Friday, January 6, 2012

Performance FUEL: Part 2. Re-thinking my strategy

In the last few weeks, there have been a few things that have caused me to reconsider my training as far as fueling is concerned. And, if you didn't have a chance to catch my December 28th post,  I asked two questions:
  • Do you fuel while you train? Why or why not? 
  • Do you count calories in regards to training?
It is worth going back just to read through the outstanding comments left by readers. Thank you for all the detailed responses there!

Before I explain why I am considering making major changes,  I should explain my background with training nutrition (in bullet form)
  • Up until now, nutrition has been the one factor in racing that I have been the LEAST concerned about. I am NOT a nutrition expert.  And, for the most part, the way I have been training has been working for me.
  • I am in the very low end of the BMI scale for my height (normal, not underweight) . Happy with my body, NOT trying to lose.
  • I know I have a cushion of about 5 pounds that I can go down and still be at a "safe" weight for my body to still be functioning properly. This could be an advantage in racing- (possibly up to 3 minutes in the 10k), but not at the cost of my health, muscle mass, body cycles, immune system.
  •  I have spent a couple of years running figuring that I could afford extra sweets with more miles, and have turned myself into a sugar addict, in which I consume candy and sweets all other times of the day. (I don't think this is really healthy, but may not be totally unhealthy if it were in moderation.). It makes sense that my sugar cravings are my body's way of looking for fast calorie replacement.
  • I have had no problem running 3 hours+ with no fuel (McMillan style), leaving on a stomach of just coffee and milk, and have done so in both of my previous marathon cycles.  On these runs, the weather has been so cool here that I have left a bottle of water at a drop point and stopped (up to) 3 times on a 20 miler. These were slow, easy long runs.  It's just they way our climate is, and it has worked OK for me. 
  • I have only experienced a training "bonk" once, but managed to make it home jogging. I have only bonked once in a race (Boston, 2011- probably due to dehydration), still finished, though dazed and only jogging, and for that I thank God.
  • On a few of my long runs (20+ miles), I have always tested out a gel or Gatorade, just to make sure it didn't cause problems...and nothing I eat while running ever does, (while I am running, anyway).
  • My interests in nutrition are primarily to:  recover better, train better (while I maintain weight), and race faster.
I didn't really see a problem with training this way, until I heard a podcast  (just looking for anything I hadn't heard yet), that really made me reconsider the importance of fuel to training and recovery.

The podcast (episode 75 of Marathon Talk) featured Matt Dixon, whom Ryan Hall credits with helping him earn an American Record at Boston in April, 2011. If you listen to the podcast you will have to skip to the interview -toward the end of the show, (the interview is about 28 minutes). But, the key points that Dixon made were:
  • Proper fueling is ESSENTIAL to recovery.
  • Recovery is ESSENTIAL to good workouts and good racing.
  • Dixon has never met an athlete (I assume elite) that was fueling properly. Ryan Hall, who has received his nutrition advice from Dixon, says that he fuels (while training, I assume) probably, "Ten times more than any other American. The only people fueling more are the Kenyans."
  • The benefits of good recovery (Which proper fueling is part of) includes your entire well-being, including your IMMUNE system. (I have had some dealings with suppressed immune system. Towards the end of my first marathon training cycle, every lymph node in my body was swollen at one point. This part really hit home).
So, how should one fuel?
  • Dixon recommends that you refuel as you are running. 
  • If you do not like to train and fuel at the same time, and like to hit the road on an empty stomach, then his suggestion is to make up the deficit of calories within 60-90 minutes after the workout. He says you don't have to count every calorie, but to have an idea that you are trying to refill your body with this fuel as soon as you can. He suggests a combination of carbohydrates and some protein.
  • By refueling and resting right away (or during the workout), your body will start repairing faster for that next workout.
***
So...what am I going to do with this information? Do some experimenting.
    Calories spent are easily counted for me. I burn an average of 100 calories for each mile ran. (You can use an online calculator to find out your own caloric burn).
    • If I am running 8 miles as a short run, I need to make up approximately 800 calories within 60-90 minutes to properly refuel. If I run 20 miles, that means 2,000 calories. That's a LOT of calories to make up.
    What's the best way to make up the caloric deficit of running?


    After doing a google search on Matt Dixon (I know this is starting to sound like and advertisement, but I am not connected in any way), I was surprised to see that pro triathlete, James Cotter, is coached by him. In an odd coincidence, I read his wife's blog Cotter Crunch. Lindsay put me in contact with him and this was his advice regarding fueling while running:

    "For fueling now I take taking on calories during and right after workouts much more serious. I use to be in the thought that not eating during would be great to lose weight. Turns out if you don't fuel correctly, ( it) results in the big sugar cravings later that evening because you were not able to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscle.

    For the run, since you don't burn as many calories and real food isn't practical, I just use liquid calories. I normally mix a fuel belt with x2 gels diluted in water and aim for 100-150  calories an hour. I also will use carbo pro with a few pinches of salt.


    Post activity is normally a glass of chocolate milk/recovery solution straight away. 40 minutes later it will be a carbohydrate focused meal. The longer the run, the more calories the meal. This will help replenish all your glycogen stores, put your body in a better state to workout the next day, and prevent all your carb craving in the evening. Basically you fuel with cabs so you don't crave carbs later in the day since carbs are absorbed by the body much better when working out compared to when not."

    • I, like James, (and so many of you), am going to start fueling while I run so I have less of a deficit to make up, and so that my body will have all the salts it needs to prevent cramping (which can lead to strains or tears).*
    • I am wearing a fuel belt on almost all runs, so I will be used to it for a race. I hope to be better hydrated in my next marathon, and I don't want to take chances.
    Who knows if this experimentation will lead to anything great, but I am willing to give it a shot- if anything, for my immune system.

    If I find it doesn't suit me, I can always go back to my old system. And, now I will be used to wearing the fuel belt I couldn't stand before.
    ***

    Since I can't embed the podcast, here is a video featuring Dixon that is related to recovery.

    I am interested in hearing any and all your thoughts on this. I am just beginning to start exploring training with fuel- so any recommendations are welcome!

     * late edit:  electrolyte/salt imbalances do not cause cramping ( Lore of Running,  Noakes MD. 4th edition, pg 822-823). Thanks for the tip, AM

    46 comments:

    1. Bravo!!! This was worth every single second that I stole away to my bedroom during a break of our family game night. So well written Raina! You write such an informative blog and I always get something out of it. You so wonderfully deliver facts and solid training information that I can use. Thank you thank you. I am excited to start taking my fueling during training more seriously. And fueling up right after my workouts too! Until now, I have been really bad about this. Often coming home from a long run to just grab a beer and hit the shower. no wonder I have a couple of strains going on...well, one possibility anyway. do you think that taking fruit strips is a good thing for long runs? Or raisins? Maybe even a banana might fit into that fuel belt or I could hold it for a bit until I'm ready for it. I'm big into trying out real foods as opposed to gels and stuff. Maybe even chia seeds...not sure what form they'd have to be in to do this. What are your thoughts on taking real food? Oh, figs...what about figs? Wish we could have coffee together this weekend.

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    2. Oh, and I'll be listening to this podcast on my long run tomorrow if I get lucky enough to run long. thinking 15 might be long tomorrow and I'd be thrilled with that. But gosh I hate to see race money go down the tube. :( boo.

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    3. I'm bad about fueling (well) after runs. This is a lot to think about, but really interesting and informative. Thanks!

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    4. Great information!!! I'm like you, low but healthy BMI so I'm careful to maintain but if I drop a few pounds during training it really messes me up (fortunately/unfortunately my own sugar addiction helps to avoid that) So I do try to post race refuel - lots of chocolate milk!!! But it is so hard to try to get calories in during the first few hours after a long/hard run - too much on my gut. Got to work it in bit by bit.

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    5. I always eat 1/2 to a full Clif Bar before a long run or speedwork if I'm doing it first thing in the morning. I have to fuel on long runs during the run because I get so hungry. My husband is really good about making sure I replenish afterwards. He's usually waiting with a big glass of chocolate milk. I've never been good at counting calories though and I definitely have a huge sweet tooth.

      Another thing I try to do is make sure I hydrate really well the day before a long run. That's about the only time I drink sports drinks and/or Nuun. During races and training runs I stick to water but am a pretty big fan of Clif shots and shot blocks. I also really like the newer PowerBar energy blasts. I've also taken nobake cookies and peanut butter sandwhiches, but those have been for really long, slower runs.

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    6. I listened to that podcast too! I remember it well. It made an impression on me, too. Interesting, my experience with my diet and running is different. I never get sugar cravings! honestly, never. True, I have chocolate every single night, but I could go without it. On the other hand, I can't run at 20 miler without at least a gel. I bonk. No matter how slow I go. Honestly, going 3 hours without some food would make me bonk. Running can be an appetite suppressant for some, but it is not for me. I have no problem eating after my runs. I always eat something before I run, and something with protein and carbs after. I eat more the night before a long run.

      I personally think that the lower your BMI/% of body fat, the more you need to pay attention to nutrition and refueling. I also do not believe that I am burning 2000 calories in a 20 miler. I think I am burning less and less the more 20 milers I run (I am becoming more efficient). For me, eating so much after a 20 miler would lead to weight gain. I am not as thin as you are (BMI 19.8) so maybe this is what the difference is? I do eat 90% calories as good calories, and I never go hungry. But I surely do not eat this much. I also rarely get sick, but I think that has more to do with sleeping a lot. I have a ton of energy and marathon training does not leave me depleted. I also recover very well after hard runs and have been historically able to handle a lot of speed. It will be interesting to see what happens if you start eating like this. Certainly an experiment.
      Oh, and one more thing. Some theorists believe that it is helpful to go depleted in some of the long runs, as to teach your body to use fat and function in a glycogen depleted state, which is what happens at the end of a marathon (Matt Fitgerald, Brain Training for Runner).
      Really great post Raina. Keep us posted on how this works for you!

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    7. I don't take in calories for workouts under an hour and sometimes for workouts of 1-2 hours, always take in calories for 2 hours or more. I don't count calories.

      I started studying calorie intake for endurance events while training for my first half iron tri last year. The (marketing) consensus I've found is that your body can only absorb calories at a certain rate which works out to be about a third of what you burn per hour. I'm still working on how to take them in.

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    8. Fuelling is tricky, isn't it? I always try to have at least a Clif bar before I run but I never think too much about after, unless it was longer than an hour. Then I try to have a smoothie, or at least some hot chocolate. I only drink water on runs and then have either Gu gels or shots.

      ❀Barbara❀
      My Running Shortz

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    9. 2,000 calories = one tub of trader Joe's ginger snaps. How do I know? because I just took three days off of running and consumed all of these cookies pretty much, um, today. yup. Sheesh.

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    10. This is a great post!!! I think I have been doing not too bad.....ONLY b/c I have had a coach.
      On long runs I always take water and gels. I immediately drink a protein recovery shake after workouts and long runs and then I eat a carb meal within an hour.

      Wher I am curious about experimenting is hydration on all runs, short o rlong.

      I was just thinking about your last post and how you told me you were fueling on all runs b/c last night on the TM i ran 12 miles and I drank almost 20 oz of water during this run. Today I expected to feel tired but I didn't . it got me wondering if that was b/cI was drank so much water during my run???

      I am good at fuelling after a run but I should probably check that I am in deed getting eough calorie. I have no idea how many calories I am burning. need to look into that! I am also on the very low end of the BMI....alos need to look into that! thanks for a very informative post Raina:) xx

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    11. h! my BMI is 18.5:) anything less than 18.5 is underwight but I am still in the normal range:):) yippee!!

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    12. So what I'm hearing is that I should take this remaining tin of Christmas cookies with me on a long run today and knock them on out. Hey, if it's good enough for Ryan....

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    13. What a great post! I am definitely in the eat-while-you-run camp. On a 20-miler, I'll eat at least 2 hammer gels and 2 packages (2 servings each) of gu chomps. That's after, of course, whole wheat toast with peanut butter beforehand. I don't think I do a good job of making up the rest after a run, though. For my next training cycle, I will definitely try this. Thanks!

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    14. I look forward to chocolate milk after a hard run and I don't mind a fuel belt, snug around my waist so that it doesn't move around. It will be interesting to read how things go!

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    15. Love this post. I read the whole thing twice just to absorb as much as I could. I think I am pretty good about fueling during runs, but not very good post run. I need to be so much better! I am going to download that podcast to listen to today on my run.

      I run with my fuel belt for all runs over 6 miles, I have now for over a year and I am pretty used to it although at times it does get annoying. I ran with it for the last two half marathons I ran as well and loved not worrying about if the water stations were going to be busy. I just breezed through them. AWESOME!

      Thanks for this great post!

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    16. This is all really great information, thanks for sharing. I never fueled while running until last year, that means I was running for 14 years without any type of nutritional common sense. It has positively effected my racing this year and I've made some improvements, but I don't think that I take in as many calories post run as suggested here. My stomach tends to be very sensitive to fuels during and post workout, so consuming 2,000 cals post 20 miler is 100% out of the question for me.

      I do need to make a better effort on considering where my cals are coming from post workout. Yesterday I went to target after a 15+ miler and felt hungry while in the store, then I bought a bag of sour patch kids watermelon slices that I ate almost the entire bag before returning home. Probably not the best decision.

      Think I need to work on will power first...

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    17. I look forward to hearing/reading how your experiment goes! I always say we're an experiment of one, but there are hard facts in there that cannot be disputed and for those facts, I have always fueled during a long run. I love the advice you received from James :). I really am not a fan of carrying a fuel pack while running, it's cumbersome and annoying at times, but for me it is a must-do.

      Thanks for sharing this, I will reference it from time to time and am forwarding it on to some people I know who could use the info :)>

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    18. Great info! Will have to go back and read it a couple more times.

      I use a fuel pack with 2 bottles of nuun and another nuun tablet in case I need it on a long run. For runs of 15+ or more, I will have a gel at each 1-hour interval. But... I have found that I have to take 6-7 minutes to consume my gel or I will end up in a bush somewhere (or the nearest porta-potty). I have also used Honey Stinger chews and will do 1/2 pack at the 1 hour point and then the other half at 1:30.

      What confuses me is how to factor this in during a race when I will be drinking sports drink. I just don't want to overdo it on the sugar. It makes my lower GI system FURIOUS.

      I have found that a Rockin' Refuel chocolate/strawberry/vanilla milk is an AWESOME post long run refueling drink. Lots of protein.

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    19. Thanks for this very informative post. I do try to fuel before and during long runs of 10+ miles, but it is so hard to eat anything after. Thank goodness for chocolate milk. :)

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    20. PS-Another great blog that I've been following is this: http://nutritionsuccess.org/blog/

      Jackie is an elite runner, 2:45 marathoner (getting ready to compete in the Olympic Trials) and a nutritionist. She has some great tips!

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    21. This is a great post and very timely as I am in my first Boston Marathon training cycle (third marathon) and so I have been really trying to think about fuel. I was a huge energy gel user..it seemed to make sense to keep supplying the body with energy..but then I started to wonder if supplying the body with blood glucose was the right kind of energy and whether training my body to use glycogen stores is the best way to go...but to do that your glycogen stores have to be big and well stocked, that is where the after run nutrition comes in. My understanding is that during a run we are tearing our muscles up to some extend and right after we run they rebuild..that rebuilding allows our muscles to grow and become stronger..but to do that we have to give them the building blocks for rebuilding..I am sure there is some ratio of protein/carbs to maxmize that rebuilding but for sure we have to consume something right after we finish. I think that is why chocolate milk is so popular because its the perfect combination of protein/fat/carbs. So right now I am not using any fuel on my training runs (although I eat before hand) and then I am trying to always consume either a chocolate milk or a protein shake right after I get done (whether its a long run, tempo, track ..whatever). I am hoping this is going to increase my stores and my ability to access them. Haven't decided whether I will reintroduce energy gels during my training plan to keep my gut accustomed and then use them on race day for that extra push.
      I also have found that taking a probiotic (I only do it once a week) has really helped to keep my GI system functioning well which means I am maximising my ability to absorb nutrients.
      Sorry for a long comment...I find it helpful to write out my thoughts and I spent much of my 3 hr 20 min run this am thinking about this (one bottle of gatorade was all I used) and kept a steady 10 minute mile pace on single track trails with lots of hills.

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    22. like Tina, chocolate milk is my favorite post run re-fueling.

      I do have this really odd thing of craving steak after any run over 10-12 miles. I run primarily HM's as you know. NOTHING tastes better to me after one. I even start tasting it in my mind around mile 10 of each race. Although after my last Vegas RR, I ate half a roast chicken, it hit the spot as well. Anyway, I guess my body is craving protien for a reason.

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    23. Thanks Raina for the comments on my blog. Little boys are the best! I just love their energy and imaginations! This post is so informative. I am going to reread it again and again until it all soaks in!

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    24. Great post Raina!!! So interesting. I want to read it better on a computer and not just on my phone so I can process it better. So much valuable info in both the post and the comments. Can't wait to come back to this one!!!!

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    25. Great information! I can't believe you can run 3 hours without some kind of refuel (amazing...) I would be passed out on the road somewhere. I think I tend to refuel more often than most simply because I have issues with passing out after a race or two so I try to make sure I am keeping up with these things. Kind of interesting to get a professional take on it. I'll have to check out the podcast.

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    26. Great info! Like I think I mentioned before, I gave my own "rules of thumb" when incomes to fueling. I have found that's feel stronger on my next run if I mind the gels during runs in double digits and sports drink in hard workouts. almost immediately taking in my recovery drink seems to have ha great payoff as well. Last season I skipped this on occasion and can tell the difference even the day f the run.

      Have you read anything about maintaining stable blood sugars. Sounds like your body is not as finicky as mine, so you have ,ore to work with! Feel free to bounce further ideas around and good luck!

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    27. I, too, love this post. I've found that my recovery has been much better following the advice to get chocolate milk into my system within 30 minutes of finishing and then having a real breakfast or lunch (depending on when I finish) after stretching/showering etc. I have been sore after none of my long runs this way.

      What kind of fuel belt are you hearing works well for people? I do hate them, but I'm coming around to the wisdom of them. I like my CamelBak but wouldn't want to put anything but water in it due to the difficulty of cleaning it. Liquid fuel might be good, though, as I also hate opening gels and blocks while running fast.

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    28. Haha...a 100 oz hydration bladder is required gear for a 12 or 24-hour adventure race. I'm always pleased with how light my pack is...until I have to add the water.

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    29. Excellent post. I do refuel while running - though I KNOW that it is not enough. I also use salt tablets as needed. I can say that when it comes to hydration -- I am now very good at it. When I first started running, I was very very very bad at it.

      Post run--Beer, shower, choc milk, followed by pasta or a complex carb.

      Looking forward to reading about your trials on this topic.

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    30. That's super interesting! So far I have only run halfs and I don't really fuel during there race or training runs for those. But now that I'm thinking about a marathon, I feel like I should look into it. But eating during running makes me feel heavy and sluggish. But your post was very informative. Thanks!

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    31. As I wrote I am not expert in this topic but I have always been interested about the refueling (or fueling) before, during and after a long distance race. This is a very interesting post and I make the decision to make some experiments before and during my workouts. Thank you for sharing.

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    32. OK-back and able to read and fully comprehend! Great well-researched post Raina! This is awesome. So much great info. in the comments as well!!

      We are the same height but you have a lower BMI than me:) I applaud you for researching and experimenting with this and anxious to hear how it works out for you!!

      Commencing on the unproofed babble. First of all, to answer the opening questions. I rarely fuel while running in the winter other than long runs and no, I don't count calories although I do have a good awareness of my food caloric value. Climate makes a world of difference in my training. I use more electrolyte drinks etc. during the summer and I've found with the amount that I sweat I NEED a water belt to get enough liquid unless I want to spend hours laying out bottles every mile. I will drink TONS of water in a summer long run-very thirsty and heavy sweater. I often have to even change clothes because I'm supersaturated with sweat!!! I almost NEVER experience cramping or bonking though. Long runs, I don't always take gels but I do consume calories as I run-sometimes liquid sportsdrinks or also real food with long runs where my pace is not so much an issue. In a marathon I will take 5 gels and drink water almost EVERY mile. For the most part, I think I'm fueling well for me at this point.

      As far as refueling...I'm not sure about the calorie for calorie refuel for MY body..I also am not sure I'm burning the calories that some are in my runs. Ex:I'm not sure an easy 10 miler for me burns 1000 calories and I rarely change my food or fuel intake from my normal diet to compensate for a run like this. I do generally eat quality food shortly after ALL of my runs. For long runs I think I fuel during and refuel at a rate of maybe half or a little over of “said” calories burned. For a 20 mile run, I would maybe fuel with 300 actual calories during and refuel with maybe 700-800 quality calories in forms of immediate and then a subsequent meal within about an hour. My body will only absorb back a portion of calories burned effectively I think..…My running and training seems to be going well and I'm maintaining my weight without feeling any issue on my runs other than a one time low blood sugar episode.

      Interesting the correlation between sugar cravings and fueling. I believe I have maybe experienced this awhile back. I'm currently eating VERY little refined sugar and my sugar cravings are nearly obsolete right now whether I fuel or not.

      OK-I'm bookmarking this and really anxious to see what you find out for you!!! Thankyou for all the quality information. I will ALWAYS come over to read your blog to learn something!!!!

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    33. Always fun to find other runner bloggers in or near Eugene since there aren't many of us (to my knowledge)!

      I think you'll find that fueling during and after your runs will be beneficial and help the sugar cravings. I've definitely tried a lot of different combos. Sometimes I do a great job of fueling and other times, not so much. While training for the McKenzie River trail run, I found myself under fueled because the trails take so many more calories. A few bonking sessions definitely happened out there.

      My typical fueling though is to carry a Nathan handheld for long runs with either Nuun water, Gatorade and water mixed or Accelerade water for hydration. For food, I bring a gel, shot bloks and/or picky bar/larabar. Some runs I know I'll need more "substance" and real food doesn't seem to bother me so that's why I bring the larabar. I eat every hour or so (sometimes more often if I have shot bloks or bites of a bar) on runs that are over 9 or 10 miles.

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    34. Oh and post run, I often have one or a few of the following: green smoothie with spinach, banana, pb and milk, pbj sandwich or an egg, cheese, tomato & veggie sandwich. Plus, my pink recovery socks. :)

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    35. We are all an experiment of one when it comes to fueling and hydration. Ultra running increases the need to fuel on the run. Fast running burns out glycogen stores even quicker. Slow running trains your body to use fat more efficiently. And protein is very important during and after long runs, or you risk a weakened immune system! Hammer Perpetuem works for me in my long runs and my ultras. I'll be experimenting with Honey Stinger products soon though. The whole nutrition subject is a very complicated can of worms!

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    36. THis is great Raina! such good knowledge here and it all depends on how your body works best. Keep us posted on how the fueling goes and thanks for the shout out. We love to support each other!

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    37. Great post! I've been trying to be better about this, too. I used to always fuel up when I got back from a run, but have gotten away from it... and I do think it's related to more sugar cravings later in the day. I'm not doing a lot of long runs right now, but need to experiment to find the right fuel for during the run as well. I'm not a fan of gu/gels. Interesting info, thanks!

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    38. I'm a little late hear but this is an awesome post! Thanks for sharing such great info!

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    39. I bonked on my first marathon last year, and figured out that it was fuel related...I then started REALLY fueling up when I run. If I go over 10 miles I bring gels with me, and I do a backwards count...I want one 3 miles apart starting from the end...so I want one at 11 miles if I am going 14 miles, and I want 60 grams of carbs every hour so I figure out how long I plan on going and bring one extra just in case...a 14 miler is three gels, one at 5, 8 and 11. Plus one just in case I feel like I am dogging out. I drink water like nobodies business, I have a water bottle with me at all times and I run with a belt or hand held for anything over 6 miles. I can go an hour without water, but only barely. My long run mix is my Nathan Speed 4 with 10 oz bottles left side is 60/40 Gatorade and the right is plain water for washing down the gels. When I was doing the long 20+ runs last summer, we would park a car loaded with refills at the 15 mile mark and top up the belt.

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    40. That was a great post Raina, which has shown me just how little I know! I have to admit I've never counted calories (wouldn't know how), never refuel on training runs (but never run for more than about two hours) and only carry water when I'm on the track doing speedwork. I never crave sweet things, never buy cakes, cookies or muffins, but eat 4 squares of dark chocolate each evening with my glass of red wine.
      In fell races or off-road ½ marathons I pack one or two mini Mars Bars which I find fairly digestible. In my eight road marathons I never once used gels or any type of food, just water or an electrolyte drink at every water station. After a race or training run I'll stretch, have 500ml of Nuun and get some protein down as soon as possible - maybe an egg mayonnaise sandwich or some grilled fish. And that's it for me - though I'll admit I'm no Ryan Hall! In the final analysis, I suppose we're all different.

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    41. Great post!! I am going to read this one a few times. Really good info. Thanks!!!

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    42. I read this right after you posted but it has taken me a while to get back and reply. I always eat before I run. I didn't used to be this way but in the last 2 years I started adding in a little food before a run. (No matter what the distance.) I also drink a little water. I almost always eat a banana. If we are out of bananas I may have a piece of toast or fruit bar. But I buy bananas every few days so that is not usually a problem! :-) I do not eat during a run unless it is 10 miles or more. Maybe it's a mental thing but that's what I do. If I'm running 10 or more miles I bring a GU but for long runs (17+) I bring GU, Chomps, etc. I try to drink water and eat around the same time to aid in absorption. I do not like to carry a water bottle but do in EXTREME heat in the summer. Otherwise, I just plan my route around various locations with a water fountains. (Walgreens, local grocery stores, gas stations, park, Dollar General, etc.- I have a list!)
      After a run I usually make a protei n fruit smoothie.
      As far a counting calories... I do not. I am nursing and between that and running I am usually hungry! I have a big appetite and I do not deprive myself of food. I do try to make healthy food choices. I love fish, veggies and whole grains. My favorite lunch is Peanut butter and apple sandwich with a glass of fat free milk. I have that almost every day. (I am a creature of habit.)

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    43. I generally fuel for any run more than an hour. I usually don't notice during the run, unless it is a 20 miler, but helps tremendously in recovery and the rest of the day. I usually plant water along my route and just add a gel along with. After a run, a chocolate milk (raidinge kids milk boxes) is just perfect. Milk apparently has the right mix of protein carbs. And I try to do right after. Like within 10 minutes. For me, being older (45) it really helps with stiffness and soreness later. During a marathon, I get so hungry its crazy. As for alorie watching, a 15 miler burs 1500 calories say. No way an you add that many back easy but with Gatorade and gels, I get about 50% ingested which works for me. I can't imagine running on coffee and milk. Have to tink adding some calories will help in hour number 2. .

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    44. Wonderful Post! Very informative and helps put the emphasis on how important fueling is. The only real fueling I have practiced has been during long runs, I used Figs... I found them to work with my body SO well. I love the fact that they are all natural; but still have the needed carbs of like GU chomps etc.

      The hard thing is everyone is so different... figuring out what works for YOU is difficult.

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    45. This is really interesting! I thought I was good at replenishing calories burned, but after last week's diet experiment I can tell I was clearly not getting enough. I also noticed my lymph nodes are swollen this week... coincidence?

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    46. Great post and very informative. I don't fuel unless over 15 miles, and then it's what ever I can keep down for the long haul. I still have a lot of work to do in this area for ultras. I fuel during my long runs what I plan to use during the race, and always include a protein recovery shake after tough workouts.

      Again, love the post - Keep it going.

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