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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: "racing tip"

Race Ready tips

Marni Sumbal

Our bikes are making their way to Lake Placid, New York for Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th thanks to Tri Bike Transport!

Seeing that my amazing bike mechanic/hubby will be racing in his first Ironman

and not riding on his road bike, giving my parents updates during my race (pic below from Kona 2011), we will be using Tri Bike Transport for my 6th Ironman and not traveling with our bikes on the airplane. What a treat!

Are you race ready?

New shoes, new race wheels, new wetsuit, new outfit.

Athletes are notorious for race week shopping, whether it is online, at local small business stores or at the race expo. I feel there is a nice psychological boost to having new things, so long as they are effective and practical for the race for motivation increases when you have a drive to use something new.

But having new items does not out-weigh the 3 most important tips for being race day ready.

1) Skills

2) Confidence

3) Planning

To briefly break down my 3 most important tips for being race day ready, let's start with skills.

Running requires you to  move one leg in front of each other, quickly. If you don't want to run, you can walk. Although running requires good form, most people can run without having the proper skills to run. When it comes to swimming and cycling, skills are very important. From skills to keep your body safe in the water and on the road to skills to efficiently use your body on the race day course/terrain. I find that many athletes do the work by training hard and putting in the work but the lack of skills in training is overpowered by zone-training, high heart rates and social workouts. Be sure you put just as much time in your racing skills as you do in training your heart, muscles and lungs.

I love training knowing that I am working toward executing my current level of fitness on race day. Although it is completely normal and fine to have race week/day nerves and to fear the upcoming distance or course, you should never let your fears get the best of you. On the flip side, remind yourself the work that you put in to prepare for the race. Many times during a race (and before) you will have doubts, moments of "is this worth is" and even thoughts of "I can't wait til this is over." More often than not, those thoughts are temporary. Keep in mind that every negative thought comes before or after a positive thought. You just have to keep moving forward to catch those positive thoughts and hang on to them. When you finish a race, every negative thought will disappear and suddenly everything will be worth it, you won't believe it is over and you will be so proud that you did it. Don't let negative thoughts or energy fill your head when you can fill your mind with confidence and beliefs that you can race smart no matter what the day has in store for you.

There are many controllables when it comes to racing and lots of uncontrollables. You can't control your competition, you can't control the weather and you can't change the course. But you can control your race by planing your nutrition, your clothing, your pacing plan and your attitude. Consider these four very important components of putting together an effective, smart race day plan for racing is not about showing up to race day and hoping for a great race but instead, considering how you can be in control of your race day execution and knowing how to deal with situations as they come about (which they will).

A few other tips for racing:
-I am not a fan of racing "stimulants" - avoid the chemical boosters (ex. drinks, pills) for energy and do a race warm-up to get the blood flowing and the body ready for the upcoming effort.
-Do not sabotage your race day by worrying about your weight. There is no reason to restrict, control or stress about food, especially if it real food that has fueled your training or can help you properly taper for your race.
-If you are investing in new race day equipment such as cycling wheels, be sure to practice on them prior to the race (at least 2-3 weeks prior). Racing wheels can be difficult to get use to for many athletes and more often than not, they will make you look fast but if you don't have the right skills, they won't work as intended.
-Do not deviate from what has worked in the place. Athletes often second guess themselves on the days before a race, often trying new things, wondering how to fuel for the race, stressing about what others will think of their race day performance. Remember that you are racing with your current level of fitness so your body will perform how you trained it to perform.
-Race your own race. You will find a way to get to the finish line no matter what but to waste your entire race day pacing plan in the first few miles of a race will make for a very long race. There are no certainties with racing but to only trust yourself and staying within your comfort zone of your skills, nutrition strategy and pacing plan.
-Help out others. There is a special power in cheering on others, especially if you need a boost as well. Thank the volunteers, high-five the spectators and smile at the other athletes. Your worst day may be someone else's best day so if you have it in you or not, remember that everyone has their own reason for racing.
-Don't get stuck on time, paces and rankings. The best race day stories are not told by a piece of paper or online but instead, by YOU the athlete. Consider writing a post race blog report or writing about your day to share with others. Do not let your race day goals keep you from inspiring others.
-Have fun! If you don't love what you are doing, why do it? Unless you are a professional, you should be enjoying the journey of challenging yourself, overcoming obstacles and becoming a stronger, smarter and healthier individual. Whatever your sport may be, it is your lifestyle, not your life. Never stop being grateful for what your body allows you to do and thank your body many times during the race.
-Be prepared for race day. Review the course (or try it out), check the weather, consider outside variables that may affect you. Do not worry about doing something that "isn't cool", being different or unique. Be prepared for your day and don't worry about what others think of you as you are racing your own race and only you, your body and your mind can get you to the finish line.

Happy Racing!

How to fuel for a night race

Marni Sumbal

I was really excited to provide my insight on how to fuel for night races when asked by a member of the Palm Harbor Tri Warriors Club.  Although I don't personally enjoy evening races (unless it involves crossing an Ironman finishing line around 6pm), being married to a category 1 cyclist has given me many opportunities to understand how to to eat on the day of an evening race. There's nothing more thrilling than watching an evening criterium and for the past few years, Karel has taken part in some big National Racing Calendar races, which involve racing at your max for 75-90 minutes. With the Athens Twilight being the mack-daddy of them all (Karel has finished it for the past two years, 80K on a 1K course), the only way I can describe the intensity is imagine running 1 mile all out for around 90 minutes, with only a second or two rest here or there - if you are lucky.
With Karel racing at a high intensity in the evening, I always took mental notes on what worked/didn't work for him so that I could always help him out for his race day fueling plan, up until race start. Certainly, every sport (and distance) will differ depending on the athlete and intensity so it took several races to figure out exactly what worked best for Karel.

Here's a video from Karel's Athens Twilight finish last April after almost 1 hour and 40ish minutes of racing. The race officially starts around 9:15-9:20pm on a Saturday night.

I hope you enjoy the interview/article on fueling for night races (with permission from the club to feature on my blog).

Fueling for Night Races
By: Christie O'Sullivan
Some of the biggest running parties happen at night races and so many of us get trained and geared up to run them only to get sick afterward. Some of the biggest races are at night, from the Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon to the Rock N Roll 1/2s and Ragnar. Running a night race can be tricky because if you don't time your fueling right and fuel the wrong way, you could end up in the bathroom for hours. (Trust us.)

So WHEN do you fuel for it? And more importantly, HOW?

We wanted to find out so we went to our resident nutritionist Marni Sumbal from to help sort it all out. Thanks Marni, for the tips!

One of the most important tips for fueling for a night race is watching your fat and fiber intake. Nerves combined with low blood sugar can cause a big GI problem, so eating a balance of carbs and proteins in small meals throughout the day will help you keep the blood sugar stable.

You should not be “hungry” or famished at any point during race day. That can lead to over fueling and high fat/fiber choices.

The meal that will actually fuel your race won’t be a meal from race day, but the day before. Eat a filling breakfast the day before filled with a balance of healthy proteins and carbs, then eat consistently small meals throughout the rest of the day and on race day.
Your last meal before the race start should be 3-4 hours beforehand and should be small and easily digestible, something you would eat before a morning workout. Piece of toast and peanut butter or liquid nutrition like a shake or drink. Food choices should primarily be from carbohydrates with a little protein/fat to slow down digestion. Be sure to consume at least 8-12 ounces of water with the pre-race meal to help with digestion of nutrients from the stomach.
Keeping your blood sugar consistent will also aid in your post-race recovery.
Be sure that your race day pacing plan is consistent with your current level of fitness. No amount of nutrition or the "perfect fueling plan on race day" can make you run 7 min/miles if you haven't trained yourself to do so in training!

Now that you’ve focused on pre-race nutrition, don’t throw it all out the window during the race. Make sure you’re hydrating and taking in nutrition consistently throughout the long races. During a race lasting more than 45-60 minutes, take in water every 10-15 minutes and 30-60 grams of fuel every hour for endurance races, ½ marathon or longer. Suggestion: combine a gel with water in a gel flask as an easy way to provide your body with electrolytes, liquids and carbohydrates every mile or 10 minutes as opposed to fueling every 30-40 minutes. The more consistently you fuel during the race, the more likely you will avoid residual fatigue and dropping energy as the race goes on.

Find what works for the race! Don’t let race day be the first time you tried the fueling regimen out. Practice fueling some long night runs several weeks before the race. Plan a long run or two in the evening 3-4 weeks out so you can get your body acclimated for race day. Schedule a couple interval workouts at night. It’s hard to fuel for that intensity, so this will help your body adjust to the change.

Be aware of your normal bowel functions. Keep in mind that a nervous stomach alongside a change in racing time can easily throw off your "routine." Even with the perfect race day nutrition and fueling plan, a body that is not comfortable with change may cause you to see the port-a-john immediately after (or during) a race. Understand that evening races are not for everyone and most importantly, as you train your body to cross finishing lines, be sure to recognize what races are best suited for your body.

Good luck out there!! Hopefully this will prepare you to be able to enjoy both the Wine & Dine aspect of the race after the run is over!

Thanks again to Marni for the tips! Find Marni on the web at and on Facebook:

One thing that I forgot to mention is the excessive use of caffeinated beverages that you may be consuming to keep yourself energized and awake before a late evening race start. Although advantageous for the athlete who enjoys the cup of Joe to stimulate the  bowel  movements before a morning workout or race, a nervous belly alongside an excessive amount of caffeine in the evening may cause GI distress before and during your race (which will ultimately make it harder to properly stick to your race fueling plan). Additionally, too much caffeine may cause constipation in some which may cause you to feel bloated throughout the race (alongside overeating throughout the day). Be mindul of your eating and drinking before an evening race, likely experience and practice will be key to finding out what works best for you and your body.

Spectator advice at a race

Marni Sumbal

Tampa Twilight Classic

IMWI 2010
For the past 6.5 years, Karel and I have spent many of weekends on race courses. I've always felt we make a great team because we both share a similar lifestyle with different passions. Well, different passions until this May when Karel decided to embrace the challenge of triathlons after racing competitively as a cyclist (in Europe and USA) as a top cyclist.
Watching Karel race in cycling races was so exciting and I loved the energy and vibe at cycling venues. Unlike triathlons, I never knew if Karel would finish a race for a crash, bad luck or not having the legs to keep up with other teams/riders was always a "what if" scenario. But nevertheless, Karel never stopped enjoying cycling races....he just wanted to a new challenge.
In triathlons, Karel has been my #1 fan (tied w/ my parents) and he helps me reach my full potential. When I have doubts, worries or fears, he keeps me calm and gives me the confidence I need to succeed.
This weekend we are heading to Venice Beach, FL for the Rev3 half iron distance triathlon on Sunday. Karel is racing, Campy and I are spectating.
I've received several questions as to why I am not racing or if it will be hard to not race while watching Karel. Absolutely not.
I gave everything I had at Branson 70.3, I am not injured, not over trained/burnout and I am enjoying focusing on an upcoming half marathon. All good reasons to not feel the need to test myself or prove anything just to share another triathlon with Karel.

The best part about being a spectator (athlete or not) is being able to make memories and celebrate with someone else....without having to be in the race. Watching someone race can be very inspiring, motivating and exciting and should not be done with jealousy or spite. Although Karel and I both share a triathlon lifestyle together, I am looking forward to being on the sidelines and feeling the energy of this event.
Being a spectator can be exhausting. Also, for anyone doing an event or distance for the first time, spectators (ex. family/friends) may feel draining as you prep your mind and body for the big day. Certainly we need our support crew on race day but it is important that our biggest fans follow a few guidelines so that you (athlete) can execute your race day plan and put all your hard training to the test.

1) Stick to the plan - athletes will likely have to-do's on the days leading up to the race. In order to keep the athlete relaxed, don't try to change the tentative schedule.
2) Eat on his/her schedule - an athlete is going to know what foods work best and when to eat them. Don't encourage an athlete to try new places or to stick to your eating routine. Likely, an athlete is going to prioritize digestion and eat to allow for a happy GI system on race day.
3) Don't ask too many questions - athletes can be a bit jumpy on race week.Wanting to know how they are feeling, if they are ready, if they know their finishing time, why they are doing this, etc. can bring self-doubt to an athlete or can bring anxiety on the days before a race. There's nothing wrong with wanting to give positive energy to an athlete but be careful of your words as athletes are often on-edge on the days leading up to a race (they still love you but they can't always control their emotions and words).
4) Review the athlete and spectator guide - almost all your questions can be answered in the program guide (often found on the race website). Course maps, race day schedule and other important details/rules for spectators can be found in the guide and can be very helpful for a fun race day experience. Also, use technology such as Iron Trac app, live tracking on the race website (if applicable) or connect with friends who may be "watching" the event online.
5) Be prepared for a long day - no matter the distance of the event, you will likely be up early and there will be idol time throughout the day. Be sure to bring plenty of food and water and dress appropriately as the weather may change between 5am and 10pm. Expect extra time for awards and to allow an athlete to properly recover post race and expect to wake up early as most races start very early.
6) Be a superstar spectator - once an athlete is out on the course, he/she will need your help to get them to the finish line. Dress in fun costumes, make t-shirts and signs and give a loud cheer. Bring a camera and wear comfortable clothing to move quickly to spot your favorite athlete along the course (Just don't support them by giving them anything during a race or running along with them as that can be a DQ for an athlete or penalty). Come up with funny phrases and avoid any phrases that may discourage an athlete. Also, do not give wrong information. Don't tell athletes where to turn or how far they have left in the race, unless you are positive the information is correct. Often, athletes are in a zone and too much outside information can distract and overwhelm an athlete. But, if an athlete is a few miles from the finish line, get out your loudest cheering voice for he/she will likely need it.

7) Don't bring up time goals - A successful race is best told from the athlete, not from a piece of paper. Even if an athlete has a time (or place goal), allow the athlete to give his/her race report before asking about places and times. Sometimes the best performances come from overcoming obstacles rather than finishing with a PR.
8) Have a finish line plan - Certainly, the finish is the most exciting part of a race. Don't miss your athlete at the finish! Encourage your athlete to communicate with you about estimated finishing time just to have an idea as to when they may finish. When all else fails, be sure to snap a pic in the last 1-2 miles of the race and have a designated spot to meet your athlete post race.
9) Dream big - There's a reason as to why your athlete has decided to participate in this race/event. Be inspired by his/her commitment to dream big and don't take that away from him/her. Even if an athlete has a "bad" day, don't discourage your athlete from having big dreams. Every athlete is bound to have a bad race but hopefully, it doesn't have to be his/her last race. The more you support and give love to your athlete, the better he/she will feel about him/herself on race day. Many times, athletes will feel guilty that they are too selfish or spend too much time thinking, training and preparing for a big race (not to mention the money spent on races/training). Although a balanced lifestyle is important, communicate with your athlete that you enjoy being their #1 fan and can't wait to be out there on race day to make memories with your favorite athlete.
IMWI 2010