My brother Mike linked me an interesting post in the New York Times that discussed the trend in refueling your body during exercise. This has always been in the back of my mind as something I needed to start thinking about, but I have put it off because of my relatively short durations and distances.
I often see people running around Buffalo with water bottles and gel foods strapped to their waists. Often the sight makes me giggle and make smart ass remarks to whomever I'm with about the fact that most likely they aren't doing more than a couple of miles. I don't quite know why, but I've always felt that it was a little overkill to bring all of those things on runs. It may be because typically I don't start feeling super depleted after 5 kilometers, or even after 10 kilometers. I may have not hit that wall where refueling is something that I need to do. I look forward to it in a sick way, though, because I feel like it might be the next step in becoming a runner.
I talked with Mark a little bit about it in the past, and he mentioned that he typically does take things for anything over about an hour. It makes sense to me because I do feel pretty thirsty while running, and I could see how that would be a huge help. I don't know if I am really interested in all of the gel products and sugar pills, as I'd
like to think I would rather have something a little more basic and natural. Though, that may be naive to think I would sacrifice convenience for natural products. After all, I am American!
The NYT article talks about specific races where they offer their takes on power foods. One race has pumpkin pie, which I assure you would make me throw up five paces away from the food stop, and another has potatoes and chicken broth. It also goes on to talk about how eating something irregular during a long distance run can really wreak havoc on you, causing serious cases of Runner's Trots. Consistency is for sure the most important aspect of exercise, and any changes can throw you out of whack.
I am very interested to hear from some of you longer distance runners, and even anyone who takes food and beverages along on your exercises. I am curious to hear how you feel before and after and why you decided to start doing it.
I agree…a lot of that stuff, especially for even a 6-7 mile run is overkill. I didn’t use any gels for my first half marathon and I did fine. I did use GU (one before starting and a half at mile 7) for my most recent one, and I was also fine. I’m not sure if it made any difference or not, but they really taste good (I think), so its kind of a little treat along the way. I also take little sips of Gatorade at every other water station. I’m interested to see how my body reacts as I get into my marathon training and if I’ll need anything more than that.
But pumpkin pie? I probably wouldn’t try that. That’s asking for an unpleasent situation!
Oh yeah, pie sounds waaaaay too heavy for any kind of running. Unless it’s like mile 60 of a hundred mile race. As for anything else, I started off doing total overkill with gels and water. In fairness, however, I also started running more seriously in the summer, when I was sweating like a mo-fo. As the weather’s gotten colder, I’ve definitely toned way back on all that. But anyway, here’s a bit of a breakdown for what I do now: For a 1-2 hour run, I’ll start with a serving of an energy gel/chew,’s then have another one every hour or so. I find that I start getting super hungry about that time anyway, so it times out pretty nicely. For water, I have a hydration belt with a 16 oz. water bottle, which I fill with either water+ an electrolyte tab, or just heavily diluted gatorade. I usually don’t even finish the bottle unless I’m running 15 miles or more (again, it’s cold out, which reduces consumption), though I do make sure to take regular pulls to keep up hydration. But that’s for longer stuff. For my regular, daily 10ks, I just eat granola and a banana, along with a huge cup of water about 45-60 minutes before I head out, then just plow through until I get to wherever I’m going, when I have some protein and re-hydrate. Been doing this for months without fail, and it’s worked out pretty well. So yeah, where you are now, you’re probably fine, but you will want to have liquid handy for anything above 6-8 miles, even if it’s not a huge amount, and gels/beans/whatever over that. And that is my giant block of text for the day.
Now maybe you can understand why most of my walking, biking or running ( ok, so you know the running part is not true ) always involves a food destination. I guess this doesn’t really qualify as re-fueling – never mind!