Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Runner Refueling Part 2: Timing of Nutrition

This post will is focus on timing of your nutrition on a run. Like the last post, I will start by saying that what I describe in this post works for me.  Every person is different, and therefore you should identify what works for you and stick to it. That said, the timing of pre-workout / race meals, refueling during long runs, and recovery meals directly after is very important. You might also like to find out what I eat here.


What would you eat on this half marathon?
If it is race day or I am going to take a long run in the morning, I typically have either oatmeal and blueberries and a protein shake or just my Oatmeal Berry Shake.  Either is about 570 calories, which is less than the typical bagel and banana before.  There is typically 30 to 40 grams of protein; however, typically I have this about 2 to 3 hours before the activity for it to digest.  In recent studies, it has even been suggested to eat this way 3 to 4 hours before theactivity for the full benefit during the race.  Eating this way also has limited my need to use the bathroom race day.  Also, I am using the protein to regulate the digestion of  the carbs which plays into when I begin refueling during the run.
If we are away from home, I will typically eat a Cilf Builder bar (mint) followed by a bagel and maybe a banana.  Again, I am using the protein to regulate the digestion of the carbs.

During the Run

The timing of refueling during the run is pretty much a balancing act.  For example, for most, you pretty much don’t need to refuel during a race if you are running under an hour.  Unless it is a hot day, I also subscribe to this rule for hydration.  If it is a road race, after the first hour, I will start off with a piece of Builder Bar, followed by 3 or 4 gummy bears, and chased by water.  I do this about every 15 minutes to 20 minutes until the end of the race.  

For a trail run, it is more dependent on what I just covered (aid station at the top of a hill) or will be facing (an aid station before a long climb).  Since I lose more salt on a trail run, the salted potatoes, potato chips, or salted pretzels, come in handy and of course gummy bears.  Since aid stations are paced further apart on a trail race (between 3 to 10 miles in some cases) I also take with me some gummy bears or something else to tie me over between stations.  I have recently tried FrontierBites.  It is made by local Bay Area start-up and are pretty tasty.  I will write a complete review soon.

After the Run

I strongly believe in eating protein directly after a longrun is extremely important for recovery.  So I either have a Clif Builder Bar and some sort of chocolate milk right after the run.  If I am going directly home, I may eat cottage cheese and or fat free yogurt with some sort of berry.  I always find it a challenge at road races to find what I need post-race; however, trail races always seem to have what I need.

Other nutrition items

Carb-loading the night before.  Simply said, unless you want to spend a few minutes in the Porta-Potty and miss a PR, eat smart and sensible.  Think more about what you are eating to store up your glycogen during the week instead of trying to load it up all  at once.

On race day, as said here and elsewhere so many times, don’t introduce a new type of fuel unless you have tried it on your training runs. If you do it will catch up with you at some point during the race.

Finally, if it is a trail run, don’t overeat at the aid station!  Remember, all you are trying to do is replenish your muscles and get you to the next aid station.  What you don’t want to happen is your body switch the blood supply and effort from running to digestion.

Again, as I stated at the beginning of the post, this is what works for me.  Everyone is different and you will have to find out what works best for you.

1 comment:

  1. As your wife, and many times your running/racing partner, I seriously question the validity of this statement - "Eating this way also has limited my need to use the bathroom race day."
    : )


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