Listening to your body is also critical to success, but how do you do it? Emily Brown, RD, 2009 U.S. cross-country champion and member of Team USA Minnesota, balances running professionally with private nutrition consulting and graduate school. “The best thing an athlete can do is get in tune with his or her eating,” Brown says.
Brown’s advice: Record what you eat and how you fared during workouts as specifically as possible in your training log—not to be obsessive, but to understand the effect that what, when and how much you consume has on the way you felt before, during and after training. This one-minute step provides a wealth of knowledge: Brown knows that she can tolerate cold pizza on race morning, but can’t have peanut butter or bananas within eight hours of running if she wants to avoid gastric distress.