your bike mechanic (aka my hubby)

making sure your family is entertained - underpants run Kona 2011

and doing the tourist thing - IMKY 2009

to give yourself a better race day experience.

But I'd rather make a few suggestions to athletes who are traveling to a race and want to avoid the freak out.

Here's what to expect:

1) Plan ahead:
Expect delays, bring empty bottles to fill with water in the airport, pack your own food and be sure to have plenty of your own foods with you as you are traveling (or in your room). Consider what helped you out in your training and plan to have those things with you on race week.

2) Stay relaxed:
Wear compression (don't worry - everyone does it, you will fit in just fine), don't be rushed with travel, feel comfortable in your housing arrangements, rest/sleep when you can (or shut your eyes for a power nap) and focus on yourself. Consider any time spent in lines, traveling or waiting for somehing - as something that may stress you out.

3) Do your race research:
Review course maps, race day itinerary/schedule, packet pick-up, transition area, read forums to better understand logistics/timing of race week to-do's, parking, things for your family to do on race day or where they can see you. Consider travels on race day morning (from your hotel) as well as leaving the race.

4) Do your travel research:
Plan early (but accept cancellation fees), consider on or off-sight depending on your comfort/travel, consider rooming/hotel, rental cars, flying/traveling w/ your bike, parking food and time of the year, read forums to bettter understand logistics/timing of traveling to your location. Be sure to review the event website so you don't miss any important check-in's or meetings.

5) Check, re-check and double check:
Review all travel arrangements in the months and weeks leading up the race, review race website, review forums related to the race, pack early and always have a second option.



Over the past few years, my mom has helped me out tremendously in terms of making exceptional travel arrangements for me, Karel and my family. Although my credit card gets a little hot at times, it is sure nice to have someone like my mom, to help me out when it comes to researching everything that goes into a race. With a budget in mind, we have managed to luck-out when it comes to traveling to and staying in places like IMFL, IMKY, KONA, IMWI and Boston (as my "big" races). Certainly, with the time, effort and money that it takes to train for an endurance event, my #1 goal on race week  is to remain focused on my race day performance and to enjoy the entire racing experience - and not freak out about travel arragements.

With two big races on our horizon, I have taken the responsibility from my mom and I have become my own travel agent. As a coach, I help my athletes think about these "traveling" tips well before their race, but I think we all desire different things when it comes to remaining stress-free (as much as possible) while traveling to a race. I have always enjoyed traveling w/ Karel because he keeps me calm and he ensures my bike is race ready. He gives me confidence when I have low points and he makes me laugh when I need it. Pehaps I should bookmark this page for our first season of racing endurance event together - but I have a feeling, we will be just fine racing together. We both need each other in different ways and although we have similar personalities, I know we do better when we are together.

In 5 weeks, Karel and I will be traveling to the midwest to race Branson 70.3.
We are flying out of Orlando because we can save $400 round trip for both of us. We will be flying with our bikes, but traveling on an airline that only asks $75 per bike, each way. We will be taking a rental care from the Branson airport to our hotel (discount code on the Ironman Branson website for Enterprise) and we will be staying about a mile from downtown Branson/finish line (instead of the host hotel at swim start) because there are two seperate transition areas and we would like to be closer to downtown since we are using this as a race-cation.

Next year we will be doing our first IM together - Ironman Lake Placid. Certainly, I wish I could say we will spare no expense to have the best possible experience, but I still must consider the cost of two Ironman athletes training and racing for the same event. Right now, with the price of lodging (booked our cottage ~3 miles from downtown - on the run course), bike travel and flights (considering Tri-bike transport depending on airline prices + what airline we fly, will check in early winter) and race fees (paid), we are at ~$4000.  
Yep - a very costly hobby but I wouldn't want it any other way.


Life is all about making memories. Train smart and the journey will be worth "it".

How to race for a lifetime

Marni Sumbal

I'm so thankful that I slept in on Monday and recovered my body and mind. Monday is either a complete off day or a 2500-3000 recovery swim but it is always decided on Sunday whether or not I will exercise on Monday morning.

My choice to recover has allowed for 4 great training sessions where I was able to stick to my workouts as prescribed.

Tues AM track -main set: 6 x 800's w/ 400 jog/walk
Tues PM Bike - main set: 3 x 15 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
Wed AM hip strength, then swim - main set 6 x 200's, 400 drill, 3 x 100's
Thurs AM Brick - Main set on bike: 8 min Z3, 2 min EZ, 10 min Z3, 2 min EZ, 14 min Z3, 2 min EZ, 10 min Z3, 5 min EZ, 8 min Z4. Main set on run: mile 1 easy, mile 2 and 3 moderate, mile 4 hard. Cool down w/ Campy

Yep - it's a lot but body is fueled, mind is relaxed and life is balanced. No less than 7 hours of sleep a night and the main focus is always on the main set - not the time or miles. I make sure every workout counts.

Here lately, I find that athletes are developing an unhealthy relationship w/ exercise. Some would call it training for an event but I don't see it like that. For when you train, you work hard. There's a purpose and the reason why you train is to get something out of the workout. Sometimes it's not about pushing hard but rather adjusting the set so that you are able to be consistent w/ training. Sometimes it is taking a day of intentional rest rather than taking a chance that your "pain" will go away while you are training or that you will "rest it" after the workout. Understanding that yes, you can burn calories by training for an event, it is only when you prioritize your nutrition around workouts that you will do a body good by eating to train.....not training to eat.

I came across this article
Fire in the belly
by Dick Patrick

and could not wait to share. I wanted to disect a few parts of the article first, just to provide you w/ a few take home points.


"Meb Keflezighi had fitness worries entering Sunday’s marathon at the London Olympics. Following his Olympic Trials victory in January, Keflezighi had injuries and illness that disrupted his buildup."

Yes - Olympians get injuries just like the normal folks. Although all of us as athletes are teetering on the edge, always pushing our limits, athletes at the highest level often recognize that taking a chance can run a season. For many, it isn't worth it and they take all precautions to prevent injuries before they occur. When they are injured, smart athletes have people watching over them to make sure they avoid "testing it out" too soon. It takes  a team to build an athlete, it takes one small mistake of ignoring an issue until it gets too severe, for an athlete. to get hurt Trust your team - they care about you.


“That was an epic effort,” Keflezighi said. “I don’t get a medal, but I know how special it is to get a medal. This was also special. You put your heart and soul into it, and fourth place in the world isn’t too bad.”

It's not about the finishing time or the place but rather what you put into the race. The real success story is not found on paper but rather within the body of the athlete competiting in the race

Keflezighi predicted to his wife, Yordanos, a couple of weeks ago that he might get fourth as they discussed tactics. Keflezighi was shy of training with a high week of 117 and just four over 100 miles. He and Bob Larsen, whose 19-year relationship has evolved from athlete-coach to friend-mentor, needed to be careful so Keflezighi could get to the start line healthy, if undertrained.
“I’m healthy but not fit enough,” said Keflezighi, who had hip flexor and glute muscle problems in the spring and into the summer. “I had some setbacks and had to work with them. I did the best I could with the cards I was dealt.

Better to get to the starting line healthy and a little undertrained than injured or overtrained. Focus on your current level of fitness and create a race day plan based on what you can do with your body. Recognize that there will always be more races. Setbacks don't mean failures. Setbacks make you stronger because you address what isn't working w/ a desire, passion and goal to make it work.

“For me the goal for the year was accomplished, making the Olympic team. I also wanted to see what I could do here. I told coach if I could have another two weeks or five weeks, I know I could run 2:06 or 2:07 in ideal weather.”

There will always be more races. So what - you registered and paid for a race? Unless that is your last race ever consider missing the race if you are not properly prepared or injured. Perhaps address why you aren't peaking appropriately and use this as a learning lesson. Again - there will always be more races - that is, if your body can recover an heal. Weather, terrain, environment, competition - it's not just about the finish time or how many x-hour weeks or miles you trained. Race day is all about showing off your potential.

“I was struggling; even the second [chase] group got ahead of me,” he said. “I kept praying for God to get me connected to the second group and after that to see if I could be top 10 or 15. I kept working, changing strategies, focuses and goals.”

LOVE THIS - accept the day and deviate from the plan. It's not about preventing issues but knowing how to deal with them when they arise. A great performance can be diminished by a poor attitude or too high of expectations and the inability to adjust the plan.

Unlike Athens, when Keflezighi was accompanied only by Larsen, in London he had an entourage of nearly 50 people, including all 10 siblings and 15 other relatives.
“Everybody wanted to be part of it,” Keflezighi said. “It helped me be relaxed and do what I do best, which is run. It was a great experience.”

Don't forget that you are an inspiration to others - the spectators. Your worst day may be someone's best day. Always enjoy the journey and don't put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Success in sport comes w/ experience just as it does w/ a good attitude, a good race day plan and balanced training. Oh - and good nutrition, of course. :)

Keflezighi, who was 12th in the 10,000 at the 2000 Sydney Games, says it will be his last Olympics. He’d like to do a fall marathon and maybe a couple of major marathons in 2013. Then it may come time for retirement.

For most of us, we are racing for a lifetime - not for one finish line. Retiring from a sport like running or triathlons likely means not racing.....ever again. If anything, many people reading this blog are just getting started - in their 40's and 50's! In order to not give yourself a stopping point, be sure to focus on both short and long term goals. Always keep your eye on the bigger picture and if anything, your sport is simply an extension of your love for an active lifestyle. If you get injured, hurt or sick, this likely affects your quality of life and activities of daily living. Remember the bigger picture - always. Sports should be challenging, confidence boosting and fun.

“It takes so much commitment, so much hard work,” Keflezighi said of training. “You get injured, it takes twice as log to recover. I don’t want to abuse my body other than the 26.2 miles of the race.”

Couldn't have said it better myself. To train properly you place intentional stress on the body in order to adapt. It can be a fun kind of abuse but be sure it enhances your life. Committ, work hard and enjoy the journey......

A triathletes body

Marni Sumbal



After my long run on Sunday morning (12 mile group run) I recovered in my favorite type of salt bath...and did a little thinking.

Over the past 12 years, I have spent most of my days learning about the physiology of the body. Whether it is during exercise or in relation to nutrition, over the past 4380 days, I can't really think of a day when I wasn't learning.

Although the stressful learning (aka exams) is behind me, I know have 3 credentials behind my name that qualify me to provide advice to the public in the fields of exercise science (BA), exercise physiology (MS) and nutrition (RD, LD/N). I also have a list of athletic accomplishments to help me say "been there, done that".

But with credentials come experience. At the ripe age of 30, I certainly have a lot of learning to do. I've had learning lessons along the way and I have been stubborn in several life-changing decisions/experiences. But I've been very careful to always learn in order to try to not make the same mistake twice.

In the quest to help individuals reach athletic, nutrition and health related goals, I have realized one very important thing......

It is easier to learn from the mistakes of others, than to make those mistakes yourself.

I have aways expressed my love for triathlons and that it is my lifestyle, not my life. I have a very supportive family that encourages me to reach my swim-bike-run goals but I also know how to keep things balanced.

As an outsider and a professional, I am learning the positives and negatives that come from being a triathlete, runner or endurance athlete.

Achievement, overcoming obstacles, dedication, excitement, fun, strength, courage, skill, mental and physical toughness.....

Just some of the many positives that come with signing up for a race, setting a goal and putting in the work to achieve the goal.

But then there are the negatives.

I recently read this article on the physiological impact of an Ironman on the human body and it really got me thinking.

"Do triathletes and runners take for granted the impact of "training" for an event, on the human body."
In my opinion, any event that you register for, places stress on the body. Why should a 5K be any different than an Ironman or marathon when it comes to properly preparing the body for the upcoming distance (and planned intensity/effort + recovery).
With a multitude of races occuring every single weekend, around the world, it is so easy to sign up for a race. .........perhaps, too easy that people overlook the importance of thinking through the process of what it takes to prep the mind and body for an event - at any distance.

The problem occurs when athletes do not respect the human body and whether it is a 5K or Ironman, ahletes far to often obsess about the miles and forget about the journey.

I am really starting to get worried and concerned for athletes who are new to the sport of running or triathlons as well as those who get caught up in the training miles (veterans). For it is so easy to just jump into a race or "train" for an event, without having an understanding OR appreciation of the physiological, mental and emotional impact that it can place on the body.

This is an area that I am a really passionate about because I have studied it for the past 8-12 years. You won't see me doing "B" races or racing back to back weekends. I give myself at least 3 months to "train" for most events, I give myself ample time to taper and recover from every race and I plan my schedule far in advance so that I feel little pressure to rush the recovery or training process. Right now, I am working with my athletes on their 2013 schedules so that no mistakes are made as to put races too close together or to overlook the fundamental reason why athletes sign up for races....
I believe in doing everything possible to prepare the body to perform optimally on race day, keep the body at a healthy weight and reduce risk for injury and illness.


RACING: TO PERFORM AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE.

Are you preparing for a "race"?

If you don't care about reaching performance goals, you may as well be exercising. For training requires a certain amount of stress on the body to reach performance gains. However, this stress should not occur at the result of relationship problems, sickness, injuries, illness or constant fatigue. Oh, and burnout.

A few weeks ago I spoke to a wife of a recent Ironman finisher and she told me that she didn't even notice her husband was training for an Ironman. With 2 kids at home, not much changed from the normal training routine except one or two 5-6 hour workouts in the final parts of his training. This athlete was Karel's boss Jeff, who finished IM Texas in around 10 hours and 40 minutes. He trained smart and performed extremely well on race day. No injuries, sickness or burnout - just consistency and fun w/ training and not getting sucked up in the chatter as to how one must train for a triahlon.

In training for Kona and IMWI, I did 1 ride over 100 miles and it was 112 miles. I did a few rides around 5 hours and my longest run was aound 2 hours, off a 2 hour bike ride. I don't count time or miles, but rather I go by specific workout, for the day. My training is not a part-time job so I am not clocking time.
You may say that I am conditioned as an athlete, but my newbie and veteran athletes do the same thing and they consistently improve and enjoy the journey - without difficulty training for races and feeling great balance with the rest of their life. I don't do pre-made plans for my long distance athletes. Every athlete is an individual and I work with their schedule. 8-10 hours a week or 18 hours - we make it happen.

Of course,  I also emphasize the other areas that allow for great performances such as strength training, sport nutrition, daily nutrition, good attitude, mental strength and of course - RECOVERY and SLEEP!

If you are training for an event, I ask you to think about the consistency in your training routine, your ability to progress and your daily committment to training. For it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. Address how much time you can train (and recover) from training and then make the most of it.

I had a tough week of training last week. Today was a day off. I will resume training again on Tues for another 6 days of training. Performance gains don't come in 1 day or 1 month. Athletes aren't made in seasons. Considering that many of "us" don't exercise, but rather we train, keep in mind that your body goes through a lot on a daily basis. Please don't take your body for granted...only to cross a finish line because you paid for it.

Best advice: As a triathlete, I have a routine and a schedule that changes frequently, to allow me to be as consistent as possible. Because my lifestyle changes, I try to receive the most prominent physiological adaptations to the body with the least amount of training stress.

Final note: In the hospital, I see patients who are severly dehydrated from diarrhea/vomiting and are placed on IV's. I see patients with ongoing digestive problems that require tube feedings or extreme dietary changes. I see patients who are "frequent" fliers, experiencing ongoing illnesses because of the lack of desire to change and learn from past experiences and mistakes. And most of all, I see patients who aren't given second chances and would love another opportunity to do it all over again or have one more chance at life.

Oddly, the risks athletes take are not much different than my patients in the hospital. Do you assume it is ok or common to experience severe cramps, dehydration, extreme fatigue, lack of appetite, extreme weight loss (or gain) and brain fog.....just because you are training for a race - or racing to a finish line? In my opionin, there is no "easy" race or training session. I am an athlete by heart and will be one for the rest of my life - I love to push my body to its limits. But in my mind, I do not appreciate it when athletes compromise the body intentionally or without a proper plan, only to finish a race or training session to check-off the miles. Sure, some training sessions will be tough but if don't know how much is too much for your body to handle, it is time to consult a professional.

Consider the mistakes that you have made or the mistakes of others and address what you can do now to be the athlete who have aways aspired to be....knowing that you only have one shot at life, with your one and only body - I invite you to start training smarter, fueling better and living a quality and balanced life.
Never forget that life is a journey - don't rush it!

First triathlon ~2004

5th Ironman - Oct 2011



DEAR BODY: The letter I wrote my body before my 4th Ironman - a few days before I qualified for my 5th Ironman - the IM World Championships.


Thanks for reading :)
-Marni






Sport Nutrition Tip - Sport nutrition

Marni Sumbal

Ironman World Championships 2011 - Kona, Hawaii

Are you training for an athletic event? If so, do not overlook the importance of trusting and utilizing an effective sport nutrition training plan. For on race day, your body will perform based on weeks, months and even years of training -  not just because you stuck to a "perfect" race day fueling plan.

Consider that the nutrition before, during and after training will energize workouts and will help you recover faster. For the quicker you recover, the more consistently you can train and the easier it is to notice performance gains within training sessions.

Whether you think you don't need them or desire to change body composition, do not fear and restrict calories around workouts (particularly around an hour or more, however there are some exceptions to this suggestion). In today's society, the typical diet of an athlete does not support training for it often lacks in quality nutrients to support metabolic processes and the composition and timing of nutrients keeps a body struggling for energy and a quick recovery.

More often than not, athletes need to address the quality of the diet during the day (on a daily basis) as well as the couple hundred additional calories they are overconsuming later in the day (and/or immediately post workout) on hard or long workout days as well as the restriction of nutrients that may keep an athlete satisfied and well-fueled.

Prioritize electrolytes, fluids and cabohydrates (this is where the calories are coming from - carbs) as a baseline to create a foundation of proper sport nutrition during workouts. Give your body a little fuel before workouts and take advantage of recovery nutrition post workouts. Most sport nutrition products are designed to match the needs of athletes (based on consistent scientific research that hasn't changed over the past few decades), although there is no perfect product on the market (in my opinion) to match everyone's needs, perfectly. Each athlete is unique pending his/her training and body composition goals as well as fitness level and structure of training so always address your own issues rather than trying to match the nutrition of a training partner, coach or professional athlete.

Reccomendations during a 1-2 hour workout:
*1 bottle per 60-70 min of training
*Prep 30-60g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin based) per bottl, or if you need more calories, 45-75g carbs (maltodextrin + fructose based). OK to do gel + water or powder + water - based on toleration and ability to digest and absorb.
*Be sure your product has electrolytes - magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium, as well as calcium or you may need to add w/ additional powder or pills.
*Sip frequently (common error of athletes) - every 10-15 minutes, regardless of sport, intensity or duration.
*Use additional water to cool body temperature (and for sipping) to help reduce gradual increase in heart rate.

Pre and post training before and after a 1-2 hr workout - keep it simple!
PRE:
-Cherrios/shredded wheat/oatmeal + milk
-Toast + nut butter
-Banana + walnuts
(around 30-60g carbohydrates + a few grams protein/fat. If tolerable, I find cow's milk (skim) to be the best to help with recovery, but consuming in a pre training snack thanks to the leucine and types of protein in milk).
-8-16 ounces of water (a must!) + coffee (recommended, or tea).
POST:
-8 ounces low fat chocolate milk
-Skim milk + whey protein
-Omelet + toast
-Cereal + milk
-Cottage cheese + fruit
-16-24 ounces water (consider adding FIZZ from hammer if sweating a lot or intense workout) + coffee (which has been shown to help with glycogen resynthesis)
(around a 2:1 or 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein post workout. Recommend at least 15-25g protein post workout which would be around 30-100g carbs depending on intensity and volume of activity)
Consult a RD specializing in sport nutrition if you need more guidance on designing an effective fueling routine to enhance your lifestyle and workouts.


Keep in mind that your nutrition before, during and after training is only as good as your ability to digest and absorb nutrition during training as well as your comfort of consuming products/food/drinks around workouts. Always work your way up in nutrition to discover what works/doesn't work. It is not suggested to make yourself bonk during training. Be sure to have back-up in the case that you need more nutrition during a workout - however, the above strategy should be applied conistently so that the body becomes more efficient at using fuels effectively during training.
For a recovery/off day, the only thing that will change in your diet, should be your pre, during and post training. No need to fear a day of off training when you body is trying to recover. A well designed diet will not include "sport nutrition" when you aren't training or needing the body to perform.

Race week tips - Endurance events

Marni Sumbal


May 2006. My very first endurance triathlon - Ironman Florida 70.3. I had no idea if I trained right for the distance or what I needed to be aware of on race day. So, the only thing I had control over was my attitude and at the ripe age of 23 (almost 24), I was overly confident and I was stubborn enough to believe I had done everything right to race my first half ironman.


As for packing my transition bag - well, that was another story. This is totally a newbie picture.


But we all know that race day performances are built on consistent actions. You eventually learn how to train smarter, pace better and plan ahead. Eventually, if you set your sights on your goals - dreams reallly do come true....even if you still feel like a newbie - 6 years later.

For when you train the body to perform, your race day performance is solely dependent on your fitness - on that day.

When I work with my athletes, I thrive off seeing them progress with their training, only to get ancy the week or two before a race. The best feeling I can get as a coach is knowing that my athletes are ready to jump out of their skin to get to the starting and that they are hungry to race.
As for my nutrition athletes, I realize that I am not always working with them on a daily basis, leading up to their key race. Many times, they have a coach. However, I still find it practical to help athletes with race week and race day nutrition in order to perform optimally on race day for many times, not having a well-laid nutrition plan is a missing link in how athletes perform on race day.

I wanted to provide a few of my favorite blog posts on gearing up to an endurance event in order to help prepare others for a successful race day. Knowing that an endurance race is mostly mental, it is critically important to understand the other variables that may affect performances:
1) Attitude
2) Gear/clothing
3) Nutrition
4) Pacing

When you consider the above categories and what you can control on race day, you are going to be in a bette frame of mind and with that, confidence improves and you will race smarter.

Enjoy some of my favorite posts:
(Any questions - please comment or send me an email)











A balanced pre race diet

IMWI race report

IMKY race report

2007 IM World championship race report - warning: I was injured and do not encourage athletes to race an endurance race injured or ill





Keep your mind focused and pace your own race. Getting to the starting line is the hardest part of training. The fun starts and continues until you reach the finish line.