Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fueling, Recovering

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.


5thsister said...

It would be cool if I could ever get to the point to heed the nutrition advice beyond a 5K.

Oh, and thank you for your kind comments on my blog the other day. Mr. Sister was impressed that I met his challenge.

Willoughby said...

I could easily live on pasta. I just had some for lunch, in fact. Maybe, deep down, there's a runner inside of me waiting to get out!

I'm still dealing with a foot problem, but I'm hoping to start walking on the treadmill soon. If all goes well, I might (emphasis on might) give running a shot. I'll be hitting you up for some beginner tips when I get to that point.

Raoulysgirl said...

If I do the "mommy dash" enough times during the day to EQUAL a marathon, can I still eat pasta??? I honestly don't know how you do it all. Write, blog, cook, daddy, hubby, Disneyland, library, you sleep?

L.B. said...

Ha! I do sleep, but I should sleep more. I write for a living and sometimes, as strange as it sounds, I like to take a break from writing by writing.

But yeah, it's kind of a juggling act. Honestly I think I have like ADD or something and I need to have a lot of things going on so I can maintain my focus. That's why just the thought of a desk job bores the hell out of me. I have to know that I have one thing going on but have other things I have to get to in order to function properly.

That's why cooking and baking appeals to me, because there are so many steps involved and you have to stay on your toes and gotta heat the oil, cut the veggies, cut the meat up, saute the meat, the veggies, oh yeah don't forget to start the rice, and heat up the skillet for some tortillas, dont forget to add the salt and pepper, okay put the heat on low now, time to set the table, what are the girls going to drink, waters all around, okay, rice is done - TIME FOR DINNER!!!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I'm just impressed that you cook; if I could get Felix to cook any meal ever, I would probably die of shock.

Holly said...

You have great advice. Maybe my incentive to take up running would be the pasta (guilt-free)?

Angie Eats Peace said...

After marathons, and even halves, I eat like crazy. I should probably be a little more scientific about, and ensure I got a balance of carbs/proteins/fats, but, I am way too famished by that point and just shove things in my mouth.

Gawd, I didnt realize how soon Mission Inn is! I need to hurry up and register.