Monthly Archives: February 2012

What’s On Your Training Menu?

What’s On Your Training Menu? Does it include foods focused on high, sustainable energy, healthy fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, complex carbs? Does it taste amazing?

Ours does!
We are thrilled to announce the official Cap City Panera Training Menu!
With the approval of a friend and colleague, dietician Kristen Paeirs (, I am happy to announce the selection of high-performing foods I have chosen as the official Cap City Menu at Panera Foods all around Columbus!

Whole grain bagel – Plain Cream Cheese
Egg & Cheese on Ciabatta
Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Fruit and Pecans

Lunch or Dinner
You pick two menu: – Choose wheat baguette side
Half a Roasted Turkey Artichoke on Foccacia with Asiago Cheese with a half classic salad
Half a Napa Almond Chicken Salad on Sesame Semolina with a half classic salad
Half Mediterranean Veggie on XL Tomato Basil with Low fat veg Black Bean soup

Full Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken
Full BBQ Chopped Chicken

Soup (in a bowl – not bread bowl)
Low-fat Vegetarian Black Bean
All Natural Low-Fat Chicken Noodle

Acai Tea

Enjoy your run and then refuel with a fabulous, high-energy meal that will help you feel great all day!

(If you are looking for a dietician to help you come up with a game plan for the long haul – Kristen is a great resource – I have used her amazing knowledge in the past and enjoy her creative ideas!

Healthy Nutrition for an Energized Training Program and Beyond

Coach Julie

While nutrition varies for each person, and based on goals, medical history, and preference, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to eat for energy – in your training program – and in everyday life.

    • Eat small meals every 2-3 hours to keep energy levels the same throughout the day
    • Include lean protein in every meal (if you are having a salad, put chicken or beans on it, for example)
    • Select natural carbs when possible – whole grains, fruits, vegetables
    • Try to avoid processed or synthetic foods when possible – these are more challenging for the body to break down and create more work for your digestive system/potential distress in the body
    • Drink water with every meal; 64 oz. a day
    • Don’t think of food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and try not to consider a day a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food day – consider food what it is – energy.  And, try to eat 80% of your calories each week focused on energy and sustainment – the other 20% – those can be favorite splurges.  Consider each day a day focused on ‘energy’.

Now, let’s break down how to eat before, during and after exercise.

    • 45-90 minutes before your workout
      • Eat an easily digestible, light food; such as a banana with peanut butter, greek yogurt, bar, small shake (try somethings out – see what you enjoy and tastes good to you!)
      • Drink 8-16 oz. of water
    • During your workout
      • Drink 4-6 oz. of water every 10-15 minutes
      • For a long training workout, consume around 300 calories of a easily/quickly digestible, high-carb product – like a PowerBar, Gu, PowerShot; you may also want to select an electrolyte drink as well if you are working at a high intensity/sweating
    • After your workout
      • Within 45 minutes, eat something with a 4:1 carb: protein ratio (whole grain bread with turkey, apple and peanut butter) – this combination helps to repair muscle breakdown, refuel your energy system and help you to recover quicker
      • Drink 8-16 oz. of water
Water is a en essential element to healthy and efficient cellular function, so make sure you are drinking your water ALL the time!
So, you might be thinking – Julie – this is great – but help me translate this into real-life.  What can I eat when I am out and about?  I am so glad you asked!  In the next few weeks, Cap City is proud to announce our official training menu at Panera!  I have helped to select breakfast, lunch and dinner options at Panera that focus on whole grains, high protein, lower sugar, sodium or fat – perfect for your training program!  So now you truly can have it all – healthier, tasteful food that makes it easy for you to eat for energy!
Here’s to your journey ahead!

(Please note: for a specific dietary plan, please consult a registered dietician)

What/how Should I Eat As I Am Training For the Cap City Half Marathon?

Coach Julie

This question came in from Lynne from Columbus!  Thanks Lynne!
Nutrition is an essential element to a successful training program.
It is important to try to eat every 2-3 hours.  This is going to keep your energy systems high throughout the day.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water (try drinking 6-8 oz each hour throughout the daytime).   During a training session, drink 3-6 oz. every 10 minutes or so.  After a training session – try drinking at least 12-16 oz of water within one hour.
As far as foods – you will want to get the majority of your nutrients from nutrient dense foods – like fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, chicken, whole grains, etc.  Carbs are an essential part of marathon training, but I encourage you to look for carbs that are natural, full of whole grains and taste good to you.
In general, when you eat carbs, such as chips or sugary foods, that process extremely quickly into sugar – your body usually cannot use all of it immediately, so it stores.  Instead, eating natural carbs with whole grains will help slow your digestion down, keep you fuller longer and utilize your food more efficiently.
However, as you are training/on your big runs – eating more readily-available carbs – such as bananas, ‘Gu’ packs and power bars can be a great way to help fuel your system quickly since you are training at higher levels.  It is a good idea to eat something with at least a 4-1 carb-protein ration within 1-1.5 hours of your training and then eat a 4:1 carb to protein ratio-based food within 45 minutes of your workout.  Examples are:  whole grain bread with turkey, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and a banana, beans and vegetables.  This will help your recover quickly and feel strong.
Think about food as energy.  When you put food into your body that is full of sugar/not a lot of vitamins/minerals – you don’t receive much from that food except the desire for a nap.  When you eat food that delivers nutrients, antioxidants, and sustainable energy over time – then you will feel fabulous before, during and after your run!
Keep in mind that each of us are different and we will have to tailor our nutrition to our own body responses, so you may need to monitor and adjust your food intake as your training program continues and understand your body and what it needs to feel strong and healthy.
Attached is a video that I created about carbs- that help to explain how food processes in your system.
I hope it is helpful!
Keep your questions coming!

Should I Strength Train As I Train For the Cap City Half Marathon?

Coach Juie

This was a question sent to me by Katie in Columbus. Thanks Katie, for your question! I thought it was a fabulous question that others may be interested in as well, so I wanted to post my response here!

Strength training is an essential element to your training program. Your body needs to be strong to support your frame, posture and cardiovascular endurance. If you have a strong cardiovascular capacity, but a weak muscular endurance, you will likely fatigue more quickly than you need to and this can lead to potential injury, unenjoyment of your run and a decrease in your efficiency (bottom line – you can be faster, stronger, feel better and have more energy when you strength train as a part of your program!)

I recommend incorporating strength training 2-3 days of your week (usually on your non-run days or shorter distance days) to incorporate strength training. Different people like to break their strength program down differently.

Some like to do upper body one day, lower body one day and a combination one day (with ab work on each of those days). Others like to do combo sets each day – where they will hit quads/hams, bi-tris, core one day and then calves/shins, back/shoulders. core one day. It is entirely up to you and what you prefer. I am happy to help you put together a more specific program – but you’ll need to email me and provide me a little more specific information about you and your goals/history so that I can customize a training program for you.

How much should you be lifting? When training for an endurance event, I recommend lifting low weight, high reps. That would mean lifting a weight that you could do 2-4 sets of 12-16 without breaking down form – coming to challenge/fatigue on the last few in your final set. If you lift heavy weights, lower reps, you’ll likely add onto your muscle mass in a more bulky way, which tends to slow people down in their endurance running. Low weight, high reps tend to build enduring, strong, and lean muscle tone that can compliment your running program. Again, we are all a little different in our journey and this advice is more of a general recommendation.

Another idea that you might consider is to try yoga. Vinyasa flow yoga is incredibly strengthening in the body.
Attached to this blog is a 15 minute intro video I put together that give the basics of a Sun Salutation A and B.

Yoga – Basic Sequence Sun Salutations A B

This is a great way to begin learning some basic yoga and see if it is something that you enjoy! It can help strength/flexibility and core development – all essential for your training program.

Thanks for the question Katie!
Keep your questions coming!

Rx for Some Rest!

One of the most wonderful things about coaching adults is how hard you all are willing to work for your goals!  You’re following the schedule and starting to get into the weekly groove of the running or walking program.  We’re starting to get into the real meat of the program now, miles are climbing but we still have a month or so until we see numbers like 7,9, or 10 miles.  Now is the time to establish all of the habits of an endurance athlete including: proper training, nutrition, hydration, and rest.  You are already doing the training work and I want to discuss rest and recovery today.  I will talk a lot more about nutrition and hydration in the weeks to come, but right now let’s focus on rest.

Recovery Days

First, I want to address why we do not run every single day in a training program.  Of course we have to work hard in training so our bodies can get used to what we will ask of it on race day, not to mention in the weeks leading up to race day!  All that work, especially in running, stresses our systems and breaks us down.  I’m not going to get into the science of how our muscles break down and recover, but know that it is happening and somehow we need to allow time for repair.  The amazing thing is that when given proper rest and time for recovery, our bodies not only recover but actually come back stronger.  We’re then ready for the next training day and the cycle can continue.  If we run every day of the week, there is no time for recovery and we just become fatigued.  I cannot stress this enough, it is the days off when we are resting that our bodies are doing the work required to repair, recover, and make us stronger.  We are running 4 or 5 days a week with the Cap City plan with rest days built into each week.  However, many of us do workouts in addition to running and walking, which takes our workout days to more like 5 or 6. All of that motivation is wonderful, but at least one day of complete rest (no workouts) per week is crucial.  Many of us need more than that and if you feel like you need a day off, you probably do so take the day off!


You’ll probably notice that you are needing or wanting more sleep as you get deeper into the training program.  We all know the value of truly good sleep.  We wake up feeling ready to attack another day or at least awake enough to not pull the sheets back up over our heads.  Sleep affects our overall feeling of well being and health too.  Even a cursory look at the literature on the subject by someone not trained in the field (like me) reveals associations of sleep duration and/or quality with major health risks such as obesity[1]  and high blood pressure.[2,3 ] Though the studies show these associations, whether poor sleep is a causal factor in these conditions or not is still up for scientific debate.  Either way, to my mind good quality sleep can only be a positive for us!  Especially runners who are not only recovering from a long day at work and life, but also adding the physiological stresses of running to the mix.  It is during that sleep time where our bodies can do the work required to rebuild and repair what we’ve done with our training.  As I said earlier, it is when we rest that true recovery happens and only then can we improve.  We make the time to get our workouts in during the day, now make sure to get that well deserved rest and let your body do it’s job!

Sleep health and hygiene is a field in and of itself and there are all sorts of strategies for getting better sleep.  Many of them include going to bed and waking at the same time every day, exercising, limiting exposure to artificial light near bedtime (like from an LED backlit computer screen)[4], reducing stress near bedtime,  and many more.  However you choose to improve your sleep, make every attempt to get a good night’s worth of sleep especially in the days leading up to and after your long runs.  Most of us, but not all, would like to get a few more minutes of sleep per night.  I like the strategy of moving your bedtime back 10 minutes or so every night until you hit the desired bedtime.  Improved sleep should benefit your recovery and therefore your training as well.

Becoming an Endurance Athlete Means Resting Like One

Unfortunately, most of us are not professional runners.  As much as we’d like to, we can’t wake up, run 10 miles, take a nap, complete another workout, eat, and go back to bed.  We have jobs, families, and lives that are pulling on our time and energy  We are however endurance athletes.  That means we need to act like it, which in turns means not only doing the work of training but focusing on our recovery, our nutrition, and our hydration.  Whether simply shutting off the television an hour earlier or taking a warm shower before climbing under the covers, really try to focus on sleep and recovery as part of your training program.  There is something very satisfying about climbing into bed before you have to knowing that you are taking all the rights steps for yourself.  You are becoming the half marathoner that you set out to become.  Rest up and see you on May 5th!

Some brief references:

[1] Cizza G, Skarulis M, Mignot E. Editorial: A Link Between Short Sleep and Obesity: Building the Evidence for Causation.  Sleep 28: 1217-1220, 2005.

[2] Javaheri S, Storfer-Isser A, Rosen CL, Redline S.  Sleep Quality and Elevated Blood Pressure in Adolescents.  Circulation 118: 1034-1040, 2008.

[3] Stranges S, Dorn JM, Cappuccio FP, Donahue RP, Rafalson LB, Hovey KM, Freudenheim JL, Kandala NB, Miller MA, Trevisan M.  A Population Study of Reduced Sleep Duration and Hypertension: The Strongest Association May Be In Premenopausal Women.  Journal of Hypertension 28: 896-902, 2010.

[4] Cajochen C, Frey S, Anders D, Spati J, Bues M, Pross A, Mager R, Wirz-Justice A, Stefani O. Evening Exposure to a Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)-backlit Computer Screen Affects Circadian Physiology and Cognitive Performance.  Journal of Applied Physiology 110: 1432-1438, 2011.