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Nutrition Plan - Running - Rachel Ragona

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Rachel Ragona

Rachel Ragona is an ultra-runner racing in 100 milers such as the Kodiak 100 and Leadville 100. She fuels mainly with plant-based nutrition and has a nutrition strategy for short and long distance races. She has experimented with several different nutrition supplements and shares her favorites in this nutrition questionnaire.

Do you have a health condition or allergy (ex: gluten intolerance) that requires you to have a special nutrition plan?
No, I don’t have any health conditions or allergies necessitating specialized nutrition.. 

Do you follow a specific diet (ex: vegetarian, Paleolithic etc…). If so, describe it and explain how is it benefitting you?
I’m not on specific “diet” per se. However, I am becoming increasingly plant-based in the way I eat. I feel great without animal products, and prefer to keep my nutrition this way unless I can be 100% sure they were sourced ethically and humanely. 

Do you supplement daily with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, amino acids etc?
Yes, I think it’s hard to get everything you need in the amounts needed for intense training and competition. There are a number of products I take daily:

Hammer Nutrition’s Tissue Rejuvenator – contains many of the ingredients needed to optimize joint health and help decrease inflammation.
MDrive’s Elite Performance, and Joint formulas – to enhance performance, recovery, joint health and overall vitality.
Mera Pharmaceutical’s AstaFactor – a powerful antioxidant to help reduce oxidative stress to my body.
CarboPro’s Green Balance – this “supergreen” supplement helps me top up plant nutrients I need more of. I add it to post-workout or breakfast shakes.
Vegetarian Nutritional Shake, like Hammer Vegan Protein – I like to blend this with various whole-food ingredients for a hearty breakfast smoothie. 

What’s your pre-workout/competition nutrition and hydration plan?
Pre Workout--Proven Nutrition’s CORE, plus I may add HEAL if I know it’s going to be impact-intensive. I start drinking this about 15 minutes before my workout and continue throughout.
For longer workouts, I eat a handful of nuts and dried fruit about 20-30 minutes prior, to avoid getting hungry.

Competition: Three hours before, I take my daily supplements with breakfast and coffee. I eat something with plenty of fat, like nut butter with fruit and some avocado.I drink CORE and eat about ½ of a Hammer Bar around 30 minutes before the start of an ultra race; nothing if it’s a marathon or shorter.

For ultra races: I use Hammer Nutrition’s Perpetuem as a primary source of liquid calories. I combine this with CORE and Hammer Nutrition’s Enduralytes (1-2 capsules per hour) and HEED to maintain optimal hydration/electrolyte balance.

For hot/hilly races: I will sometimes also use Sportslegs, for that extra “something”. Usually 1-2 capsules every 1-2 hours.

I like to have solid food during ultras, which is usually the Hammer Nutrition bar. I also carry dried fruit and nuts, and have been know to inhale avocado at aid stations.
Coffee!!! I make up bottles of cold coffee for my drop boxes, though I try to wait till after half-way or 10pm (whichever is first) before using it.

What’s your post-workout/competition nutrition and hydration plan?
Post-exercise, I really try to make the most of the “golden window of recovery”, the 15-30 minutes during which your muscles are most receptive to absorbing nutrients. Most often, I mix 1-2 scoops of Hammer Nutrition’s Recoverite with ½ - 1 scoop of Vega’s “Sport” formula. The different types of protein are absorbed at slightly different rates, meaning my muscles get both an instant “hit” from the whey, plus a more extended release from the pea protein. I blend with water and almond milk. This holds me over until I can eat a good meal!

Do you compete in different types of events (ex: different distances or formats)? If so, is your nutrition/hydration plan that’s different for each event?
Yes… if I’m doing something “short” like a marathon or Olympic Distance triathlon, I usually just have a few Enduralyte capsules and 1-2 Hammer Gels. Fluid will be CORE or HEED, or sometimes both, depending on the temperatures.

Any other nutrition/hydration secrets you’d like to share?
I don’t think there is a secret… it’s all about experimenting and finding good quality products you can believe in. The best ones are the ones you simply don’t notice… the last thing you need is to be thinking about your stomach instead of your performance!

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