What to eat? What to eat? What to eat?
That's something I often ponder. Not just in the day-to-day grind (I handle all cooking/baking duties around here as I relieved Mrs. LB of said duties a couple of years ago) but when it comes to running.
In terms of a pre-run meal, I have stuck with routine for a while now, a routine I'd settled on and was reinforced by my Lopers pace leader - an energy bar and a 16-ounce bottle of water. That works and has worked well for some time, but I have a fear that it won't be enough when it comes to the longer runs, like this weekend's 14-mile run.
I take Gu and Gatorade with me on my runs and do well to load up on them during my runs but I sense that whatever calories I have in me from the energy bar will be gone well before my run is over.
So I was glad when The Other Mag had a story on the topic of fuel. Actually, the story breaks down what is recommended before and after runs of various distances, from a 5-K to a marathon. The story actually suggests what to eat before and after races, not just regular runs, but it's still good to have that knowledge so I can apply some of that towards my own training regimen.
Their (paraphrased) suggestions:
Before: Don't eat if you're not hungry, but if you are have something between 200-300 high-carb calories and 16 ounces of fluid. They recommend a slice of whole-wheat bread with jelly and a banana.
After: A light meal with some carbs about 30-60 minutes after finishing. However, it isn't vital to get something in your system to recover since you probably won't have depleted your glycogen reserves too much.
LB's thoughts: If I ran a 5-K, I'd probably have my energy bar and water meal before, and after I might have some fruit or something, but I wouldn't be too worried about trying to recover. When I run for three miles or 30 minutes or so, I don't really do much but eat fruit and drink water afterward.
Before: Small amount of protein and fat along with carbs, about 300-400 hours at least three hours before race time. They suggest a cup of oatmeal with honey and berries.
After: Eat something within the hour, preferably a meal of 400 calories, with 75 grams of carbs and 20 grams protein. Suggestion: turkey sandwich with a cup of fruit salad.
LB's thoughts: I'm running a 10-K on Nov. 8, so this is something I need to take to heart. The 300-400 calories before the race will be a bit tricky for me , but then again maybe it won't be. I like to eat about an hour before race time usually, and did so prior to each Ragnar leg. I ate my bar and drank my water about an hour before I ran, and it worked well. Eating three hours before race time may not be ideal for me, though, because I might be hungry during the race. Still, I might try it and allow myself a small piece of fruit about an hour or 30 minutes before race time.
Before: Four hours before, eat 400-800 calories to keep your blood sugar steady. They suggest two slices of French toast with some peanut butter and syrup, a pear, half a cup of yogurt and fluids.
After: 100 grams of carbs and 30 grams of protein within the hour. Pasta with meat sauce, steamed veggies, salad and whole-grain bread with olive oil.
LB's thoughts: I like the post-race meal suggestion! That sounds fantastic, like it would be worth running 13.1 miles to have that as a meal waiting for you. This is probably the kind of meal, though, that I should be targeting now that I'm running the distances I'm running. I have a feeling that I'm going to be making a lot of pasta in the coming months. And as for meat sauce, I make two kinds of meat sauces (stuff I came up with on my own) that Mrs. LB really likes, so I can definitely whip some of it up. It's just a matter of making the marinara sauce and having the ingredients. Yay for long-distance running! Eat all the pasta you can and not feel guilty about it!
Before: Consume 800 calories over 4-5 hours before the race, with a sports drink in the last hour. They suggest a large bagel with almond butter, 1-2 eggs, a cup of apple slices and an energy bar.
After: Eat 100 grams of carbs within the first 30 minutes of finishing the race, and also 1-2 hours later. They suggest two cups of sports drink, banana, energy bar; then two cups of fruit salad, whole-wheat chicken sandwich with greens, frozen yogurt with berries.
LB's thoughts: Sounds like a lot of food, but I'm not complaining.