Category Archive: News

Summer Fueling: How and What to Eat for a Successful Race Season

By Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS  

I live in Arizona, where summer heat takes on a whole new meaning. But even when the temps approach scorching, triathletes continue to hit the pavement and the (bath-water warm) pool to crank out those workouts. The show must go on, and so must proper fueling.

For many athletes training in warm climates, appetite tends to drop off as the thermometer readings climb. It’s important to keep this in mind during summer months and make any adjustments necessary to keep intake where it needs to be and those hot workouts well fueled.

Here are some tips for adjusting your fueling strategy for summer:

Produce comes to mind whenever seasonal foods are mentioned, and that’s perfect because fruits and vegetables are the two best carbohydrate options in an athlete’s diet. Summer is a great time to take advantage of the wide variety of produce that graces your supermarket’s shelves. This time of year is also the perfect time to visit your local farmer’s market to support locally grown food from farmers in the area. Besides the healthy carbohydrate component, fruits and vegetables provide many vitamins and minerals (think antioxidants) that you just can’t get from other foods. They are versatile, too – cut up a bunch of fruit varieties for a fruit salad, roast vegetables for a veggie-and-egg casserole, or throw both into a huge green salad that is light on the stomach, but packs a nutritional punch. 

Each season boasts its own comfort meals, like a big bowl of chili in the fall with a football game on the television. Summer is more centered on light, fresh foods that fill you up, but don’t weigh you down. Instead of that chili and cornbread duo, try a flaky grilled fish like halibut with some roasted green beans and a mixed greens salad topped with avocado and mango. And remember to eat balanced no matter what season it is – carbohydrate + fat + protein at all meals and snacks. Becoming too reliant on carbohydrates throws blood sugar levels out of whack and negatively impacts your health, weight and training.

Coming back from a long, hot outdoor workout can be an exhausting and possibly nauseating event in itself. Then, picture yourself consuming a large meal post-workout and you may be ready to toss your cookies. Don’t stress about getting those calories replaced. Keep in mind that you really only need to replace 20% of the total calories burned during exercise, and that this can be accomplished slowly (over time) for the next several hours post-exercise. After long workouts, do attempt to get at least a snack back in within an hour of exercise conclusion. This snack can be anything from a Greek yogurt with fruit to a protein smoothie with fruit and coconut oil. Again, balance is key. Don’t feel the need to gorge yourself the minute you walk in the door, especially if you are feeling nauseous from the elevated temps.

It’s ok to pick the time of day when you are most hungry and to make that meal a little larger. Or to break meals down into smaller snack-size portions in order to meet calorie requirements. Sometimes a large, heavy meal is too overwhelming to the system no matter what season it is. If you wake up ravenous in the mornings, make that meal a little more substantial followed by a lighter lunch and dinner. Same with feeling hungrier at lunch or dinner. Make adjustments according to what your body is telling you. If your evening meal is your heaviest, make sure to eat early enough that the food has time to settle and begin digestion before laying down for bed.

In the summer months, athletes are more active than ever. Stay on track with your healthy fuel plan by incorporating the above suggestions into your diet. The combination of great fueling and exercise is unstoppable when it comes to you meeting your goals. Make this summer season your most productive yet!

Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS Level II is a sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having completed many triathlons of all distances including three IRONMAN races. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific, metabolically efficient fueling plans for her clients. Brooke and her husband, John, own Destination Kona Triathlon Store in south Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information on services and offerings, visit her website at

Download the Chicago Half Marathon Race-Day App

We’re excited to announce that the Chicago Half Marathon is now part of the new Life Time Athletic Events app.

The Life Time Athletic Events mobile app allows you to:

  • Check out schedules, explore the course and find all the information you need to plan your day.
  • View race results right after the event.
  • Receive all of the latest event news as it happens.
  • Connect with participants, spectators and staff to exchange tips, tricks and get questions answered.
  • Earn points, badges and possibly even prizes for being active in the app and at the event.
  • Check the leaderboard to see how you compare to other participants.

Features of the app include:

  • Update – a quick way to share photos and comments about your event experience.
  • Activity Feed – the real-time pulse of the event. See what people are saying, view photos from the event and find trending topics.
  • Schedule – view the full schedule and related information (packet pickup, corrals, etc).
  • Users – see who’s at the event, and connect with them on the app.
  • Exhibitors – find exhibitors and sponsors, and leave comments or ratings.

Download the app today!


2014 Chicago Half Marathon & Life Time 5K Athlete Guide Now Available

Thank you for racing the 2014 Chicago Half Marathon & Life Time 5K, taking place on September 7. We are proud to offer you one of the flattest half marathons with one of the most beautiful backdrops: the Chicago Lakefront. Check out the Athlete Guide for detailed schedules, course information and more.

> View the Athlete Guide

It’s time to put on your game face on; we’ll see you on Lake Shore Drive!

What to Bring to Your First Race

By Rebekah Mayer, RRCA & USATF Certified Coach

You’ve done the training and now the big day is almost here — your first race! Packing the right gear in advance will help to ease any race-day worries. Here are some items you should bring:


  • Body Glide or other skin lubricant to prevent blisters
  • Sunscreen
  • Armband or belt to carry your phone if you can’t part with it or want to have it along to take pictures immediately before, during or after the race
  • Running watch or GPS device
  • Bottled water
  • Pre-race healthy snack (if needed)
  • Toilet paper, in case portable toilets run out
  • Extra layers you can toss (for cool weather races)


For the race:

  • Running top, shorts or tights (weather appropriate)
  • Wicking socks
  • Running shoes
  • Race bib and safety pins (if packet pickup is in advance)
  • ID — written onto the back of your bib or product such as Road ID
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or visor



  • Dry clothes and socks to change into post-race
  • Post-race snack and fluids
  • Jacket
  • Dry shoes or comfortable sandals


For races over 60-90 minutes, you may want to carry a sports drink or gel product. This is another item that is best tested in advance in order to minimize GI discomfort on race day. Most runners will not need carbohydrates during 5K or 10K races, but an energy source is more commonly used during races of 13.1 miles and longer. Check your race website to see if anything other than water will be provided at aid stations so you can test that product in advance. If it doesn’t sit well with you, check out options for carrying your favorite fuel. You’ll find handheld bottles, hydration belts and shorts with multiple pockets at your local run shop.

Use your training runs to test out your race-day gear for comfort and performance. As race-day approaches, check the race website to see if your race has a bag drop or if you should plan to leave your pre- and post-race items in your car. A little bit of planning will help you to focus on the fun on race-day. Enjoy your first race!

Rebekah Mayer is the National Training Manager for Life Time Run. Life Time members and non-members are invited to take part in Finish Line Training programs and Social Runs available at 60+ locations nationwide. Learn more about Finish Line Training and Social Runs at

Top Tips for a Successful Taper

By Rebekah Mayer

Race day is nearly here and most of your training is in the bag. What can you do now to ensure a great race day? By paying extra attention to your sleep, nutrition and training, you can set yourself up for a great half marathon.

A good taper will bring you to race day rested, but not feeling stale. For a half marathon a two-week taper is typically best:

  • Start by doing your longest training run two weeks before race day.
  • The following week should be roughly 60 percent of your peak mileage. Most of the mileage decrease is on the long runs, so your weekday mileage won’t change much during the first week of taper.
  • The final long run is done the weekend before your race day and is typically six to 10 miles long.
  • The final week should be roughly 40 percent of your peak mileage leading up to race day.


Keep your quality workouts (intervals and race pace) on schedule during the last two weeks, up to four days out from your race. The drop in mileage combined with consistent quality will keep you feeling fresh and sharp. Strength training and cross-training should also be tapered off to keep your legs fresh.

In order to fully recover from your training, proper sleep is key. Experts recommend sleeping eight to nine hours per night. While that may be challenging to fit into a busy schedule, here are some tips:

  • Try to build a consistent sleep schedule where you go to bed around the same time each night. Doing so can lead to more consistent sleep.
  • DVR your favorite shows to catch up on after race day. You’ve worked hard to prepare for the race and your body deserves some extra rest and recovery.
  • Two nights before the race is the most important night for sleep. Focus on setting up your week so that you can get a full night’s sleep that night.
  • Don’t worry too much if you don’t sleep well the night before the race. It’s normal to have a short night as pre-race nerves can affect your sleep. One poor night of sleep shouldn’t affect your performance the next day.


Your nutritional approach in the final weeks depends on your overall eating style. During your peak mileage week your calorie intake needs to be sufficient to keep your energy levels up, but after that you may need to adjust your eating relative to your training. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Sometimes weight gain can be a problem during taper as you likely need fewer calories than during heavy training.
  • The benefits of carbohydrate-loading are being called into question for marathoners, and for half marathoners there is little research that supports the benefits of carbohydrate-loading.
  • Many experts (including those at Life Time Run) recommend a more balanced eating approach including moderate carbohydrates from whole food sources, quality protein and healthy fat.


Your eating style does impact your nutrition in the final days before your race.

  • Runners who typically eat a high-carbohydrate diet typically stick with that through race day and are more likely to need to carb-load for longer races.
  • Low-carb and/or Paleo runners have trained their bodies to burn more fat and fewer carbs and can continue that style of eating through race day. Consuming protein, fat and fiber in moderation in the 24 hours before the race is often helpful.


The final month before your race is the perfect opportunity to fine-tune your sleep, nutrition and training. By taking a few extra steps to support your training and recovery this month you’ll be ready for a great race!

Rebekah Mayer is the National Training Manager at Life Time Run. Check out for more training tips, training programs and social runs at 60+ locations nationwide.

Free Chicago Half Marathon Starting Line 101 Clinic

Training for the Chicago Half Marathon? Begin your event journey with our new Starting Line 101 clinics. Clinics are a FREE, fun and relaxed way to learn from experts, set goals, find out details specific to the Chicago Half Marathon and make new connections! The next sessions will be offered on the following dates:

July 29
5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with Life Time Run Coordinator Ryan Moran
Meet at Life Time Fitness Warrenville

August 12
5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with Life Time Run Coordinator Deborah Barnat
Meet at Life Time Fitness Romeoville

Clinic schedule will be as follows:
5:30 p.m. – Meet and greet, games and registration outside the club
6:00 p.m. – Starting Line 101 Seminar
6:30 p.m. – Beginner’s run/walk (20 to 30 minutes)

Clinic topics include:

  • Nutrition
  • Safety
  • Getting started tips
  • Gear
  • Race preparation
  • Goal setting
  • Chicago Half Marathon course overview


On-site race registration will be available. Click here to view our Training page for more information.


Athletico Monthly Tip: Top 5 Causes of and Solutions to IT Band Syndrome


Running season is in full swing, and so are injuries associated running. Are you feeling pain on the outside of your knee when running? It could be caused by IT band syndrome. Luckily we have the solutions you need to get back on your feet without the pain.
> Learn more

If you experience aches or pains as you train for the Chicago Half Marathon & Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K, we’d be happy to see you for a complimentary injury screening at any of our 80+ locations.
> Click here to choose a location and schedule your appointment

Stay Connected to Athletico!
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Athletico Monthly Tip: Dealing with Foot Pain


Our feet can become painful or sensitive over time and foot pain is a common complaint in physical therapy, especially in runners. There are many basic strategies and self-treatments you can try if foot pain plagues you. Read more.

If you experience aches or pains as you train for the Chicago Half Marathon & Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K, we’d be happy to see you for a complimentary injury screening at any of our 80+ locations.
> Click here to choose a location and schedule your appointment

Stay Connected to Athletico!
Like | Follow | Connect | Watch | Learn | Subscribe

Life Time Athletic Events Introduces New Chicagoland Half Marathon Series

Chicagoland_Half_Marathon_Series_Logo_rgbLife Time Athletic Events is proud to debut the new Chicagoland Half Marathon Series. This series awards participants who complete the Michelob ULTRA Chicago Spring 13.1 on May 17, 2015 and the Chicago Half Marathon on September 27, 2015 within each event’s allotted course time.

We want to inspire you to accomplish great things and lead a healthy way of life by participating in this series. To many of us, training for a half marathon is serious business. Maintaining that fitness level while racing across four months takes an incredible amount of focus and sacrifice. Life Time Athletic Events is dedicated to helping you achieve your healthy way of life objectives, athletic aspirations and fitness goals. Let’s do this!

26.2 Challenge participant benefits
• Priority packet pickup line at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Health & Fitness Expo for the Chicago Half Marathon.
• Chicagoland Half Marathon Series runner dedicated gear check and reunite at Chicago Half Marathon.
• Participants who complete both races within the series will receive a 26.2 commemorative medal.





*Please note, Age Group awards are based on your age at the start of the year (January 1, 2015). For example, if you are 24 on January 1, 2015, your age for the entire series would be 24 regardless of when your birthday is since you started the year at that age.


  • What is the cost to participate? There is no additional cost to participate in the series, although you must be officially registered for all events to qualify.
  • How do I opt-in? Simply register for all events, and select “YES” when asked if you would like to be part of the Chicagoland Half Marathon Series. Once we confirm you are registered for each race, we will add your name to the special Chicagoland Half Marathon Series tab on each website. As each race approaches, you will be provided with special program instructions regarding your race perks.
  • What if I am already registered for one race and want to be part of the series? Send an email to Once we confirm you are registered for each race, we will add your name to the special Chicagoland Half Marathon Series tab on each website. As each race approaches, you will be provided with special program instructions regarding your race perks.
  • When is the opt-in deadline? Individuals must opt in by August 15, 2015.
  • Can I race the 10K or 5K options associated with a race and still qualify for the series? No, you must complete both of the 13.1 mile course distances to qualify.
  • If I withdraw from any of the races, am I still eligible? Unfortunately, no. Only official finishers at are eligible for medals and other perks.
  • When will I receive my 26.2 Challenge medal? Upon crossing the finish line of the Chicago Half Marathon head over to the Results Tent to receive your medal.


Remember to opt-in to take part in the inaugural Chicagoland Half Marathon Series. Should you have additional questions, please contact us at or call (773) 404-2281.

Calorie Counting: Helpful or Unproductive?

By Brooke Schohl, MS, RD

An abundance of information about the number of calories in foods is available on a daily basis – on food labels, diet tracking websites and restaurant menus, to name a few. But is counting calories an effective way to manage weight? Consider these guidelines before you start.

  1. Calories provide baseline information. If you are beginning a nutrition plan or trying to lose weight, getting an initial idea of daily caloric intake can be helpful. While calories are not the only determining factor of weight status, they certainly play a part. Consuming excessive calories on a regular basis leads to storage of fuel as fat in the body. Conversely, consistently consuming inadequate calories leads the body into starvation mode, where metabolism slows and the body holds onto fat for dear life. Neither of these situations is good!
  2. Calories only provide an estimate of intake. Much of the criticism surrounding calorie counting stems from the reality that calories are really only an estimate of the energy produced by food/drink. Translation — there is plenty of room for error in this measurement tool. Even when more intensive strategies are applied to calorie tallying (measuring and weighing), there is still variation in total calories produced.
  3. Calories are not the end-all measurement of dietary intake.  Calories consumed relative to calories burned solely determine weight status, right? Wrong! There are several other factors to consider, one of the most important being resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR represents the minimum number of calories needed to sustain vital body function, or how many calories one burns in a day. This number varies immensely among individuals based on fueling regime, exercise amount, and activity throughout the day. The higher the better when it comes to RMR. Interestingly enough, low calorie diets as well as high carbohydrate/low fat diets actually decrease RMR. Life Time Fitness Senior Director of Nutrition & Weight Management Tom Nikkola simply states, “the body is designed to conserve energy when it senses a shortage of incoming available energy.” Therefore using calorie intake as the sole measure of weight status is far from accurate.One should also consider macronutrient (carb/protein/fat) intake by percentage. As mentioned above, both low-calorie and high-carb/low-fat eating regimes prevent individuals from tapping into fat fuel stores. Sports Dietitian Bob Seebohar says that to truly be metabolically efficient, one needs to become less reliant on dietary carbohydrates and better equipped to utilize fat for fuel by consuming less carbs, more fat and adequate protein.
  4. Consider alternatives. An article in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization suggests that instead of tracking calories, people should consider decreasing portions to make healthy eating easier. Weight status is about the types of foods we consume as well as the portions.  Restaurant portions have reached astronomical sizes, and this is what we are now accustomed to. By reducing intake at meals, people take in less energy overall — leading to better weight control in most instances.
  5. Consider longevity in this approach. Is counting calories on a daily basis realistic for you? Some people enjoy dietary tracking of foods and beverages, while others loathe it. If calorie tracking is not sustainable for you, maybe check in with a diet-tracking program one or two days a month to get an idea of where you fall on the calorie spectrum. Or even better — focus on developing the skill of intuitive eating. This strategy involves only eating when hungry and focusing on natural, whole food choices the vast majority of the time.

Remember, calories are only an estimate; however, they can provide helpful baseline information in determining fuel needs. Caloric intake aside, many other factors impact your body’s efficiency at metabolizing fuel. When it comes to fueling your body with the right food/drink, focus on whole, natural foods, minimal ingredients and portion control. Life’s too short to live and die by calories!

Brooke is a registered sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching/Destination Kona Triathlon Store in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having recently completed her third Ironman. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific fueling plans for her clients.