Introducing Anne L’Heureux, one of our Beach RAID Ambassadors 2016! As a Registered Dietitian and Obstacle Course racer, Anne strives to help people reach their maximum potential through proper training and nutrition. Anne believes that proper training includes progression towards a goal in a manner that is logical, well thought out, and safe. I was excited for the opportunity to attend one of the Nutrition Forums that she hosted this past week at Maine Warrior Gym. I quickly realized that she definitely knew her stuff! Her insight and knowledge on Fueling for Performance proves extremely beneficial for obstacle course racers, but can also easily be adapted to athletes of all types.
How did you get your start into OCR racing?
Back in 2014, a friend of mine came to me and asked if I heard about this Urban RAID race. Having never done an obstacle course race before, I was skeptical. However, once I crossed the finish line, I was hooked!
I decided to expand my newfound passion. So I took part in the Spartan Stadium Series race held down at Fenway Park. This was a great way to break into the more challenging series that they host. After that, I realized that these races were not only challenging and rewarding, but extremely fun! I also think that the balance of cardio and strength makes it a well rounded workout.
When did you decide to become a coach and help people train for these races?
As I grew my interest, as many people do, I bit off more than I could chew. I had signed up for the Spartan Beast in VT. This was a 14+ mile race with over 30 obstacles. Not having trained properly, it resulted in an injury that kept me out of the workout scene for 6 weeks. I felt like I was back to square one and concluded that I was not properly trained for the race. I began focusing on obstacle based training and strength as well as increasing my runs. Once people started seeing and hearing about my progress, they were intrigued.
They began asking how did you do it? How are you doing it? I wanted to teach them that it’s so much more than just running or strength but how you train for these obstacles you’ll be faced with. It’s such a well-rounded activity to get involved with and helping people train for it is truly rewarding.
When was your first Beach RAID?
It was 2014. It was very interesting because with the Urban RAID you don’t realize how different it would be running on the beach! I trained for running, but had focused more on running at low tide. Then it dawned on me that we would obviously have to run in the deeper sand. What a game changer! But fun regardless! That deep sand in itself is an obstacle which made it much more challenging.
When it comes to Nutrition, why do you think that it’s important to incorporate that in an obstacle course training regime?
My primary job is a Dietitian. I have the privilege of working in many environments including being a Supermarket Dietitian, working with people living with Diabetes, as well as the elderly population. But my passion is with endurance and sports nutrition!
When I realized that the possibility to become a OCR coach was out there, especially for Spartan race (a name well known), people will understand that I am qualified and capable of teaching them right from wrong on training and nutrition. I also appreciate the quality program that Spartan put me through to become a Spartan SGX Coach. Spartan makes sure that each and every person who receives their certification encompasses the ability to train clients gradually, safely, and sport specific. Once I found out that one of their Pillars of The program was Nutrition, I knew it was the perfect program for me!
What are some of your tips for pre-race foods?
What I like to teach people is the difference between FUEL VS. NUTRITION . Every meal you eat is for NUTRITION, but the Nutrition Forum content reviewed that when you’re preparing to run a race, food is not necessarily for nutrition but for PERFORMANCE. There is a major difference that people that are nutrition minded can have a hard time separating.
Anne’s first slide during her presentation had a motivating quote that many athletes should follow –
“LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD”
This Hippocrates quote is so crucial to understand for athletes and runners of all types. It was a great starting point for Anne at her nutrition forum since it outlined the important points she continued to make about nutrition and performance.
A few vital and informative facts I took away from Anne’s Nutrition Forum-
Determining Your Needs
– Just as you would train from a physical activity standpoint, you should be training for your event from a nutrition standpoint as well. If you’re going to practice running miles and miles at a time, you must be practicing your food and drink to determine what your body needs.
-Your approach is as unique as you! Determining your strengths, weaknesses, hydration needs, etc.
-Macronutrient needs, Energy expenditure needs and being able to differentiate your meals vs. snacks.
Pre and Post Nutrition
– Refueling directly after your race and during a long race is imperative. You want to think about your body. What did I just put my body though? What does my body need right now? Make sure you avoid under fueling at all costs! Listen to your body after you finish a race and save the celebratory pizza and ice cream for later in the day!
Quality vs. Quantity
-The basics. Carbohydrates, Proteins and FLUIDS!
-Carbohydrates are the most readily available source of fuel for the body. The myth that carbohydrates are bad is FALSE!
-Protein assists with muscle repair and can be lean or fatty.
-Fluids maintain blood volume and reduce stress on the heart.
As an athlete, I consider myself fairly educated on training for performance. However, after attending Anne’s seminar I realized how much we can really learn from dietitians and obstacle course racers like Anne. We are lucky to have her as a Beach RAID Ambassador and we encourage you to reach out to Anne about training and nutrition for races like Beach RAID! Additionally, we will be announcing a Beach RAID training and nutrition seminar with Anne in the upcoming weeks! STAY TUNED!!
Want to know more? Anne takes one on one clients at her home as well as through online distance counseling.