How should I refuel mid-long run when I've always relied on GU?


PeytonsMom

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Well, after two weeks of doing well on the Whole30, I completely derailed on Saturday during my marathon training long run. The group I am in sets up water stops which also include sugary refuel snacks (aka gummy bears and Swedish fish)..I was in need of a refuel so I think I consumed my weight in Swedish Fish (well, at least a handful of them)..that plus I did eat some sport beans and a GU. Needless to say, that plus a couple BBQs I attended...I went off the Whole30 path. I did not binge at all, but I did eat wheat, corn, dairy..  ugh. Restarting fresh today! But now, I am still wondering what to do at those water stops during my Saturday long runs. GU or sport beans have been what gets me through them, and I am a little leary about swapping them out for dates/figs/dried fruit (the fiber might make my GI system go wacky). Are there absolutely any sports gels/chews that are acceptable? Honey stinger? (I know, it's added sweetener, natural, yet still a sweetener). I contemplated organic baby food pouches, but they are kind of large/bulky to carry in my belt. I don't want to fall off the wagon again when the Swedish Fish look so tempting lol...and I have a whole box of GU that I'd hate to waste...

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A Whole30 is a 30 day experiment. Your box of GU will still be usable in a month. None of the neat, packaged stuff is okay during a Whole30.

 

I was a marathoner back before gels existed. I can't remember the name of the first packaged runner food that came out, but I bought them by the box and ate them during long runs. After awhile, I noticed that I got an upset stomach every time I ate most flavors and I eventually stopped using them at all. I started carrying a simple banana and would eat a bite or two every once in a while. After carrying a partially eaten banana in my fanny pack for 10-15 miles, I was eating bruised, dark banana as I reached 20 miles, but it did the trick. I set my marathon PR in a race where all I ate during the race was two bananas. 

 

You might experiment with carrying coconut water. That might be sweet enough to support you on long runs without any additional food. 

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Dried fruit can be hard on a GI tract...particularly when running.  Lots of people have issues with it.

 

I like using fresh grapes and/or cherries.  De-stem/pit them, wash them and put them in a snack baggie.  Then you can grab one or two as needed and they don't mush up as much as bananas.

 

That said, once I was past week 3 of my whole 30, I stopped needing fuel for most runs so you may find you don't need to carry as much.  I'm only a half-marathoner, so my runs are as long, but I would bet that once you are fat-adapted, you can get away with eating a whole lot less on those longer runs.

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I use the sweet potato baby food squeeze packets during whole30s. Check the ingredients. You can also make your own blend with a little coconut milk.

 

Right now, you're a sugar burner. Soon, if you eat according to the Whole30 template and stay away from snacking, you'll be fat adapted. You'll shake your head at friends who suck down Gu every 45 minutes. You'll go 2 hours without needing a hit, and you'll almost forget you have a stomach - no sloshing, no bloating, no nausea.

 

Keep in mind, your runs will be subpar for 2-3 weeks until your body changes over to fat burning. You may adapt more quickly. But there's no rushing it, so give yourself permission to take it very easy until it happens.

 

If you want to read the particulars of my journey, it's all in my blog (link below).

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I did some experimenting on Saturday, which was Day 7 of my Whole and a planned 18 mile run (I made it 17.5 miles and I was DONE.  I allowed myself a little grace - it is, after all, the first week of my Whole.  But I was so totally done).  Anyway, this is what I fueled with on the run:

 

Pre-run:  I nuked about a half a diced sweet potato.  I leave for my run at 5a.m. and it really is hard for me to eat much that early.

 

On the run:

3 dates.  I love these.

1 squeezy pack of organic baby food (like a mango/sweet potato blend).  I actually really liked the taste and consistency, but the mango was a little acidy feeling.  I'll run with baby food again but not something so acidic. I  ate that around mile 7.

1/2 of a larabar

Coconut water

 

The Larabar was my emergency fuel - I wasn't sure how much energy I'd need and I was afraid of just dying out there.  I ended up eating half and that was just fine.

 

I have a 14 mile run plus a Crossfit charity WOD scheduled for this Saturday.  My plan is to use the dates, a different flavor of the baby food, coconut water, and an emergency larabar in case I feel like I need a little more.

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I did some experimenting on Saturday, which was Day 7 of my Whole and a planned 18 mile run (I made it 17.5 miles and I was DONE.  I allowed myself a little grace - it is, after all, the first week of my Whole.  But I was so totally done).  Anyway, this is what I fueled with on the run:

 

Pre-run:  I nuked about a half a diced sweet potato.  I leave for my run at 5a.m. and it really is hard for me to eat much that early.

 

On the run:

3 dates.  I love these.

1 squeezy pack of organic baby food (like a mango/sweet potato blend).  I actually really liked the taste and consistency, but the mango was a little acidy feeling.  I'll run with baby food again but not something so acidic. I  ate that around mile 7.

1/2 of a larabar

Coconut water

 

The Larabar was my emergency fuel - I wasn't sure how much energy I'd need and I was afraid of just dying out there.  I ended up eating half and that was just fine.

 

I have a 14 mile run plus a Crossfit charity WOD scheduled for this Saturday.  My plan is to use the dates, a different flavor of the baby food, coconut water, and an emergency larabar in case I feel like I need a little more.

 

Jennifer,

   per the Meal Template, the optimal way to fuel before a workout is protein and/or fat. You are not fueling your run with your PreWO meal, simply signalling the body activity is to come. Try a hard boiled egg or if that isn't appealing you could have a couple of spoonfuls of coconut butter or nut butter.

  Your mid-run fueling sounds fine. Soon you'll find you won't need even half that much, once your body starts burning fat as fuel. Hang in there!

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Those suggestions sound terrific...I tried bringing non-sugar sweetened raisins last Saturday during a 11 miler and yet, I still succumbed to the damn Swedish fish and gummy bears at the water stops. (which led to a lunchtime slice of flourless cake). I'll try the dates/baby food/larabar suggestion..I bought a larger waistpack so that should be big enough to carry those larger items.

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Jennifer,

   per the Meal Template, the optimal way to fuel before a workout is protein and/or fat. You are not fueling your run with your PreWO meal, simply signalling the body activity is to come. Try a hard boiled egg or if that isn't appealing you could have a couple of spoonfuls of coconut butter or nut butter.

  Your mid-run fueling sounds fine. Soon you'll find you won't need even half that much, once your body starts burning fat as fuel. Hang in there!

I have to really, really be in the mood to stomach a hard boiled egg, so that won't work for me.  But some nut butter totally would. Good advice!

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Jennifer,

   per the Meal Template, the optimal way to fuel before a workout is protein and/or fat. You are not fueling your run with your PreWO meal, simply signalling the body activity is to come. Try a hard boiled egg or if that isn't appealing you could have a couple of spoonfuls of coconut butter or nut butter.

  Your mid-run fueling sounds fine. Soon you'll find you won't need even half that much, once your body starts burning fat as fuel. Hang in there!

 Long run day again today, and you were spot-on.  I had a spoonful of nut butter before I went out (which was more difficult than I expected - was a little gluey  ;) ).  I felt strong and needed no additional nutrition until about mile six.  Usually if I run without any food in the tank I'm going for a Gu by mile 4.  Ultimately I had a packet of baby food (banana and blueberry - perfect) and three dates for the whole run and never felt like I needed more.

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We just finished a half iron man and the book that made a huge difference for us during training was Feed Zone Portables.  The baked eggs section would be the only one that is Whole30 compliant.  But it made a huge difference for me in terms of training and eating during the long rides and runs.  

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Those suggestions sound terrific...I tried bringing non-sugar sweetened raisins last Saturday during a 11 miler and yet, I still succumbed to the damn Swedish fish and gummy bears at the water stops. (which led to a lunchtime slice of flourless cake). I'll try the dates/baby food/larabar suggestion..I bought a larger waistpack so that should be big enough to carry those larger items.

 

This might just be a willpower issue more than a refuel issue. Just say no to swedish fish and gummy bears. If it helps study the ingredient list of these food like substances carefully. You are training for a marathon do you really want that garbage in your system?

 

You can do this!

 

I did half marathon training during my first whole30 and I never needed more than some coconut water on my long run days and during my races and that was mostly for extra hydration as it was summer.

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I carry a large fanny pouch so I can carry larabars and dried fruit including dates.  We also have grapes and oranges at SAGs.

 

I just started Whole30 but have been eating pretty much this way for a while, so I'm hoping not to have that total loss of energy that I experienced last summer.

 

Thanks for all the responses - I am now armed and ready.

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