Nutrition During Your Run
Nutrition with Becca Blumberg- Nutrition During Your Run
Learning to fuel during your run is an important part of training for a marathon (or any distance that requires caloric intake while running). Taking in adequate fuel provides your body with the carbohydrates it needs to stay energized and maintain glycogen (carbohydrate) stores filled to the brim for as long as possible to have access to them when they’re really needed. Let’s explore the best nutrition during your run.
Keeping your glycogen stores as high as possible also helps your body to recover and get ready faster for your next training session. Maintaining hydration is equally important. You should think about fueling on any run that will last 90 minutes or more. (Read Becca’s advice regarding hydration here!)
Rules for intake for Nutrition During Your Run
During these long efforts, your goal should be to take in 30-90 grams of carbohydrates for each hour you run. If your run is in the 90-120 minute range, you can stick for the lower end of this number. If it’s 3-4 hours or more, then you should aim for the higher amount of carbohydrates. You’ll also want to drink 16-32 ounces of fluid each hour. This fluid intake should consist of an endurance-specific electrolyte mix containing salt and carbohydrate. Many runners like to alternate sips of electrolyte mix with sips of plain water. Begin to fuel and hydrate about 30 minutes in and continue every 20-30 minutes while you run.
We typically think of carbohydrates in 15-gram “units.” This allows for adjustment within the 30-90 grams range. It also makes it easier for you to take one “unit” about every 20 minutes than to keep all those numbers in mind while trying to calculate other parameters during your run or race. A typical gel has 20-25 grams of carbs. Half a cup of potato or sweet potato, half a banana, or a date all have about 15 grams of carbs. One ounce of potato chips or ¾ ounce of pretzels or six Swedish Fish are also 15-gram “units.” There are many other “unit” possibilities and combinations, such as pancakes, bars, cookies, sports chews, and high-calorie sports drinks.
Keeping Track of Nutrition During Your Run – The Importance of Journaling
One of the most important aspects of training is to dial in your fueling plan. Start now! If you don’t have a (mental) list of tried-and-true fueling items yet, try out something new during your next long run. If it doesn’t work, that’s fine. Just try something else the next time. You can keep a journal to help you with keeping track of what works and what doesn’t. (Outside forces, like temperature, can also influence what works and what doesn’t! A certain brand of sports drink might do wonders for you in cold temperatures but send you right over the cliff when it gets hot.)
During a training run, note the circumstances and what, how much, and when you ate as well as your energy levels and any GI symptoms you noticed. This way, you can remember how a certain food affected you. The goal is to know what and when you’ll eat on race day. Also remember that every athlete is different. Some need more carbs, others less. Some benefit from a bit of fat and protein (think PB&J pieces or peanut M&Ms), others need just carbohydrates. Your body will be your best guide.
I have a great recipe for a yummy, nutritious during your run bar. Easy to make and can really help during your run. Here is my Recipe: Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
These oatmeal bars are a great grab-and-go breakfast option or an on-the-go snack. They can be packed up and enjoyed on a run, and they make for a great sweet treat. The berries, oats, and flour provide fiber to help satiate you and the walnuts add in healthy fats to keep you satisfied. Pair these bars with some Greek yogurt or a protein drink for a complete breakfast or for a filling post-run snack!
Crust and Crumble
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon whole wheat flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix butter, flour, oats, walnuts, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until just combined. Reserve 1 cup of mixture and spread the rest on the bottom of the baking dish.
- In a bowl, combine strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and flour. Toss to combine. Cover bottom crust with this strawberry mixture.
- Sprinkle reserved crumble mixture over the top.
- Bake for 50 minutes.
- Let sit for 10 minutes then slice.
About Becca Blumberg
Becca (she/her) is a registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) based in Fort Collins, CO. She has a Masters in Human Nutrition from Colorado State University and completed a dietetic internship in the Northern Colorado area focused on wellness & lifestyle medicine and is a certified intuitive eating counselor. She’s also a personal trainer and RRCA Level 1 Running Coach. She’s passionate about helping people achieve their endurance goals and seeing the ripple effect that this can create for them.
If you have any questions, are looking for general advice, or just want a nutritionist to have your back, check Becca out at https://www.facebook.com/Ripple.Nutrition or rippleenutrition.wixsite.com/ripplenutrition or reach out to her @ripple.nutrition on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.