Thursday, April 30, 2015

TOLT: My Favorite Fuel


Hello everyone!  How are you all doing?

Now that I'm deep into half marathon training, I decided to share what my favorite fuel is for running!  I have it broken down into pre-, during and post-run.   I have a really sensitive stomach, and can't handle much food before a running (especially a race) so you'll notice that section is particularly empty.  I'm still trying to experiment and figure out what will work, but so far I'm coming up empty!  If anyone has suggestions please leave it in the comments!

Also, I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursday!
Thinking-Out-Loud2

Before:

Bananas- Pretty much the only thing my stomach can handle before a run.  I typically have a banana about 2 hours before a race, and occasionally before a workout.  I've tried mixing bananas in smoothies with some coconut water and that also works well!

Water- I try to keep things simple and just sip on water constantly.  I used to only run after work, so I made sure to hydrate throughout the day.  I notice a huge difference in the quality of my workout if I drink water or not.  Now that I try to run before work, I make sure to have a glass of water as soon as I wake up.

Coffee- If I have a particularly tough workout, or a longer morning workout, I'll drink a tiny amount of coffee.  I can't drink too much or it bothers my stomach, but having about a half cup seems to help my performance.  There have been studies done on the effects of caffeine + running, and most signs point to the positives: mental alertness, improved mood, and boost in performance.  I make sure to drink mine black, and it helps a ton!

During:

Honey Stingers gel- I've tried many a gel in my day (aka in the past 4 years) and honey stingers work best for me.  I LOVE the taste of honey, and that's exactly what these taste like.  The consistency is also much thinner than typical gel, which makes it a lot easier to ingest, especially during a race.  I haven't tried these yet on super long runs, but so far so good!

Saltstick Caps- I talk about these all the time, but they are amazing!  I can tell a difference immediately when I take one of these during a race.  My legs don't feel as tired, I don't feel nauseous, and I can run faster!  These have been an absolute life saver for me.

Water- I've tried to take Gatorade during races, but it always ends up bothering my stomach.  I usually stick with just water at fluid stops.  For longer races (half marathon and up), I sometimes will take a cup of Gatorade and water towards the end of the race if I'm really struggling, and have about a 1:1 ration of Gatorade to water and it doesn't bother me as much.

After:

Nuun- I used to drink Gatorade after runs to re-hydrate, but I find Nuun to be much more refreshing and more satisfying.  Sometimes Gatorade or other sports drinks can taste too sweet or give me a stomach ache if I drink too much.  Nuun is much lighter and still has tons of electolytes and sodium, plus tastes a bit fizzy.  My favorite flavor is Grape..it's SO good!

Chocolate Milk- I love drinking chocolate milk after tough runs!  Not only is it a great recovery drink because it has a ratio of 4 grams carbs to 1 gram of protein (perfect balance to promote muscle recovery after endurance exercise), it's also delicious.  It's like having a reward after a challenging workout, but also helps you recover.  What could be better!

Tart Cherry Juice- After every run and workout, I drink a bit of tart cherry juice.  It helps to significantly reduce muscle soreness and pain.  It's actually amazing how well it works!  If you're interested in reading more about the science behind the juice, read this.  My favorite way to have it is blended with frozen mango and banana with chia seeds.  Refreshing and filling!

Coconut Water- During the summer, I absolutely LOVE to drink coconut water after running.  It's so refreshing and hydrating after sweating it out in the hot sun.  I would recommend trying Trader Joe's coconut water- it's the best tasting brand I've tried (and I've tried a lot!).  I also love using CW as a base for smoothies if I'm craving something with more substance!

What is your favorite fuel for running?

16 comments:

  1. Bananas are always perfect, especially in a pinch when you need something and don't want to mess with how you may feel after eating it when you run! I bring jelly beans in my pocket for long runs and races. I don't even know how well they work but I do like them, they don't bother my stomach and maybe they give me energy? Lol

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    1. I might have to try some! I'm obsessed with jelly beans so that might be something to look forward to on a run.

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  2. We have a lot of the same favorites! Honey stinger gels, coconut water, chocolate milk, water (not Gatorade!). I used to take margarita flavored shot bloks for long runs and am experimenting with adding them back into my training/racing. I find chewing and running difficult, but I like that this flavor has added salt.

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    1. Margarita gels are the best! So amazing :)

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  3. We have completely opposite favorites, though I don't ind a chocolatey proteiny beverage after, haha. I'm all about the sport beans and candy when I run. Before hand, simple carb + pb + banana (the only time I really ever eat them!). I will never do gu's though. not even going to go there!

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    1. I don't blame you...I wouldn't have them for a while because they hurt like crazy. Luckily honey stingers have worked so far!

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  4. I tried and tried gels but couldn't handle the consistency. Since I liked the Honey Stinger gels most, I went with their chews. I do know people who will use actual honey sticks during their races for fuel, but I haven't tried that yet. My luck I'd need scissors to open them up.

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    1. I will have to try their chews! I tried waffles as we. They're really good! Love all their products . I might also have to look into honey sticks.

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  5. Bananas and dates will probably always and forever be my go-tow before a hard workout. And while I'm not at the point yet where I run for long enough to worry about fuelling during my runs, I definitely don't mind a cold and refreshing smoothie afterwards!

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    1. I've heard good things about dates so I might have to give those a try soon!! I need new ideas so thanks for the suggestion :)

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  6. Bananas are probably my go to anytime I really need energy! And cliff Bars. I eat way too many of those.

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    1. Mmmm clif bars...I could go for one now!

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  7. Yes the Honey Stinger products are great - have you tried their waffles? Also - thank you for introducing us to SaltStick caps!

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    1. I have!!! They're so good. And I have to give credit to Jennifer from running on lentils for the saltstick caps!

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  8. I've tried so many gels and I always end up going back to GU. This made it really difficult to get by in Europe since GU is really hard to find. I can't remember if I've tried the Honey Stingers gel but I do LOVE their little chews. I used to take those on my long runs all the time. :)

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