Athletes Corner with Jessica on how she fuels, trains and why she runs in skirts (Part 2)

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R: As a distance runner you train a lot! How do you (re)fuel and which nutritional supplements have you found helpful? Jessica: Yes, I eat ALOT! My husband says I eat more than him and he is over 6'4" and 200lbs! But I've always eaten health consciously, even before it was cool. I have celiac disease and have known for almost 15 years, long before all these gluten free options existed. So I made my own bread and found healthy alternatives. I have tried eating vegan as well, but in the end, I struggled to get enough protein for as much as I was training. So my nutrition goal is to get as much of my nutrition from whole plant sources as possible, and supplement that with eggs, fish and foul.

I think of my body as a fine-tuned machine, from which I desire top performance. I don't put junk in it. Rather I try to get the most bang for my buck when it comes to food. For example, when I bake or make smoothies, I add as many super recovery foods as possible. I add flax, chia seeds, and pumpkin to my waffles. I add chia, beets, and kale to my smoothies. I love the science of fueling your body to be the most efficient and powerful performance machine it can be.

As for supplements, I love Hammer Nutrition's line. I was so elated when they chose to sponsor me, as I already was in love with their products. I love their tissue recovery supplements, which have been amazing for me. Their endurolytes are critical for maintaining electrolyte balance during extended efforts. My favorite long run and/or race fuel are Picky Bars, Bonkbreakers, and Honey Stingers. I HATE goos and gels. My favorite beverage is coconut water, when I can get it. Gatorade and I do not get along.

R: Why do you like to run in skirts?

Jessica: I'm not quite sure, but I think it's a toss back to my restrictive childhood. I avoided any skirts and dresses for years, but now I really love running in a skirt. They are flirty and cute, and make passing boys so much more fun! From a functional perspective, if you have trouble with shorts riding up (as I do), skirts may solve your problem. They are like wearing spandex shorts, (which is what's underneath) but with more class and sass. Lululemon's skirts are my favorite!

R: Do you work out with a team or coach?

Jessica: I have a coach who makes my workout plans, but then I amend it according to my schedule. I try to run with him at least once a week, preferably to do speedwork. It is REALLY helpful and keeps you accountable to your goals. I have some fast friends I run with occasionally, but many live far from me, so it's a treat to have their company. But we communicate regularly and share our workouts through strava, so it feels like we are a virtual team. So I often run alone, or my husband will ride along with me, especially on long runs. He carries water and fuel for me and helps keep me on my splits. Like I said, he supports me in so many ways. I am so lucky!

R: What physical activities do you do on *gasp* rest days?

Jessica: I don't take a lot of rest days, but I am going to try to take one day a week off for the next training cycle and see if that helps me with recovery. It is really hard for me to take a day entirely off. Often, I will do the ellyptical on rest days. As for other activities, I love to ski in the winter and wakeboard and paddle board in the summer. So fun!!

R: What is your favourite indulgence on "cheat days" (food or other things)?

Jessica: I do love pizza, chocolate, and gelato like anyone else. I try not to keep in the house except for special occasions. My favorite guilt-free indulgences are regular massages and buying lululemon running clothes.

Athletes Corner Jessica 4

R: Have you had to overcome running related injuries? How did you do it?

I've had several stress fractures in my twenties and when my twins were babies. I had to run in the pool. It was mentally very difficult. But wow, did I appreciate running at any pace or distance when I could run again! It made me resolve to always stay healthy. It's easy to get tunnel vision when you are focused on training for a specific race or goal time, but I try to always keep the big picture in mind. I want to be a healthy runner into my 80's, and so I always use that to mediate my short term goals. Now, I chronically struggle with piriformis syndrome (butt/hamstring) pain. I've had it since the giving birth to the twins. But I manage it with regular physical therapy, massage, ice, foam rolling, and targeted functional strength training. It doesn't stop me but it's annoying. I find it's best to stay on top of it. The PT and strength training has really helped me recognize areas of weakness and target those for improvement.

R: Athlete crush?

Jessica: Shalane, Kara, Lauren. :-) SOOO love women who kick ass and make it look easy. Then share their struggles and you realize that they are just humans who work really, really hard. And I love how it gives me hope.

R: Trail or Road?

Jessica: Both are essential, IMO. I do about 50/50, depending on time of year. Road is essential to running fast, hitting your splits and preparing your legs for road racing. Trail is vital to forcing you to slow down and recover your mind, body, and soul. And I think it is a much better full-body workout. I enjoy trail a thousand times more, but I love how fast I feel on the road. And PS I absolutely abhor the treadmill, but it definitely has it's place. If you have to run on the treadmill, make it fun. Play mental games on it. Do speedwork. You'll be amazed how fast the miles fly by.

R: Long runs or Speed Work?

Jessica: Again, both. Long runs are a must for increasing endurance and stamina. Speedwork is essential to honing your speed and increasing vo2 max and lactate threshold. My favorite runs are a mix of both. I love long runs with intervals in them. For example, 12 miles with 2 mile warmup, 3 x 2 miles at 1/2 marathon pace, with 1 mile recovery between each set, followed by 2 mile cooldown.

R: What is your advice for new mothers who want to get fit again?

Jessica: My keys to running success over the years is to focus on longevity and sustainability. Surround yourself with friends who support and push you, even in your low and slow times. My friends pushed my twins in the jogging stroller until I was strong enough to push them. They constantly think I am capable of more than I think I am, and they are usually right. Seek out friends like this. Minimize your exposure to unsupportive people. Also, build it into your life like you make time for a shower. Make it a non-negotiable habit. Recruit the people in your life to support your endeavors. As for getting back your pre-baby body, I cannot say enough about strength training. Running helps you lose weight, but lifting weights will help shape your body. Priceless. Even at 40, after 4 kids, my skin "fits" me better because I lift weights. And as a new mom, a treadmill and a jogging stroller can be your salvation.

R: What are your favourite running apps, gear, apparel and shoes?

Gear: - Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS watch - Iphone (for music and camera) - Nathan hydration pack - Headsweats Visor or Beanie - Lululemon running clothes essentials: >> - cool racer back tank >> - all sport bra >> - run swiftly long sleeve >> - run inspire crop or pace rival skirt - Strength Training: bosu ball for functional strength training and an AB wheel for core (priceless - my six pack secret!).

Shoes: - Nike lunar glides for road - Brooks Cascadias or Ghosts for trail

Apps: - Instagram (the IG running community is awesome!) - Strava - log your run app - pace calculator - pandora