Amy Cragg has had a distinguished career as an American track and field athlete and has come into her own as a champion marathoner in the run-up to the Summer Games. Celebrated for her performance at the Los Angeles marathon trials in February, when she won the race and qualified for Rio, Cragg strives to achieve optimal performance in her preparation. In addition to training every day and focusing on recovery and nutrition, HOTSHOT has been a crucial part of the process. Amy took us through a typical day of eating, her value on nutrition and rest, and why HOTSHOT has been integral in her training for the biggest race in her career.
Some athletes use HOTSHOT to prevent and treat cramping but others use it for other benefits. How has it worked for you?
I used HOTSHOT during my entire trials marathon buildup. I love the way it makes me feel and that it removes the stress of cramps. So many things can go wrong in a marathon. Removing one of the biggest risks, the risk of cramping, is huge.
Have you ever had cramping problems -- or seen what cramping does to other athletes?
My last marathon before the Olympic trials (before I started using HOTSHOT) was the 2015 Boston Marathon that I dropped out of because of cramping. It was awful. I had prepared so hard and I went from feeling great to having to stop at a medical tent in an instant. My left calf also has randomly cramped up in the past. When it cramps, it's so bad that I have to take a few days off of running after.
When do you use HOTSHOT?
I use HOTSHOT one hour before long runs, workouts and races. My left calf also can cramp really bad but it gets twingey beforehand so I take it when my calf feels twingey.
Take us through a typical day of eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks):
• Breakfast- Coffee of course, a banana and a couple of slices of whole wheat toast with two sunny-side up eggs on top. I add sliced avocado and Parmesan cheese if I'm feeling fancy. Lots of water.
• Lunch: Usually some type of red meat -- steak or a bison patty. A few slices of good bread with butter and a big salad with lots of veggies, fruits and nuts.
• Dinner: Some type of grilled meat -- chicken thighs, steak, bison or fish. Rice or some other type of grain, sweet potatoes or squash and grilled veggies or a salad.
• Snacks: Yogurt and fruits and chocolate. I drink water all day long.
Are there any surprising go-to food or beverages you consume?
The only surprising thing about how I eat is sometimes for breakfast before a run I'll eat more of a dinner type meal. I crave hearty meals more than the typical oatmeal most of the time; so sometimes I'll have leftover meat and rice and potatoes from the night before for breakfast.
How important do you think what you use to fuel your body is, especially during an important competition year?
Fueling my body correctly is incredibly important. The right foods not only help me to perform at my best but also help me to recover and heal -- they prevent injuries. I've never believed in restricting calories. When I am in the toughest part of training I do change the type of calories I eat, though. I substitute nearly all junk foods for foods that serve a purpose, ones that will fuel me, and help me recover.
When training gets tough, what foods or beverages can you not live without?
One of my absolute favorite things in the world is the post-long run brunch. Nothing tastes better than Eggs Benedict with your teammates after a 28-miler! When the last few miles of a long run get tough, brunch at the end is a mighty motivator.
What do you like to eat or drink as a “treat?”
When I'm in training I still have chocolate regularly as a treat but not much else. When I'm on my downtime after a marathon anything goes...ice cream, doughnuts, anything soaked in butter, but real cheesecake is my all time favorite.
We wish Amy the best of luck as she continues to train this summer!
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