Florida State’s head T&F coach Bob Braman prescribes a summer plan with five training phases—Re-Orientation, Base Building, Lactate Threshold, VO2 Max and Peaking—each of which targets a specific energy system. You need an eating strategy that provides the energy to support every phase of the program, so you can successfully progress through each and recover quickly after tough workouts.
When you are on your two-week break from training, modify your nutrition so you don’t eat as much as you did in season. You’ll be used to eating more due to hard workouts and frequent competitions. Also, make sure to stay hydrated [even though you won’t need to supplement with extra fluids, since you won’t be training]; consume a moderate amount of carbohydrates and protein; and eat a lower amount of fat.
Try the following sample meals:
Breakfast: Egg white omelet with bell peppers and tomatoes or salsa; orange; skim milk
Lunch: Salad with tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and chicken strips; apple
Dinner: Quinoa with olive oil and mixed vegetables; sweet potato; water
The Re-Orientation phase is about getting you back into a running routine, so training volume and intensity are not high. Therefore, the nutrition goal is to get a steady amount of calories into your body throughout the day. Large meals take longer to digest, so keep them light. Just eat frequently, every four hours.
Don’t focus so much on portion size, but rather on feeling full. Aim for a light snack an hour or two before your training session to “top off your tank.” Break down meals like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with skim milk and frozen blueberries
Snack: Apple; string cheese
Lunch: Turkey wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and mustard; banana; low fat chocolate milk
Snack: Vanilla yogurt with grapes
Dinner: Grilled chicken; mixed vegetables; couscous; skim milk
Moving on to Base Building and Lactate Threshold, you’ll be burning more calories and losing more fluids and electrolytes. Choose a sports drink with carbohydrates and sodium as your primary before- and during-training drink. For longer base or higher lactate threshold runs, eat extra carbs with more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sample meals include:
Breakfast: Pancakes topped with berries; skim milk
Snack: Skim milk-based fruit smoothie [add non-fat milk powder for extra calories and protein]
Lunch: Pasta with chicken; apple
Snack: Water; energy bar [one made with natural ingredients – e.g., Clif, Lara, Zing Bars or Baker’s Breakfast Cookies]
Dinner: Lean steak; cauliflower or carrots with olive oil; mashed potatoes; skim milk
As you transition into higher intensity training and begin peaking for competition, maintain an eating pattern similar to your summer nutrition plan. You don’t want to change much, because you will have determined what foods and fluids work best for your body.
Post-season recovery nutrition tips for sprinters:
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
2. Don’t worry about energy bars and sports drinks, you don’t need them!
3. Maintain a balanced eating program that’s low in fat with moderate carbohydrate and protein.
4. Hydrate with water only.
5. Drink milk or consume dairy products to improve the calcium stores in your body.