Fueling long distance running- HANGRY!


MerAnne

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I have a question regarding fueling for long distance runners...

This is my first Whole30, and my goal is to get away from processed protein and fuel (*previous quest bar addict here) and reset my body. My typical day consists of a morning run between 5-9 miles at 4:30 AM (fasted) with varying degrees of intensity (at least 2 days a week are high intensity speed training) and either weight training/bikram yoga in the afternoon. Once a week I have a long run 14-20 miles. I eat breakfast immediately post run (typically and elk burger, 1/2 a sweet potato and broccoli or spinach).

The issue is I am starving by 11am and have been having an epic bar almost every day (I know no snacks, but I'm dizzy by this point).

I work full time and have two toddlers so lunch is whatever leftover meat I have and salad or veggies. I don't have a lunch break so this is typically a fairly small meal.

Again, by 3:00pm I'm starving and eat a pre-workout snack of tuna, chicken and veggies.

Post afternoon training is dinner, which is normally elk, antelope or chicken with sweet potato and assorted veggies in coconut oil.

After I've put the toddlers to bed by 8, I'm starving again and seriously craving a banana and with raw almond butter. Because I'm doing a fasted run in the morning is it ok to eat at night? I feel like I can't sleep I'm so hungry.

I feel like my stomach can't handle any more food at "meal" times but I know I'm calorie deficient. As a distance runner I'm fairly lean (avg about 13%bf in training) and don't want to lose any weight that would compromise my health, lead to injury etc.

So is it ok to add snacks that are Whole30 compliant?!

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The whole30 has recommendations for how to compose your meals and also how to fuel your workouts. I would first suggest trying those for a few days (or more!) to see if they can work for you.

 

Prior to your run, eat a few bites of protein and fat. afterwards, eat some lean protein and starchy veggies. Don't let this replace breakfast. Have breakfast too, and lunch and dinner. If you do this I think you will have less need for snacks. If you still feel hungry, try eating more at meals. Giving your body a break to digest is important. It is worth it to try to eat more at meals and skip snacking, but it might take a little while to get the hang of it. Until you do, go ahead and eat something, ideally the same sorts of things you eat at meals (protein, veggies and fat).

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Thank you, the times I "snack" are typically pre-workout, and I think I just have to get used to eating two meals at night. One post workout, and then actually dinner. Because if I just do dinner after a workout I'm shakey and hungry before bed. Feeling super nauseated during runs, and obviously slower... But I think that will take a few weeks to even out.

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I'm only on day 5 but this is what I've learned so far:

1) My eating patterns and caloric intake before beginning Whole30 were incredibly disordered and I was lacking a significant amount of nutrients. I was blaming a busy life for eating sporadically throughout the day and then carbing up at night because my body was starving. Instead of fueling it with nutritionally dense foods I was eating simple "feel good" options like: Quest Bars, Vega Protein shakes, GF granola with almond milk, hummus and quinoa pasta. I wasn't getting any real food or good fats in.

2) I was totally reliant on quick fake fuel for workouts (clif bars, quest bars *recovering quest addict here*, Toast with PB etc)-- none of these served my gut well. Or my endurance

3) it's going to take my body some time to rehabilitate and start operating off of protein and fat. My runs are probably going to suck for the next two weeks, my legs feel like I'm running through mud. My mileage is going to decrease before it increases again, and I'm OK with that (I don't have any big races coming up until Dec)

4) My anxiety is gone

5) I've had horrible hormonal imbalances for the last year (TMI but I have been spotting EVERY SINGLE DAY for a year without actually having a normal cycle)--- 5 days in and I haven't bled in 2 days!!

6) I'm sleeping about 9 hours a night. Which is a ton for me. I normally sleep about 6.

7) I was incredibly out of tune with my body and what a real meal consisted of. I've had a fear of being "full" for years, and being ok, recognizing that fullness, accepting it as good for me is a challenge, but I'm up for it.

8) My yoga practice is stronger. Running may be weaker but my hot yoga practice is strong and meditative. We have intermediate and advanced

bikram classes and my arm balances and overall strength in the yoga room has increased

9) My husband loves the fridge stocked with homemade real food

10) Super excited to see what this can do for my life in 30 days!

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Hi MerAnne, I am so happy to see this 10 item list about your thoughts so far!  Really nice to read!  Good for you in making some big mental shifts already, you should be really proud of yourself!

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Thank you ladyshanny! This morning I had three people tell me, wow you look like you've put on a lb or two of muscle, you look so much healthier. I have to be OK with yes, I am probably going to gain weight and that is OK and healthy, especially if it heals my hormones and I stop getting sick and/or injured.

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Hi MerAnne,

I have just completed my Whole30. This Saturday I will run my first race, a mountain marathon, fueled only with whole foods. I have completely changed my eating habits from pre Whole30. During the first couple weeks I felt very sluggish during my runs, and it took me a while to believe that the suggested meal plans and fueling without sports products could work. But then things changed, and I felt more energetic, satisfied and with a more positive attitude. I am still experimenting with the right amount of fueling during and prior to the long runs. I think that will take several adjustments, just at my nutrition plan with the gels, bars and etc. did. I still seem to be losing a bit of steam at the end of my long runs, but I am confident it can be worked out. I am following Ultrarunnergirl's pre race fueling: http://www.ultrarunnergirl.blogspot.com/2014/07/eating-plan-to-fuel-for-ultra.html for carbo loading. The race I am doing is not an ultra, so it may be a bit over kill, but I don't need to follow it exactly. I understand this may not be my best race, as I have only just changed my nutrition plan, but I am excited to find out the outcome. I am confident enough to not bring any of my old fuels, so that indicates how much I believe in relying only on whole foods instead of the sports products.

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Hi MerAnne,

I have just completed my Whole30. This Saturday I will run my first race, a mountain marathon, fueled only with whole foods. I have completely changed my eating habits from pre Whole30. During the first couple weeks I felt very sluggish during my runs, and it took me a while to believe that the suggested meal plans and fueling without sports products could work. But then things changed, and I felt more energetic, satisfied and with a more positive attitude. I am still experimenting with the right amount of fueling during and prior to the long runs. I think that will take several adjustments, just at my nutrition plan with the gels, bars and etc. did. I still seem to be losing a bit of steam at the end of my long runs, but I am confident it can be worked out. I am following Ultrarunnergirl's pre race fueling: http://www.ultrarunnergirl.blogspot.com/2014/07/eating-plan-to-fuel-for-ultra.html for carbo loading. The race I am doing is not an ultra, so it may be a bit over kill, but I don't need to follow it exactly. I understand this may not be my best race, as I have only just changed my nutrition plan, but I am excited to find out the outcome. I am confident enough to not bring any of my old fuels, so that indicates how much I believe in relying only on whole foods instead of the sports products.

 

Have a great race! I love how you're going into it.

 

I just did a half marathon - sadly I had to walk it due to an injury, but that meant I was on the course for 3:30 and took in NO nutrition at all with no problems. Before fat adaptation there is no way that would have happened. Here's hoping I get cleared to start running again (Dr. appointment today) so I can start working on fueling for longer efforts.

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Thanks for all the encouragement runners! I know that being fat adapted will help my endurance so much. My body can not digest anything processed during races, had a totally disaster with cliff blocks a few months ago. I know it'll take awhile to get there!

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So I'm still not sure I'm doing this right. I'm on day 18 and the tiger blood is gone and been replaced with emotional instability/ and an "I'm over it" feeling. This could be because everyone in my house (but me---which maybe the nutrients in the food in eating kept mommy puke free?) has had the stomach flu for the past 4 days, so no sleep. I haven't even felt like running, which is CRAZY for me. I've only run 15 miles in the last 4 days...which is not like me at all. I have kept up with my daily 90 Bikram practice. But I didn't even feel like I should have gone today- no strength at all.

Today I ate:

7am: 1 muffin tin omlett (1.5 eggs, little bit of chicken sausage) + kale + banana

90 min bikram advanced class

1:30pm: Spinach salad with palm and a quarter chicken breast + 1/2 avocado + balsamic vinagar (I would have liked to have more veggies here but lunch meeting, I already get a lot of unwanted attention for being thin and eating differently that I didn't want to make a big hubbub by bringing my own food-tried that last week and all I got was accusations and endless glares)

(Right about 5 I was ready to give up- totally delirious, incredibly impatient etc)

5:30pm: 1small yam, 1 palm chicken breast 1 cup broccoli slaw mixed with 1/2 avocado.

Tonight I'll probably take the kids in the double stroller for a 4 mi run/walk.

Water: at least 60oz

Salted each meal.

I haven't weighed myself, which is tough. But by the way my clothes are fitting I've probably lost 2-3lbs. I came in at 5'6 and 118 with low bf%. I don't know if Whole30/dropping weight has caused the energy downturn, or if my life is just tiring in general.

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Today I ate:

7am: 1 muffin tin omlett (1.5 eggs, little bit of chicken sausage) + kale + banana

90 min bikram advanced class

1:30pm: Spinach salad with palm and a quarter chicken breast + 1/2 avocado + balsamic vinagar (I would have liked to have more veggies here but lunch meeting, I already get a lot of unwanted attention for being thin and eating differently that I didn't want to make a big hubbub by bringing my own food-tried that last week and all I got was accusations and endless glares)

(Right about 5 I was ready to give up- totally delirious, incredibly impatient etc)

5:30pm: 1small yam, 1 palm chicken breast 1 cup broccoli slaw mixed with 1/2 avocado.

Tonight I'll probably take the kids in the double stroller for a 4 mi run/walk.

Water: at least 60oz

Salted each meal.

MerAnne, I'm no expert but have just completed my first Whole 30 and am a runner, like you, who doesn't particularly want to lose weight. If what you ate yesterday is typical I'd say you're only getting about 50-60% of what you need to maintain your activity levels and body weight. You need to eat more! Just my opinion.... I hope you can resolve this soon, I know if I was regularly eating at the level you posted I'd be ravenous and slow too... I'd literally double everything

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If what you ate yesterday is typical I'd say you're only getting about 50-60% of what you need to maintain your activity levels and body weight. You need to eat more! Just my opinion.... I hope you can resolve this soon, I know if I was regularly eating at the level you posted I'd be ravenous and slow too... I'd literally double everything

 

so much this. 

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Ok, should I add an additional template meal? I'm getting so anxious about what I can and can-not eat that I have days where I end up not eating because I'm paranoid about going somewhere and eating food that is non complaint- which really isn't anything new I guess, before Whole30 I would just take quest bars with me during the day to work and only eat 2 meals a day (which was totally unhealthy).

This morning I did 1 muffin tin omlett + 1/2 palm turkey burger (turkey and kale) + 1/4 avocado + banana (2 hours prior to run)- perhaps eating more at breakfast will help me eat more throughout the day.

6-8 mi dependant upon time/strength

11:30 Lunch: Another lunch conference, going to a local cafe that I know has compliant spinach chicken salad.

3:30/4: turkey kale burger, broccoli slaw (should I add this mini meal here?)

7: Seared Ahi, avocado, spinach + 1 small yam

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Ok, should I add an additional template meal? I'm getting so anxious about what I can and can-not eat that I have days where I end up not eating because I'm paranoid about going somewhere and eating food that is non complaint- which really isn't anything new I guess, before Whole30 I would just take quest bars with me during the day to work and only eat 2 meals a day (which was totally unhealthy).

This morning I did 1 muffin tin omlett + 1/2 palm turkey burger (turkey and kale) + 1/4 avocado + banana (2 hours prior to run)- perhaps eating more at breakfast will help me eat more throughout the day.

6-8 mi dependant upon time/strength

11:30 Lunch: Another lunch conference, going to a local cafe that I know has compliant spinach chicken salad.

3:30/4: turkey kale burger, broccoli slaw (should I add this mini meal here?)

7: Seared Ahi, avocado, spinach + 1 small yam

I think this is a big improvement but that if you complete your planned run today you may still be short of energy. I wonder if there's other 'stuff' going on with you... How do you feel about the foods you're eating, do you find meals are tasty, enjoyable? Are you rushed when you eat? (It certainly sounds like you have a full schedule). Or is it that you are struggling to eat enough in terms of the volume of real food needed to fuel an active life? I know I found it really difficult at first to accept that I needed to eat 'so much' fat, and to plan starchy carbs as part of my meals was weird after having believed for so long that ALL fat and ALL carbs were bad, it took a while to eating these things on a planned basis, but again that's just my experience/opinion, we're all different

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Thanks ST-C. My life/schedule is incredibly busy. And no, I don't enjoy anything. It's a huge change for me to be eating real foods in general. My stress coping mechanism is just to not eat. For me, I have kind of a "food is fuel" mentality and don't really care what I eat or when I eat as long as I can keep up with work, running, family. Like I said Whole30 has been a really big good change for me. Previously I pretty much lived off of quest bars, a vegan protein shake and then a really rushed dinner. I was getting sick ALL the time and had tons of nervous anxious energy. Now, the anxiety is gone but my energy levels have decreased. I'm still not sure that something so restrictive is necessarily the healthiest option for me right now. For example if I haven't had time to prep then I will do things like not eat all day (refuse to go to lunch with my husband because I'm scared of non compliant food) and none of that is good for my relationship with my family or food. I'm just trying to find balance and a healthier relationship with food.

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Thanks ST-C. My life/schedule is incredibly busy. And no, I don't enjoy anything. It's a huge change for me to be eating real foods in general. My stress coping mechanism is just to not eat. For me, I have kind of a "food is fuel" mentality and don't really care what I eat or when I eat as long as I can keep up with work, running, family. Like I said Whole30 has been a really big good change for me. Previously I pretty much lived off of quest bars, a vegan protein shake and then a really rushed dinner. I was getting sick ALL the time and had tons of nervous anxious energy. Now, the anxiety is gone but my energy levels have decreased. I'm still not sure that something so restrictive is necessarily the healthiest option for me right now. For example if I haven't had time to prep then I will do things like not eat all day (refuse to go to lunch with my husband because I'm scared of non compliant food) and none of that is good for my relationship with my family or food. I'm just trying to find balance and a healthier relationship with food.

I can completely relate to this, I also was a bit worried (and still am, to a lesser degree) that the rules of whole30 were playing into the hands of some troubling obsessive tendencies I have around foods, if that's what you're saying? It seems entirely sensible to me that planning and eating whole foods has to be healthier than what i used to do, which was plan to eat very little and then go through a bi-monthly binge on grains and sugars. It sounds like you are desperately keen to establish a healthy pattern of eating .It must be really difficult if you can't always make time to prepare and cook too.

I hope you don't mind if I ask, do you find running, yoga, etc. fun at the moment? Could you take some time out and focus on nutrition, going back to your usual workout schedule once the eating is settled into more of a pattern?

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Not necessarily "fun" right now I think it's more of the only brain break I get. It's the 1 hour or 90 min a day when I'm not trying to solve 50 different problems at work or potty training toddlers. I think right now I crave the mental break more than the physical. But I'm also paranoid about not doing some extreme calorie burn in fear of gaining weight, which I know is absurd

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  • 1 month later...

With the busy schedules that we have (work, family, friends, sports) it can seem daunting to prepare meals that are whole30 compliant. I found that there are often times, I just don't have time to make a great meal, and all my pre cooked meals have been eaten. These times I have to think simple and go basic. I keep some key foods at my house at all times: avocado, sweet potato, frozen broccoli, spinach, eggs, canned tuna and tomatoes. I try to always have hardboiled eggs prepared and ready to eat, but sometimes even those run out. When I have nothing pre cooked, and only minutes to make something to eat, I cook a small or 1/2 sweet potato and frozen broccoli in the microwave (sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do), chop up a tomato and 1/2 avocado, and grab a big handful of spinach. I throw it all together with a little olive oil, basalmic vinegar, salt and pepper. without a hard boiled egg or tuna (or meat) its short on protein, but still satisfying and can be prepared in about 7 minutes! If there is an egg or tuna or even left over meat, then its a complete meal, that is super easy and quick to make. I can eat it any time of day. My 8 year old has even come to love eating this (although not with tuna).

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