Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fueling my long runs

I don't do a lot differently about my food intake while training except I allow myself some additional calories the day before, the day of and the day after my long run. I am a vegetarian and eat lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains and I get plenty of protein on a daily basis.

Where I struggle is fueling the actual long run. I've been experimenting over the last several long runs and I think I'm getting closer to what works for me.

My current stash. I need to go shopping again. REI, here I come!

These are the guidelines I use; subject to change as I discover new things:
  • Eat something every 15.5 minutes starting 15.5 minutes into the run. I don't wait for an hour or so before I start eating, this just gets me behind the curve. I use my Garmin Forerunner 630 to show an "Eat" alert to remind me to eat.
  • Drink 2-3 ounces of water 5ish minutes after I eat something. (This will likely go up as the weather warms up.)
  • Every 31 minutes (which is every other time I eat), eat a single caffeinated Clif Shot Blok.
  • Every 31 minutes (when I don't eat a shot blok), eat 30-50 calories of something else.
    • Picky Bars - these are basically dates and nuts and other such things pressed together into a bar. I eat 1/4 bar per time I eat. I have tried 3 flavors so far and liked all three. No issues with chewing while running except my breathing is altered and my HR will rise slightly until I finish the bite.
    • Hammer Gel - (Nocciola) Hazelnut-Chocolate is my favorite so far. I'm about ready to abandon trying other flavors and just stick with it. I take 1/3 of a packet when I eat a gel. I have enough pockets in my running tights or on my fuel/hydration belt to stash the partial pack between bites
    • GU Roctane Gel - this stuff is really good for me electrolyte-wise, at least on paper, but I haven't found one I really like yet, so I keep trying different flavors.
I've found that I like mixing up the textures. I tried Honey Stingers bites and I liked them ok, but they were so similar in texture and taste to the Shot Bloks, that I got sick of eating such after several hours.

I have played around with putting electrolytes in my water bottles. My favorite is Hammer Endurolytes Fizz. I like the mango and the grape. I have added sugar cubes to it and I like that, but I have ended up with an upset stomach. My last run, I just used straight water and I didn't have any issues with my stomach. So I'm going to try the endurolytes again without sugar and see how that goes.

Before a run, I have been just eating a 100 calorie greek yogurt cup about an hour before my run. This works ok on runs up to about 10 miles, but I think I need to eat more before the run. I'm still playing with this aspect.

Before my 20 mile long run this week, an hour before my run, I ate 2 packets of grits (200 calories) and 10 grams of shredded cheese (34 calories). Grits are what I eat before an endurance ride. I usually add a slice of American cheese and 2 links of Morning Star Farms "Sausage" links. I didn't have either of those on hand, so made do. But since I use that before endurance rides (nerves, adrenaline, etc), I felt safe trying it for my long run.

About 20 minutes before my run, I ate 130 calories worth of No Bake Energy Bite.

While my speed was not much different from my last 20 mile run, my overall pace and attitude were better throughout the entire run than it was on My Worst Run To Date from last week.

Some things I still want to try during the run: RJ'S Licorice and fig newtons.

What do you eat during a long run? What do you eat for breakfast before?

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