Tag Archive | "Nutrition"

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Carbs…Who Needs Them?

Who you gonna call?

I know we aren’t supposed to compare ourselves to other runners but I do. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to run as fast as Shalane or Meb (or the rest of our awesome Olympic marathoners)? That would be awesome, right?

However, I think if I found a genie in a bottle and he only let me have one wish, I would have to wish for an iron stomach!

Oh, how I would love the ability to eat…anything…before or during a run without having to worry about whether I’m going to lose it while running. One way or the other. I’ve read stories about Dean Karnazes ordering pizza or Chinese food and eating it on the run and I think “How does he do that?”. Not that I WANT to eat pizza during a run but it sure would be nice to have a bagel with peanut butter before a long run or be able to take gels during the run and not wonder what it’s going to do.

Is that too much to ask of my stomach? Apparently, it is. Sigh.

Last week, I went out for a 12 mile run and I was miserable. I barely made it to the bathroom…twice …during that one run. I ended up calling it at 10. It doesn’t happen with every run and I try to be consistent with what I eat before a run (also the night before) so it’s frustrating that sometimes my stomach behaves and sometimes it doesn’t. Really frustrating.

My solution to this “problem” is to not eat before I run. This system works pretty well for me for runs up to 10 miles. On runs longer than 10 miles, I sometimes bonk in the last mile or two. I’d only done that up to 13 miles before though. This week, I ran a 14 miler before work and decided I didn’t want to take the chance of my stomach going wonky so I didn’t eat anything before it. I took 2 gels with me but ended up not using them and just drank water. And I had a fabulous run! The best part was that I didn’t bonk and even negative split the run. Woo!

That 14 miler made me wonder if other runners were doing long runs without taking in carbs. So, of course, I went to the source and asked on Twitter: “What’s the longest run you’ll do w/out eating before/during or using a sports drink/gels?”

I received 35 responses and this is what they had to say:

dadspoint: 16-20 miles depending on the heat and humidity

KRona217: upto 10 miles without eating or sports drink

misfitstray: 25km in training

AaronNorman: I usually don’t eat unless running more than 18-20 miles. Glycogen stores should be enough to get most runners 16-18 miles.

iRunAlaska: I’ve gone as far as 18 in training with no drink or fuel. Not particularly fun, seeing if I could.

nmwied: never eat b4 unless a race, 2hr is when I start 2 add in gels otherwise just h2o under 2hr

IndyGirl87: 60-80 minutes depending on weather conditions

gingermarauder: 10 miles

bebita_3718: I run six miles on an empty stomach…. if I’m going farther than that, I eat a something small. No more than 200 calories.

spaceneedl: 10 miles.

akrunnerdude: 10 miles for racing, 14-16 in training.

kashmoney0689: umm I’d say I’ve done 7 miles and then I had to eat something and hydrate … That was during my half in Feb.

lizsassymolassy: BUT, I haven’t gone over 7mi at a time yet…could change habits during runs once I hit longer runs!

lizsassymolassy: I always have toast w/ pb and half of a 5 hr energy for runs over 3 miles, 30mins before. Just H2O during.

davidtraxler: What’s the longest run …..drink/gels? In a Race: 10 miles, In training: 15miles.

mikew30: yesterday I ate quite a big lunch, then ran an hour or so after. Ran for 96mins, and didn’t need the food I’d taken with me.

mikew30: I eat all the time before, so hard to say. during I’d say HM / 2 hours is the most I’d run without having more carbs.

supersubfigo: 13-14 miles

DiminutiveRunr: 8 miles for me!  :)

innerphoenix: Anything beyond 6 I feel the need for something.

mogle1128: for me, 5-6 miles tops….

hollybluecreek: 10 would be the max.

marathonarturo: I’ve completed a few  half marathons without any support b4 or during.

wesleyroelke: 10k.

DMott3: I’m alright until start getting into double digits

shesoffrunning: Anything > 8 miles.

HeidiRuns: after 6 I start wanting nutrition.

TattooedRunnr: Probably about 12 miles for me.

KristyH5: I did 14 like this on Sunday and the last 2 miles were really tough.

KristyH5: I can make it 10-12 miles. After that I fade.

desertendurance: I NEVER eat b4 (really weak stomach)…then I go 6 before I start taking in nutrition – About 100ish cals/hr #notMANYcals

GPescatore: 12 Miles

_martyn_fisher: No more than 10 miles. But I’d often have gels/food prior to a 5 miler. So anything between 5 & 10 miles can go either way.

runlikeawarrior: Eating before: 3-4 miles; Gels: longer than 10 miles (generally training for half or full so also training nutrition)

bmlueb: 8 miles for me with nothing not even water. I’ve done 13 but it didn’t feel the best.

Thanks for the responses! It’s very cool to see what every one is doing. It makes me wonder how far I could go without eating or drinking carbs. I wouldn’t do this for a marathon but it might be fun to try on an 18 or 20 miler.

Mark (@mogle1128) also shared this link with me from Runner’s World about running carb-depleted. Check it out:

Running on “E” By Alex Hutchinson

After reading the article, I’m wondering if the 14 miler went so well because my body is becoming more efficient at burning stored carbs? A girl can hope!

So what do you think? Do you run carb-depleted already? Would you? Do you have an iron stomach I would be jealous of? Let us know!

[photo supplied by me]

Posted in Nutrition, RunningComments (0)

Beth McCurdy Iron Horse 100

What is Your Fueling Strategy?

Fueling before and during races seems to be a topic that runners like to discuss at length. It’s such an interesting topic with a variety of responses. What may work well for one person, may not work at all for another. And, as Sally Brooking puts it, “How you decide to fuel is also related to your particular training/running/racing goals”.

Figuring out fueling before and during shorter distances can be a little more simple for the most part, however it can have it’s own challenges depending on the runner.  What becomes more complicated is attempting to understand what your own body can handle while running for hours on end.

Ultra marathons require a little more strategy and planning. Sometimes we have to find out the hard way what works and what doesn’t work. The suggestion of always trying something new in a training run or a race that you don’t care about seems to work well. However, unfortunately this is not always an indicator of that particular fueling method will work in the actual event.

I’ve been running races since 1995, marathons since 2004, and ultra marathons since 2007. I’m still trying to figure out what works for me and am regularly experimenting with different products, foods, and fluids. I asked some veteran and top performance ultra runners what they fuel up with the night before and during the race.  I’ve learned a lot from friends and others over the past several years when it comes to fueling.

Joe Fejes

The day or night before I try to eat at Sweet Tomatoes restaurant which has a wide variety of my favorite salads, soups and pastas. I stay away from ice cream and anything that is odd or heavy. My favorite prerace breakfast is hardees ultimate omelete biscuit or a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from Waffle House. During a 50 or 100 miler I get most of my calories from liquids such Boost, V8 and Gatorade, although I also will eat fruit and cold salty potatoes if available.-Joe Fejes

Jacqueline Melchoir

The night before my race I try to eat pasta, salmon with a pinch of spinach. Race morning I try to eat a half a bagle, with peanut butter and honey and I love drinking a can of Verve for a extra boost. During my run I drink NUUN and gatorade and depending on the distance will have 2 gels. Jacqueline Melchior

Bill Keane

*Pre-Race – I normally fuel up on red meat protein and high carbohydrate foods. The family likes to go out on Friday’s to one of our many Chihuahua restaurants and that means lots of TexMex starches and cerveza grandes.

*During a Race – I will eat steadily cycling thru GU Gels, oatmeal cookies, crackers (Nabs), raisins, beef jerky, and augment that with whatever aid treats the race provides. As for race fluids, I have run on Conquest for 20 years. I am down to my last can for Hinson Lake. After the Conquest is gone, I may have to get a new hobby. I will also go through a lot of S-Caps and Excedrin.

*Post Race – I always do some serious rehydration which always means more beer. This regimen had gotten me thru 258 ultras todate. Bill Keane

Sarah Woerner

The day before i try to make sure i really focus on hydrating well and try to stay away from caffeine after my morning cup of coffee. For my dinner, i almost always eat a steak and salad with some bread. i usually have a granola bar a little before bed. On race morning, i have to have a cup of coffee and usually eat a couple granola bars and some fruit. I can also do pb toast or some cereal but not much milk.

During the race, i drink G2 or diluted gatorade/powerade if possible. Heed can really mess up my stomach. I don’t eat much at all in a 50k, maybe a gel or two and some orange slices at the aid station. For longer races, i eat more solid food like pb&j, chips, etc and try to space my gels out because i can only tolerate a few of them. At Pinhoti 100, i ate mostly solid food including an egg and cheese sandwich! -Sarah Woerner

Jon Obst

The day before a race, I like to have a steak or chicken along with veggies, pasta and red wine-something substantial and healthy. Race morning PB&J is my staple with strong coffee. During a race, I use a lot of gu’s throughout and solid fuels, like burgers ,pizza, potatoes, meat, soup, especially in a 100, 24hr.-Jon Obst

Janice Anderson

The days before the race I try to eat easily digestible foods, plenty of calories, and usually a beer or two. During the race always depended on how close i was running to my max. Shorter races-just fluids (like CLIF now-Conquest used to be the only thing) and gels. For longer things (100s) usually gels for awhile, but by mid-day- cheese sandwiches, potatoes, salty stuff, fruit, chicken broth, and anything that looks good at the aid stations works. Oatmeal is my go-to now before the race. it is very easy on the stomach but lots of good carbs/calories-Janice Anderson

Jennifer Vogel

I stay way from gluten and dairy at all costs the night before. I usually make a noodle bowl with rice noodles, a pretty salty broth, eggs and some veggies. For racing I use all Hammer products. Hammer gels in races 2-8 hrs. Perpetuam mixed in after the 8 hr mark. Fruit or anything fructose will shut my stomach down. One beer or alcoholic drink during peak training or racing season, especially in the heat, makes me violently hungover.-Jennifer Vogel

Sally Brooking

The night before a race I usually eat pasta or pizza and try to limit myself to two beers. I try to stay away from greens ie salads. Race day I eat oatmeal and a banana in the a.m. Shorter races I may eat Gu and anything that looks good on the aid station. Longer runs, I like cheese, beef jerky and Gobstoppers. I am not particular as to what I eat or drink unless it’s HEED or Hammer Gel products….I stay away from those at all costs. A beer during the race is not out of the question-Sally Brooking

How do you fuel up the night before and during a big event? The more we share with eachother, the more it will help by giving us ideas of new things to try so that we can perform at our best.

Posted in Nutrition, RunningComments (1)

IMG_0348

Bagles Or Bananas? No Thank You!

I’ve run a few marathons… Okay, scratch that, I’ve run a lot of marathons. And for every race, there is the infamous pre-race breakfast debate. Coffee? Carbs? What can I eat that will give energy and won’t give my stomach flip flops at mile 5?

I know some of you are creatures of habit. You have the same meal before every race, whether it be peanut butter toast, oatmeal or bagels with bananas.

Not being stomach shy about trying new foods before a race, I’ve experimented with a lot of different options.

Knowing my body has 26.2 miles to cover, I’m a firm believer in good nutrition before the race.  But there are days when I just can’t choke down another bagel, especially at 4:30 in the morning! So I flex my options from time to time, and my new pre-race running love has been muffins! Depending on the variety, you can get substantially
the same amount of calories and carbs from them as a bagel, and it’s just a nice change of pace.

Being a particularly adventurous nut in the kitchen, I’m always trying new recipes and after a few rounds of using my family as taste-testers, and adding my own twists, I’ve finally got it!

So bake up a batch of Dana’s Triple Awesome Muffins and try them out for a pre or post run snack! Solid wholesomeness, they might just make it on your pre-race breakfast menu! These muffins are every bit as tasty as healthy, but don’t have a high caloric volume. If you plan to eat them pre-marathon, you’ll want to stock up on a few.

And if you have a family like mine, you’ll be glad you took the extra, because there won’t be any left waiting for you when you get back!


Dana’s Triple Awesome Muffins

These babies pack a lot of goodness in every bite and are one of my
favorites to make!  If you want to make it your own, add a little flax
seed, or replace some of the flour with ground oats. Some people like
adding a crumb topping with oats too. But whatever you do, make them!
Eat them! And Run!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup agave nectar (low glycemic organic sweetener)*
2 Tbs butter (melted)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
11/2 cups frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, marionberries)

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs,
milk, applesauce, agave nectar, and butter. Fold mixture into dry
ingredients just until moist. Fold in berries. Makes enough batter for
12 mega sized muffins. Make sure to spray your muffin pan with non-stick
cooking spray! Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes and test with a toothpick
to ensure fully cooked. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan to wire
rack. Enjoy!

*Don’t have any agave nectar? We’ll run to whole foods store and buy
some! Or if you must, you can substitute 1 cup sugar instead.

Nutrional Info Per awesome mega muffin (estimated)
Calories – 155
Fat – 2.5
Protein – 3.7
Carbs – 30
Sodium – 113mg

Posted in NutritionComments (1)



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