So I thought it would be fun to answer common (and uncommon, lol) questions that I get in person or over email and social media. If you have one that you would like for me to address next time around- feel free to comment or email it, and I will do my best!
Q: What is your diet plan? What do you do for nutrition?
A: I eat whole and clean foods… I abstain from dairy, sugar, most legumes, and unsprouted wheat/flour. I drink water or Coffee. I use coconut creamer in my coffee, and Almond Milk for my protien shakes. I follow the Whole30 food list about 97% of the time. The 3% that I don’t follow is in my condiments and on my cheat meals. I don’t really sweat my sauces and condiments that much… If is is something I use really often, then I try to purchase the sugar free option (hidden sugars are the worst). Also, Whole30 doesn’t allow for cheat meals, and I have one a week. I try to make it a dinner and out at a restaurant- so that I have to walk away from the table, and so it’s my last meal of the day (so a cheat MEAL doesn’t become a cheat DAY).
Q: Do you like running?
A: Nope. I honestly HATE the first 2 miles. After that- I do usually kind of hit “meditation” (especially if on trails)… and the world backs away– including the pain and the voices in my head telling me to go to Starbucks and chill instead.
Q: How do you prep for an actual race day?
A: Race Day preparations start about 3 days out…and giddy-ness begins about a month out, lol. At 3 days out, I do not attempt any very heavy or fast PR’s (personal records) in the gym. 2 days before a race I will go in and run or lift- but pretty light for me. I mostly work on mobility and flexibility type stuff. Burpees, Swings, and box jumps if I am just dying for a quick sweat. The day before a race is total rest. I may take a leisure walk, but that is it- as far as workouts are concerned. Sometimes I carb load– sometimes I don’t. If it is more than 5 miles… then I will. The day of the race- I eat a peanut butter and jelly on Ezekiel Bread, and I take a coffee, banana, and protein bar on the road with me. Sometimes I eat it all, sometimes I don’t. Everyone’s pre-race meal is different. That’s what works for me. Some swear by two eggs and an oatmeal… some do a bulletproof coffee and a donut. Play around and see what works for you. But test before hand… race day is never the time to try something new.
My OCR race outfit is: Sports Bra, Spandex top (long sleeve cold gear for Spring/Fall races)… I wear either tights or spandex runner shorts (depending on weather) on the bottom. Smartwool socks and Innov-8 Trail Roc shoes. I don’t do cotton and I run commando. Any cotton at all *will* chafe and panties just create a convenient little hammock for the worst mud of the race to collect in. I also put some conditioner in my hair when I am pulling it up into a ponytail- total lifesaver when you are hosing off later… the mud comes right out and no massive tangles. Ladies- do not shave your legs the day of the race. Taking brand new exfoliated skin in to murky waters is just a bad bad idea.
Gear Bag for after the race:
**I always bring 3 trash bags. 2 for me- one for clothes and one for shoes, and an extra for someone else. There is always someone in the dressing tent that forgot hers. You’ll be her hero.
**2 packs of baby wipes. I tear through them and don’t care… use them like tissue to get as much as I can off. And again- I give anything I don’t use to the other ladies in the changing tent.
**Complete change of clothes. Don’t forget your underwear and bra… those will be dirty and you’ll need fresh. I’ve forgot undergarments TWICE, I kid you not… it just didn’t register when I was packing my gear bag.
**Flip Flops… If you have two raggedy pairs… bring them. One to use while still at the event, and one for the car ride home. The festival area will still likely be muddy after you clean up… so save your floor mats with the spares.
Q: How do you clean up after mud runs?
A: Initially after the race- I attempt to hose off at the showers BEFORE I get my bag from Gear Check. If you get your bag first, then you have to attempt to keep an eye on it and keep it close but dry while you shower. This is damn impossible. The whole “shower” area (read: bank of water hoses) is usually a big ass puddle… nothing is dry there, nothing. Just get the bag afterwards. Pro-tip: Do any swag shopping BEFORE your race and cram it in the bottom of your bag- better selection and your new stuff stays clean… mostly.
As I mentioned before- initial clean up is done with a hose and baby wipes while at the event. On the way home from the event, I stop at a car wash and make use of their floor mat clamps. Clamp your dirty clothes to the wall and get the pressure wand and go to town. 95% of the mud will be gone. Most of the color will return. But it is important to do this on the way home– the longer you leave it in the bag, the more set the mud gets and the higher the likelihood of mildew. Here’s a video of Margaret Schlachter from Dirt In Your Skirt getting it done… it’s a highly techinical process 😉 lol
Q: How many pull-ups can you do?
Q: What do you recommend for someone that wants to run, but is totally out of shape- and doesn’t know where to start?
A: To get started- I am a big fan of the running apps for your mobile device. They usually progress you from very little running- mostly walking, to more and more running and less walking. Follow the plan, don’t jump ahead or skip days. If you had to walk more than what the app called for that day– then repeat that workout the next time you run.
Q: I am currently using an elliptical for my Cardio (sore knees), can this be used as sufficient training for a 5k? I am also strength training at a Pilates studio.
A: That is awesome that you are already tackling both strength and endurance! While the elliptical is going to help your overall conditioning… your bones and muscles do need running-specific training. If your knee pain is consistent, I would first get an “all clear” from your doctor- just to be sure there isn’t something that needs to be treated first. Then I would download a running app like I mentioned above. Your biggest risk is a stress fracture, which is essentially a repetitive-impact injury. Every step while running means your body is forcefully meeting the sidewalk- not gliding, as you do on an elliptical… All those little bones in your feet, ankles, and legs have to be trained up to be ready for that. Just start with a brisk walk to get going. The point isn’t to go far or even fast right now… it is just to get your body to start adjusting to the impact of “boots on the ground”
Q: What protein powders or supplements do you use?
A: I use Garden of Life RAW Protein (vanilla) with almond milk. I don’t use any other supplements.
Q: How often do you workout? What do you do?
A: I “workout” 6 days a week usually… Sunday is total rest. I lift heavy and condition on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Maximum Body Training. 2-3 days a week I add a run to my training at the gym- one that’s longer and one that’s shorter. Once a week, usually Wednesday, I do lightweight or no-weight… just work on mobility, flexibility, handstands, etc. I also do a couple of Muay Thai sessions at Coffey BJJ once or twice a week too- always on Saturdays at the very least. All of this is totally dependent on feedback from my body though… if I am feeling worn out, low energy or maybe like I am fighting off a bug… then I back off. I didn’t start off at this level either, of course… I started off lifting 2 days a week and run/walking one day… and progressed from there.
January Shiflett, RKC is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, obstacle course racing coach, and resident potty-mouth at Maximum Body Training in Cartersville Georgia. You can contact her for classes and training opportunities at January.Shiflett@me.com