Runners need to eat. It’s true. Runners need to eat before they run (depending on what time and how far they’re running), they need to eat after they run, and sometimes, depending on the distance, they even need to eat during a run. Crazy, right?
Truthfully, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done any eating during a run but I know that time is coming again and I’m going to have to get things figured out so I’m doing the right things on race day.
There are so many options out there for race nutrition – gels, chomps, gummies, bars, waffle cookies, performance drinks, etc. It can be overwhelming to go to a running store, or other sports store, and see shelf after shelf of options. I mean, how do you even know what to get?
I learned (the hard way, of course) that Gu and Clif Shots do not work for me – my tum tum vehemently said no! (isn’t vehemently a great word?!) – so I transitioned to stuff that was made with more natural ingredients, like Honey Stinger and Hammer Gel.
My coach just sent me some of these Spring gels to try out and they’re also made with natural ingredients AND do not have any maltodextrin (which is artificially produced so how can it be in a product deemed “natural?” Hmmm…..) so these may end up being in my rotation, depending what my ornery gut has to say. haha
What I found that used to work the best for me during marathons or really long training runs was a combination of gels, chomps (Honey Stinger brand), and the Honey Stinger waffle. Relying solely on gels, regardless of what they’re made of, causes me to rely a little more on port-a-potties.
TMI? Sorry. It’s the truth, though.
So, it’ll be an interesting transition back into eating on the run and seeing how it all goes. Especially since I’m going to be running ultras and it’s my understanding that the aid stations will have more real food.
Am I going to have to start running with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my pack? haha
The one thing I do know right now is my fuel of choice before heading out for said long run or race – oatmeal!
I’m definitely an oatmeal and fruit girl with a small cup of coffee to … ahem … get things going before I get going, if you know what I mean. I try to eat about 90-120 minutes before a race (I’ll do less time before a training run but I also eat less and plan to eat earlier on the run so I’m not up at 3am on a Saturday. #sleepwins) so I can digest everything and be comfortable before I head to the start line.
Want more information on nutrition for runners, including nutrient timing, and what to eat before and after a run to best benefit your training and your recovery? I just finished up an amazing Fit and Fueled Nutrition Course for runners from Laura at Mommy Run Fast and I learned so much.
I’ve been out of the “training game” for a bit and I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned immediately and I’ve seen the difference in my running. I highly recommend taking this course if you’re looking to take your running to the next level with nutrition. The next one kicks off in March!