Fueling for the Long Haul

When I first started to run, I would simply put on my running shoes, clip on my iPod nano and take off. Since then, I have purchased numerous pairs of running shoes, broke my iPod (surprisingly does not survive -10 degree snow storms), and have started wearing a hat (need to protect from the strong sun rays). Most importantly, I have learned to focus on proper nutrition for my runs- short or long!

Eating too soon before your run can be one of the biggest mistakes you make. The digestive system’s distress can keep you from feeling your best. Nobody needs cramping, emergency bathroom stops, or sloshing of the stomach. If it is a short, easy run have some juice, toast, or a small granola bar before you head out. If you are going out for a long run then you will need to pre-plan a little more. Try to consume up to 1 g of carbohydrates per pound about 1.5-2 hours before your run. This will allow your body to fill its glycogen stores in the liver and muscles to keep you energized and not to burn out halfway through! For example, a 150 lb person should consume 130-150 grams of carbohydrates 1.5 – 2 hours before their run. Here are some examples of what this 130-150 grams of carbs looks like:

  • 2 slices of toast, 1 tsp. peanut butter, and 1 tsp. of jam
  • smoothie with almond milk yogurt, and fruit
  • eggo waffles with peanut butter and jam

In general, when you run longer than 75-90 minutes, you will need to consume around 30-60 grams of extra carbohydrates. This could be done by carrying a hydration belt filled with sports drink.

If eating before your early morning long runs upset you, try having a snack before you go to bed!

After your run, you have an hour to start refilling your glycogen sources and rebuild the damage to the muscle fibers. By including carbohydrate intake immediately after your run you prevent glycogen depletion and speed up recovery! (Yay!) This can be done by having your meal in the ratio of 4 grams of carbohydrates: 1 gram of protein! This should be easily digested carbohydrates to be utilized ASAP!

Examples of 4:1 are:

  • chocolate milk
  • recovery drinks
  • yogurt and fruit
  • toast with peanut butter
  • trail mix
  • sports bar

All these are to hold you over until your next meal! But if your schedule allows you to eat right away- then do so! Include a meal with whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean protein! Not only will your body thank you, but also your next workout!

-Abbie! (AKA: Cinnamon)

P.S.: Some also great tips are:

  1. Don’t forget about hydration. Try drinking around 8 oz every hour. If you are going to the bathroom to urinate at least four full bladders every day, you are probably properly hydrated!
  2. Bring a friend- going after your runs alone can be hard. I always bring @kaitlynsummers14 (AKA: Ginger) on my runs to vent, talk about new nutrition evidence, or really anything on our minds!
  3. IMG_0185.jpg
  4. Stretch! This is something I forget to do, and please learn from me! Nobody needs a tight IT band, sore hips, or hard as rock calves. Stretch in the morning for some stress relief but most importantly stretch after your runs! Some stretches I like to do can be find here.
  5. These are Abbie’s Favorite things for running


2 Comments Add yours

  1. kaitlynsummers14 says:

    This picture was post 9-miler in -3 degrees with 15mph winds -which is why I am making this face. haha. Hoping for warm weather soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pepper says:

    Great advice, Abbie! Thank you!!!!!


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