Hi guys! I am feeling better but still feeling very very exhausted all the time, but am on the mend. I am especially excited about today’s guest post because Lisa is a fellow runDisney fan and creator of the Healthy Disney website! Be sure to check it out.
Hello Running with Sass readers! Heather and I and finally met at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon expo in October. I love meeting fellow runDisney fans!
I started running about two and a half years ago. For the first two years I basically stuck to running for 30 minutes, three times a week. But last February, on a whim, I decided to train for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, and I learned quickly, that especially on long runs, fueling your body matters.
Generally, if you’re running more than an hour, you need to look into fueling and hydrating on the run, and no matter what distance you run, knowing what foods agree with you before heading out on a run is key. (For many, that means high in carbs and low in protein and fat.)
The tips I’ve learned and shared here are my own; you can try them, but remember that everyone’s body and digestion is individual. Also, if you are seeking professional advice, please contact a medical doctor or nutritionist.
Four Tips for Fueling for a Run:
1. Trial and error.
Generally if a food agrees with you, stick to it; likewise, if you have stomach troubles the night after a heavy meal, keep that in mind too.
Experiment with different foods the night before a run, or for breakfast. Everyone has different sensitivities. I’ve learned that spicy foods, heavy dairy foods, and lots of fried stuff are all a no go for me, but may be fine for you.
But see what works – you may find that a cup of coffee is just what you need before running to keep you going. Or a banana. Some long-distance runners swear on flat soda. Who knows?
2. If it works, stick to it.
That being said, once you do find well-working foods and fluids, use them.
Early on with my long runs, I saw lots of bloggers eating a half a bagel with nut butter and banana. I tried it, waited an hour or so, and it did the trick. The bagel kept me satisfied, and provided all of the right nutrients for my running.
For a while, I strayed away and tried lighter breakfasts, but time and time again, I’d grow really hungry while running. Back to the bagel it was.
After you experiment, find what gives you the energy you need.
3. Hydration station.
How do you hydrate?
On the day before and after a long run, I like to drink 16 ounces of Gatorade. Then during the run, I stick to water. I know other people who like to drink electrolyte drinks during a run or race, either with or in place of other fuel.
You won’t know which method you prefer until you try.
Another thing I’ve learned, especially for those long runs? I’ll drink a large glass of water a few hours before running, but at least two hours beforehand, I stop drinking, and wait until the run. If I can avoid making a pit stop while running, I’m all for it.
A lot of people worry about hydration the day of a run, but it’s the days leading up running that are the most crucial. Stay hydrated the few days prior to a long run. But at the same time, also avoid drinking too much water (it can be quite dangerous, and is more common in women and new runners). I like to drink about 1-2 ounces per mile, and it seems to be a good amount for staying hydrated while avoiding over-hydration.
4. Gels and bars and beans, oh my!
There’s always a lot of talk about which electrolyte products are the best for running, and there are so many products on the market.
Between gel packets, bars, jellybeans, and blocks, all containing different amounts of caffeine or sodium or sugar, you can find what you’re looking for on those long runs.
Or not. Jeff Galloway says that runners need sugar more than anything else, and even pure sugar gets the blood sugar levels to normal. I’ve heard him suggest using sugar cubes or regular old jelly beans. They’re cheaper and much easier to find than many of those products out there, and they work just as well.
Or use a variety. You may want to use a gel packet with caffeine at the start of a run, then chew on some jelly beans or blocks, and then eat cut-up pieces of a bar.
As with all running, do what works for your body.
Lisa Fine is the creator of Healthy Disney, the unofficial guide to getting healthy – with Disney, and at Disney. Follow Healthy Disney on Twitter or Facebook, or learn more about Lisa’s foods, running, and travels at her personal blog, Lisa’s Foods on the Move.
QOTD: What do you use to fuel during a run?
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