What I Eat Before, During and After Long Runs

Long run fuelingIt’s important to make sure that you are fueling properly for all phases of your long run – before you head out, during the run and after your run.  You want to make sure that you are fueling properly so that you can get through your workouts and recover well.

Before the run I go old school – it’s carbs.  And, most of the elites that I have read about or listen to do the same.  “Eating carbohydrates prior to a race improves a runner’s endurance, speed, energy and alertness, according to Asker Jeukendrup, a professor of exercise metabolism and academic director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.”  All I know is that I eat some sort of pasta or pizza the night before a race or a long run and I feel like I have more energy during the run.

The morning of my run – I’ll get up early and have a bagel with peanut butter.  This gives me my carbs and protein.  (I used to have a Banana Power Bar – but, they stopped making that flavor and I really haven’t found one that I like as well.  I have a Pepsi with my bagel.  Don’t judge.  :-)  I don’t like coffee and Pepsi is my go to drink for caffeine.  In addition to helping you to stay alert – moderate amounts of caffeine are increasingly being used to enhance endurance performance, particularly in the mid to latter stages of a long run or race.

Also for caffeine before I head, I’ll chew a couple of pieces of Run Gum for energy.  You only have to chew it for 5 minutes for it to get to your system.  I’ll spit it out before I head out the door.  For the benefits of Run Gum – check out their site at http://rungum.com.  A lot of research went into it.

Protein is also important for runners.  “With every footstrike, a runner carries two to seven times his or her body weight,” says Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., R.D., who has done extensive research on the effects of protein in athletes. “Protein is what keeps your body healthy under all that strain.” Adequate protein intake accelerates muscle growth and speeds recovery by helping rebuild muscle fibers stressed during a run. Since protein helps muscles heal faster, runners who consume the right amount are less likely to get injured. The reverse is also true, according to the authors of several studies on protein and athletes: Athletes who get insufficient amounts of protein are at a higher risk of injury.

Now, during a run.  This is a tricky area – and one that can be definitely hotly debated.  First of all, I’ll start off by saying that years ago we ran miles and miles without gels or any sort of fueling.  I’ve done many a 20-miler or marathon without taking anything during the run except water.  In the 70’s and 80’s – we didn’t have anything like that.

But, that being said – I’m like everyone else.  I’ve come to think that I need to take in fuel during long runs.  We’ll chalk it up to age.  :-)   I will generally take a gel every 45 minutes with water.  The gel that I use is Boom Nutrition.  I started using Boom several years ago and have stuck with it.  It’s truly the only gel that I like the taste and consistency of.  (Some of them are really gross).  The Vanilla Orange rocks and it has caffeine!  I know that some runners don’t like gels – but, I do.  I just can’t do anything energy wise during a run that I have to chew and get down.  Just doesn’t work for me.

I also only use something during a long run if I’m going to be out for more than 90 minutes.  Also, if I’m out for long than 90 minutes – I wear my CamelBak with straight water.  I’ll take a few sips every 20 minutes.  I sweat a lot and need to replenish my water.  This is what works for me without getting sloshy.

After my run, I usually make one of these 2 smoothies.  While I’m making my smoothie – I’ll chew another couple pieces of run gum.

This is the smoothie that I usually do:

1 cup chocolate milk
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 banana
Crushed ice
Blend on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Here is the other one:

1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 banana
1 cup Kefir (it’s like liquid yogurt)
1 TB almond butter
2 TB wheat germ
1 TB honeyBlend on high for 30 seconds.

Both smoothies have protein and calcium and carbs to help aid with recovery and muscle soreness.

Just a little disclaimer here.  This is what works for me and what I have done for many years. Everyone is different.  What works for me may not necessarily work for you.  Every runners needs to experiment to see what works for them.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your go to energy items are.  I’d love to hear!


My Review Of Dry Goods Athletic Spray Powder

Dry Goods is one of those items that I had to try because of necessity.  I’m usually such a detailed packer (I make a pack list before every trip) but, forgot to pack my Body Glide before our trip to Key West in January for the race.  I hoped that I could get by without it. The first night we were on the road I ran the next morning on the treadmill.  We were in an unfamiliar area and I was running well before daylight.  No problem with chafing.  (No matter how many miles I run – my thighs always seem to find each other.) However, the next morning in 70 degree weather – another story.  I knew that there was going to be a problem.  Yep, the following morning on my run – yikes!  But, I wasn’t too worried – I figured that I could find some Body Glide at … {Continue Reading… }

My Review Of Run Gum

Run Gum is one of those products that I tried basically out of curiosity.  I had seen the ads on Facebook and really didn’t pay any attention to them.  Then, I was listening to The Runner’s Connect Podcast and Tina Muir was interviewing one of the co-founders of Run Gum, Nick Symmonds.  Nick is a pretty incredible runner and in addition to his other accomplishments is a 2 time Olympic team member. I was very interested in what Nick had to say about the variety of items that he and Tina talked about.  Then, they started talking about Run Gum and how it came about.  First of all, Nick has a biochemistry background and is an elite runner – so, he knows that the body needs to perform at optimal.  I’m not going to go into a lot of detail – but, you can read all about it at http://rungum.com. … {Continue Reading… }

3 Product Reviews Coming Up

As most of you know, I am a creature of habit.  I’m not thrilled about change – and I am totally an old school runner.  However, sometimes things happen that make me change up things that I do – or I just hear about something and want to try it myself. In the last few months, I’ve come across 3 products that I’ve become really excited about!  In the next few blog posts, I’ll share with you why I have come to love these and have incorporated them into my running. These products are Run Gum, Dry Goods Spray Powder and Protalus shoe insoles.  I only do product reviews when I like something – I guess it’s just a continuation of the positive me.  And, maybe because I always hear my mother saying, “if you can’t say anything nice……”.  Anyway, I do like all 3 of these products and I can’t … {Continue Reading… }

A Letter To My Younger Running Self

Dear Younger Self: Guess what!  Here I am 58 years old and still running.  I’ll bet that you never thought all those years ago that we’d still be out there every day pounding the pavement.  But, we sure are!  And, still have our running streak intact!  Who would have guessed?    In fact, you even ran a 30 mile run a couple of years ago on your 30 year streak anniversary. Remember how you used to run early in the morning – then gave it up and started running in the evenings after work?  Well, you’re back to running super early in the morning again.  You finally learned that your life is just too crazy to chance running later in the day.  But, you really enjoy getting up and running when the rest of the neighborhood is asleep.  Seriously, you do! And, remember how you used to run speed work … {Continue Reading… }

The One Thing That I Never Run Without

There is one thing that you will never see me heading out the door without.  A cap.  That’s it.  Pure and simple.  No matter if it’s a day with shorts, tights, etc., there will always be a cap on my head with my pony tail hanging out the back! In the 70’s and 80’s, my hair was short and I always wore some sort of sweat band on my head while I was running.  I needed something to try to curb the sweat that was always tried to roll into my eyes.  I had all different colors of sweat bands and bandannas.  (Don’t laugh, it was the 70’s and 80’s)   The first time that I wore a cap during a run was sometime in the late 80’s.  I was having to wear my glasses instead of contacts for a while because of an eye issue.  One day I was … {Continue Reading… }

Key West Half Marathon and 5K – Race Recap Plus

Another Key West vacation is over.  This is the 4th year in a row that we’ve traveled to Key West for the race.  I love the Keys and I love this race! As you know, I am big on destination races!  I believe that traveling to a race is a perfect excuse for a mini vacation.  Or in this case, our major vacation of the year.  (Having a Dairy Queen, winter vacations are best for us.  Which is fine – I get out of the cold!) We headed out a day earlier this year.  The weather for the day that we were planning on leaving was going to be cold and rainy early in the morning.  We have to travel over a mountain on Interstate 77 that gets kind of bad in those conditions.  So, we headed out the afternoon before to avoid any craziness. The first night we ended … {Continue Reading… }

Maybe It’s Smart – Maybe It’s Just Lazy

Happy New Year!  Are you ready for a super year?  I know that I am! Well, you know that I have been going to Key West for the last several years (this will be #4) and have planned a Florida race in January or February for as long as I can remember.  We leave Wednesday – and I can’t wait.  We had snow in Roanoke last night – and in Lewisburg at my Mom’s (where I am today).  The high today is supposed to be 15 and the low tonight 4.  Yes, I know I’m a wuss – but, I hate this weather.  So, I am REALLY looking forward to head south! Now, regarding the race.  Key West has a half marathon and a 5K.  If you remember, I’ve been talking about how I keep slipping (not running) and hurting my knee.  My knee is doing better and my chiropractor … {Continue Reading… }

2016 – Year In Review

Has 2016 been a super crazy year for everyone – or just me?  I’m never one to wish my life away – it moves too fast as it is.  However, I’m am ready to be done with 2016 and ready to rock 2017! January started out pretty good.  Scheduled trip to Key West for the Key West Half Marathon. This was the 3rd year that I’ve done this race.  I love it for many reasons.  One of which is – hey, it’s Key West in the middle of winter! Anyway, race morning came with tornado warnings and a major rain and wind storm at start time. After a rain/storm/tornado delay we got started.  The race was going pretty well for me until I pulled something in my butt.  Not going to sugar coat it – it was a pain in the butt!  But, I’ve never DNF’d and I certainly wasn’t … {Continue Reading… }

Time To Set Those Running Goals For 2017

Here we are in the last week of 2016.  Can you believe that?  This year has flown by!   This is the week of the year that people sit down and make their goals for the new year.  And, running is no different.  You need to have your goals written down that you hope to achieve.  Without goals you are just winging it.  Just like driving to a destination.  If you don’t have a road map with a place to go – you’ll never get there. Here are some tips to help you with your goals for the new year.  And, yes – it is important to WRITE THEM DOWN! Make Your Goal Specific. You want to be specific about your goal. It’s not enough to just say, “I want to run faster” or “I want to run farther”. A more specific goal is “I will lower my marathon time … {Continue Reading… }