Can you practice FOOD FREEDOM & race competitively?



I registered for a socially distanced half marathon this morning. I just had to do it. I need a race to train for. I miss it. And while I feel kinda meh about running a race with 10-20 participants max at a time (the thrill of the pack is obviously not gona happen) and pretty meh about the course (four loops of a park I run in allll the time), I think its a good, safe, home turf spot for my first COVID life race. I also think receiving the vaccine has made me feel a little safer, a little more ready to race on a socially distanced starting line.


So... I'm excited. I wrote my training plan into my calendar this morning and started thinking about all the ways my behavior will change now that I'm training for a race. I mentioned a few weeks ago about how in the past training for a race was super triggering... my brain felt like I needed to be ALL IN otherwise I was a failure... and that way of living was never sustainable. The pressure of being the perfect athlete, perfect daughter, perfect partner, perfect business owner, perfect worker... it made me often feel like I was failing at everything.


But training does require discipline. I can't pretend that personal records just fall from the sky.


How do we strike a balance?? Being disciplined enough to get where we want to go, but gentle enough to not trigger obsession?


I've been chatting about this a lot lately as my clients and I emerge from our Coronavirus-forced reprieve from racing...ready to train, taking on virtual races or finding small in-person races. I was so excited when one of my clients recently PR'd her 5k and then her half marathon - PRs make an athlete really believe that you can be a competitive athlete AND have food freedom. Another woman is chasing her BQ after finding food freedom, excited that she's hitting her times during speed workouts and by how strong she feels. My group, Food Freedom Fit Fam, has had a few brave women race during the times of COVID & claim half marathon PRs, 10k PRs, marathon PRs.


We can have food freedom and have PRs too. One does not exclude the other. (Need help fueling your next PR?? Feel free to set up a free call with me to learn more about my nutrition programs)


So how does this work? This whole food freedom and performance alliance?


I think if I had to give one piece of advice, it's to reframe everything you do as SELF CARE. Yes, you already feel like your long run is your "me time," but I want you to remind yourself when you feel critical thoughts creeping in or aggravation that you didn't hit your times... that this whole process is meant to make you feel GOOD...not cruddy. If you're feeling cruddy, then you need to rewind and figure out what's going on??? And do so without any judgement.


In order to make training align with self care, we need to focus on a few things:

  1. sleep

  2. rest/recovery days

  3. refueling (more volume = need for more calories, more intensity = need for more calories)

  4. perfecting your nutrient timing strategy (ie. pre mid, and post workout nutrition)

  5. how are you "filling up your cup" when you're not training?? Is your self-talk kind? Are you using unhealthy coping mechanisms to handle stress (ie. eating for comfort, overexercising, bingeing TV all night)

  6. are you able to listen to your body effectively and without judgment?

Ya see, a FOOD FREEDOM athlete knows that there's more to PRs than just hitting her times, racing her pace. She realizes that how you do anything is how you do everything... and if your training is rushed, frantic, chaotic, shame driven... then you haven't found a recipe for success... you haven't found a way to perform well for the rest of your life...


ANYWAY, as I get ready to go for a training run (yippee!), I'm thinking of all the ways training is different for me now that I practice food freedom... and how different it feels from my days of restriction and macro counting.


I haven't even started training yet and I can already feel the difference :) It's freeing.


Are you training for anything right now? I'd love to know. Post in my free facebook community and share your racing plans for 2021.