The first time I went for a 10 mile run, it was supposed to be an 8 mile run, but I got lost – needless to say, it wasn’t the way I had planned to run 10 miles for the first time. The next real long run I did was actually planned, and it was 12 miles. Rookie move, I treated it the same way you would treat a 4 mile run – as far as fueling was concerned. By mile 10 I was pretty tired, but mostly THIRSTY. OMG so thirsty! Why were there no water fountains? It seemed I had seen them on this route before, but in my time of need, they had mysteriously vanished.
Being dramatic, I know. But still – I wished I’d had water, and an extra Gu pack. I had always been a runner, and I’ve always run on a completely empty stomach. The steepest part of my learning curve for running long distances has been fueling – before, during and after.
I’m still no expert, but now I have a pretty good plan of what I put in my pockets or fuel belt. Additionally, what I put in my car to have right after.
Before: Right when I wake up for a long run, I drink Beet Elite. Beets are loaded with Nitric Oxide, which is great for circulation, endurance, and overall heart health. I also eat a banana at this time too. I know what you are thinking, “beets and bananas – yum! Better than chocolate!” No? Me either. Means to an end, people. My goal when training for the marathon is to be able to eat more. Maybe oatmeal and banana, or peanut butter and toast, ect. I’m working on it.
During: If I am doing a fueling simulation run, I take a Gu packet for every hour I’m running. I don’t always eat during runs, you can read the reasoning behind that in The New Rules of Marathon & Half Marathon Nutrition (by Matt Fitzgerald). Its a great book and really helped me gain a better understanding of fueling my system for what I’m putting it through. My favorite flavors of Gu are Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter – and definitely the ones with caffeine.
I also keep the following in my pockets: emergency contact list (I write a couple phone emergency phone numbers & how they are related to me), ID, credit card and twenty bucks. Knock on wood, I’ve never needed these things, but I’m hoping if by carrying them around, I never will. Murphy’s Law and all that.
I don’t really like Gatorade, too syrupy and sweet. I like Nuun energy to wash down the Gu.
After: Immediately after the run, I like to drink tart cherry juice and eat a Picky Bar (my fav is Lauren’s Mega Nuts). Tart cherries are really good for inflammation. Picky bars are the perfect 4:1 carb to protein ratio for refueling. I’m directly copying Lauren Fleshman here because she is a badass. It doesn’t hurt that the juice and Picky bars are delicious.
After I go right home and ice. I wish I would have started icing sooner in my life. Live and learn, I guess. This is closely followed by stretching, foam rolling, showering, and eating again.
Fuel belt is the brand I like best for belts. I have a coupe different models.