Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Milk And Gels

I was thumbing through my Runner's World magazine recently and came across some pretty interesting tips. There are always tips in there, great tips and advice from reliable sources... and then there are other bits of info that I dismiss as quickly as I read it.

These caught my eye, though, so much so that I've just tried one out and may try another one in my next race.

Chocolate Milk

Okay, this isn't new. In fact, I've tried this before. But maybe it's just a thing where you hear about something so many times that eventually it makes sense and you start believing. According to a study, after a 45-minute run some test subjects were given either fat-free chocolate milk or a carb-recovery drink with the same amount of calories. After three hours, the milk-drinkers had lower markers of muscle protein breakdown, which means better recovery over the other drinks.

The mag recommends a glass of low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk after runs of 45 minutes or longer, which for me is essentially every time out; well, 8 out of 10 runs probably.

I ran Thursday morning and happened to park near a grocery store. I ran for an hour and then just went into the store for a quick trip (yet still managed to dole out 27 dollars and came out with three big bags of groceries, how the heck did that happen?) and grabbed some chocolate milk. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that it has quite a few calories. The bottle I got had 300, although I didn't see how many ounces it was. It was either 16 or 20 ounces. Usually I will have a piece of fruit or two after a run and that's maybe 150 calories, less than 200 for sure, so you have to account for the calories. But still, the advantages seem plenty.

More Carbs To Improve Performance

This one is intriguing. This study centered on triathletes and cyclists who rode for two hours while consuming different amounts of carbs. Afterward they raced a 20K time trial. The ones who had the most carbs had the faster times. How many carbs? Per hour, 60-80 grams of carbs, as opposed to 30-60 per hour which is apparently the figure recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.

The mag recommends 8-16 ounces of sports drink and two sports gel per hour on long runs.

Interesting. If I use this during the Long Beach Half Marathon, it would mean four GU packets instead of two like I'd planned, and I would probably need two full bottles of Gatorade on my fuel belt. I'd have to GU at 25 min., 50 min., 1 hr 20 min. and 1 hr 40 min. That's a lot of GU! Each packet has 25g of carbs, so two packets is 50g (you like my math skills) and the 8-16 ounces of sports drink would make up for the rest of the carbs.

I might just try this. Seems kinda strange to eat that much GU but then again, the science behind it makes sense.


Jacqi said...

Did the article specify why it had to be chocolate and not just plain fat-free milk?

Regarding the carbs/gus during runs, I rarely use any. I'm just not at that level. I pretty much run for my health and enjoyment (sometimes) and I'm not interested in eating the calories I'm trying to burn off while running. Which is probably why the half-marathon distance will be my limit. :)

Katie A. said...

I know the choco milk thing is a good idea and good recovery - but I cannot stand to drink milk! I'm weird - I can have it on my cereal, but put it in a glass, even with choco, and I gag!
You should try the Nestle Quick mix - my hubbs uses that. It's low cal and lower sugar. You can get a big giant can of it at Costco pretty cheap.

I cannot Gu - my stomach hates it. I also would never be able to get down that much food for a half or even two hour run. I think though, over time, your body learns what it needs and you tune in to it. This maybe the magic formula for you - and that's how it works - trial and error. I would try the four Gu's, and if after 3 you're done, call it quits. Neat experiment either way!

Oh, and one more thing, I can NEVER get out of the grocery store for less than $20 or $25 - ha! Even when I go in for ONE thing! LOL!

Kerrie T. said...

After my first half, I was so dizzy I was pretty sure I was about to faint. I downed some chocolate milk and voila! All better. I saw those tips, too. I am curious how the carb one works out.

Jill said...

Interesting on the carb thingie. I rarely take anything in a half, except for some water and MAYBE a sport drink once or twice. Seems like a lot of GU. I can't take GU brand, but I do like the Hammer brand gels. Hum...maybe need to do some experimenting this fall :). Thanks for the info...and yeah, I'm the same way at the grocery store. :P

Whitney said...

Chocolate milk is a wonder! My husband has learned to meet me at the finish line with it. :)

tahoegirl said...

I totally have been doing the chocolate milk thing after weight training. I feel weak without it. Wow, that is a lot of GU. Cali here I come, albeit only for the weekend :o(