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Endurance: Putting on the miles

Jan. 3, 2012 - 12:33PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2012 - 12:33PM  |  
Marine 1st Lt. Kaitlin Koplin — Distance runner (Defense Department)

Sample Day:

• 7:30 a.m.: Cereal, skim milk, coffee
• 10 a.m.: Pre-run snack: Luna bar
• 1 p.m.: Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, banana
• 3 p.m.: Snack: Greek yogurt
• 5 p.m.: Grilled chicken, peas, brown and black rice
• 6 p.m.: Snack: Banana with peanut butter
• Guilty pleasures: A glass of wine the night before a rest day. "There’s also a great bakery in Georgetown (Washington D.C.), and I’m in there about once a month for their cupcakes or brownies."

Distance runners burn through more fuel in an hour than their bodies can replace in the same amount of time, which is why Marine 1st Lt. Kaitlin Koplin eats six small meals throughout the day — carefully timed for maximum pre-run energy and post-workout recovery — as an integral part of her cross-country, half-marathon and marathon training and racing schedule.

Koplin's training and regimented diet helped the 2007 Naval Academy grad-turned-information management officer in Quantico, Va., earn the title of Marine Corps 2010 Female Athlete of the Year.

Koplin's dad was her high school cross-country coach, so eating right for her sport was a given. But it's still taken some trial and error to find what works best for her.

"The quality of food that I eat affects my training," Koplin says. "Plus, eating too much or not enough can leave me feeling lethargic or sick during a workout."

Diet overview: As a distance runner, Koplin chooses to get about 50 percent of her calories from carbs and focuses on healthy fats. She drinks at least three liters of water a day and never consumes fast food or drinks soft drinks.

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