Fueling Your Run

I’m slightly obsessed when it comes to food and running.  Not just food before or after a run, either…but fueling during and thinking the day before a long run, “how is this going to make me feel while I run tomorrow?”  I used to think about it a lot more than I do these days but I really need to get back to how I used to fuel my body.  I used to have so many healthy things in the fridge and pantry, and I still do, but it’s just easier to reach for the not-so-healthy stuff.

I have some races coming up in October.  I’ll be doing the Perfect 10 Miler; a race for women that I’m pretty excited about because, like Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, a large number of women from Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club will be running it.  The week after, I will be doing the Hershey Half Marathon.

With two more big races coming up very soon, I’ve been trying to get back to eating healthy and trying out different fueling techniques while I run.  When I started training for my first half marathon at the beginning of January, I read a ton of articles on nutrition and different ways to fuel your body during a long run.  I found things that worked well but I don’t know that I ever found the one perfect thing for me.

I started out using Clif Shot Bloks.  They were very tasty but big and sticky and hard to deal with while running.  I tried some different gels but my taste buds were shocked by the salty flavor…and my stomach didn’t like them much, either.  Don’t remember exactly which ones I got but they were gross.  Then, I started using Honey Stinger pink lemonade chews.  YUM!  They are smaller than the Clif Shot Bloks, a little less sticky and so yummy.  They worked very well for me!

My BRF had also given me one of her Clif Shot Energy Gels in mocha (+ caffeine).  I was nervous to try it because I hadn’t liked other gels and I wasn’t sure how my stomach would do with the caffeine.  I enjoyed it very much and it worked very well and this was now my go-to fuel.  That is, until I started training for Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, my second half.  What had been working for me for quite some time was now upsetting my stomach so it was back to the Honey Stinger chews.  I wasn’t too upset because these things are delicious.  It’s like eating candy while I run!  I also branched out to a new flavor.  Their pomegranate chews are very yummy, as well.

I’m not completely satisfied though.  I’m always looking for that product to make my runs feel a bit better.  One of the girls in the running club recently started working with Shaklee.  I had heard about them a tiny bit from the president of our running club because she uses some of their products but I hadn’t really checked them out.  Kim starting her business with them was the push I needed to finally look into them more and try some products.  I ordered the Energy chews and Performance sports drink in orange.

I waited anxiously for my opportunity to try the products out for a run!  That opportunity came when I was running the Cape May Winery 5K put on by Good Day for a Run.  I brought two Energy chews along with me, intending to eat them both 20 minutes before the race.  I got caught up in all of the excitement of race morning though and I forgot to eat them.

It turned out o.k., though.  I started out way too fast and after the first mile, I felt like I didn’t have much left in me and I thought I might need to walk some.  I was disappointed because I had yet to do a 5K in under 30 minutes and I wanted this to be the one!  Then, I remembered I had the chews so I decided to eat one.  After pushing through the next mile, I felt like the chew really kicked in and gave me the boost I needed to finish the last mile of the race…under 30 minutes…28:22!!!

The sky on the way to the vineyard. Running has really made me appreciate nature's beauty more!

The sky on the way to the vineyard. Running has really made me appreciate nature’s beauty more!

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Smile of a girl who finally ran a 5K under 30 min. :)

Smile of a girl who finally ran a 5K under 30 min. 🙂

I needed fuel after my PR ;)

I needed fuel after my PR 😉

The Tuesday following the 5K, I was running in the morning with my BRF.  I was tired and didn’t know if I even wanted to go.  I ate two chews, and by the time we were off and running, I felt more energized!  I have since also used them on a 10 mile run.  I ate one about 15 minutes before the run and one halfway through.  I also brought along the Performance sports drink on this run.  Ten miles was tough because it had been awhile since I had run 10 straight miles and I probably could have used one more chew but I am happy with the way the two products are working for me!  They don’t upset my stomach, they taste great and they seem to be doing what they are meant to do.

What are some ways that you fuel before or during a run/race?

If you missed my recap of Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, check it out here!

A Little of This…a Little of That

One of my other passions, besides running, is cooking (or baking).  I used to be big on following recipes and, of course, there are still several things I make that I still follow the recipe.  Why mess with delicious?  If I’m baking, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’m following a recipe!  These days, though, when I’m cooking dinner I often find myself adding a little of this and a little of that.  I have also found myself doing it with a lot of my smoothies and some tasty breakfasts have come out of me just throwing some stuff together.  Do things always work out well with this method?  No.  Rarely have I thrown something out because it’s been too awful to get down though…I don’t like to throw food away!

I wanted to share some of my recipes with you.  Smoothies are a good breakfast or lunch (or a snack if you don’t make them too big).  The rest are all breakfast ideas but that’s when I’m most willing to make myself something mostly healthy and filling because it’s usually after a run and I’m hungry and want to refuel well.  I try to eat healthy throughout the day but breakfast is really important for me and gets me started off right 🙂

Now, keep in mind, “a little of this…a little of that”.  I don’t always measure everything but I will give you a guide and you can play around with things.  I may like things sweeter than you or I might be more keen on a certain fruit or vegetable so I add more than maybe you would like.  Experiment.  You’ll learn what works for you 🙂

Apple Pie Smoothie

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  • 1 c almond-coconut milk (Almond Breeze makes this combo and it’s really good…you can use regular milk or milk of choice)
  • 1/3 c Friendship no salt added cottage cheese – This is important!  Even reduced sodium cottage cheese is on the salty side
  • 1 T organic pure maple syrup
  • A few big dashes cinnamon
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract (I make my own)
  • 1/3 c old fashioned oats
  • Handful of kale (or baby spinach)
  • One small apple

Blend it up in your blender (I use a NutriBullet).

 

Banana Berry Oat Smoothie

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  • 1 c almond-coconut milk
  • 1/3 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 c Friendship no salt added cottage cheese
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c frozen raspberries
  • small frozen banana (or half med. – large)
  • 1 T (give or take) agave

I tend to use cottage cheese as my protein source in a lot of my smoothies these days.  If I have had a particularly hard workout or long run, though, I will use a scoop of protein powder.

 

Multigrain Waffle with Cottage Cheese and Berries (this isn’t really a recipe…just a yummy breakfast)

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  • 1 or 2 multigrain waffles
  • some heaping spoonfuls of cottage cheese
  • fruit of choice
  • some granola if you’d like
  • drizzle of pure maple syrup

 

Overnight Refrigerator Oats

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  • 1/4 c old-fashioned oats (not quick)
  • 1/3 c milk of choice (I use Almond Breeze almond-coconut)
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 – 1 T agave or pure maple syrup
  • mix-ins

In a resealable jar or other container, mix together the oats and chia seeds. I like to stir these two ingredients before adding others because I find that the chia seeds clump together a lot if I don’t.  At this point, I add in dried goji berries. If you are going to add fresh fruit, wait until you are ready to eat the refrigerator oats before adding (some good ones would be blueberries, banana, strawberries, etc.).  Add in agave or pure maple syrup, milk of choice and stir.  Put the lid on (I like to give it a little shake at this point, too) and place in the fridge overnight…breakfast is ready for you in the morning 🙂  I stir in a big spoonful of almond butter before eating, too.  You may also need to add a little bit of your milk before eating.  There are many recipes for overnight refrigerator oats on Pinterest but I have found that this works best for me.

This is a handful of my faves!  What are some of your favorite healthy recipes?