Written by Kate Orlando, RHN and Sports Nutrition Expert
I used to think that running was just running, and you sort of just “figured out” how to run races. I remember in high school track and field doing different workouts but I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of the diversity. Since joining the Running Room Marathon Training Program, I’ve learned that a variety of strategically scheduled trainings are crucial to fine-tune my running.
I’ve come to appreciate that diversity in training will make me stronger, faster and better equipped mentally. Marathon training incorporates tempo runs, steady runs, fartleks, hills, speed work, race pace, and long, slow distance runs, to name a few. Each component is crucial to the development of every runner. For example, hills help develop lower strength; long, slow distance runs increase anaerobic threshold; speed work helps develop muscular strength, and fartleks help develop determination. Imagine taking your car in for a tune up. You wouldn’t ask them to look at everything but the breaks, would you?
Cross-training is very important for any sport. Conditioning all the muscles of your body will provide you with a strong framework to support endurance and help prevent injury. Throughout the week I rotate between core, upper body and lower body workouts to ensure I’m strengthening my entire body.
Variety in your diet is just as important as variety in your training. Adding diversity to the way you eat will provide you with a wide range of nutrients to keep you strong, focused and healthy. I try to rotate my foods so that I am not consuming the same foods day after day. It’s easy to fall into a rut because it’s easy, it’s your favourite, or because you know its good for you so why not eat it every day?
By eating a variety of protein sources you get a variety of amino acids that help build strong muscles and a solid immune system. By eating a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables you get a variety of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. By eating a variety of nuts and seed and healthy oils you get variety of essential fatty acids that are beneficial for brain function, hormone production and inflammation. By eating a variety of grains in their whole form you are getting a good source of B vitamins, amino acids and fibre.
How many of you get into a smoothie rut? Well, smoothies are the EASIEST way to incorporate variety. Here are some tips to add diversity to your smoothies, as well as one of my favourite recovery smoothie recipes and NutriChem’s Smoothie Cheat Sheet.
Use multiple protein sources – Get a variety of flavours, textures, and complement of amino acids. I rotate between NutriChem’s Riza Max, NutriChem’s Pure Collagen, and Iron Vegan’s Athlete Blend; oats, peanut butter, hemp/chia seeds.
Rotate your fruit - I aim to buy three different types of fruit each week and keep frozen fruit handy in the freezer. So, one week I’ll buy bananas, kiwi and apples, the next week pineapple, avocado and berries, etc.
Rotate your greens - Every smoothie should have a handsome handful of greens, so have at least two on hand. I mean you’re eating at least two servings of greens every day anyway, right?!
Get creative with add-ins - Fresh ginger, turmeric, cinnamon; maca, cacao nibs, spirulina; coconut milk, kefir, almond butter, etc. Honestly, as long as you can blend it (and it’s good for you), try it!
Use left over veggies - Left over carrots, beets, sweet potatoes? Bring it on. These fibre-rich veggies will add complex recovery carbs to your post workout smoothie.
Combine all of your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
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