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Sunday 19 April 2015

What do YOU eat?

You are running. Its all awesome. Wind in your hair and then ... you gotta go. GOTTA.
Like BAD. WHAT? 
Does this sound familiar?
eeek what should I eat?? Are there foods to avoid? Do you ever have to GO on a run? AACK! 
oh....that. Yup, the age-old TMI "gotta go" question for runners.

I am not a nutritionist. I am not a Doctor. I am not a food health expert. I am a runner who has had many, many crappy (haha) experiences on the run. I have spent  time in the shitter (my record is 12 minutes in a halfmara), had to GO less than ONE K from the finish. Yup as in NOW, not in the 6 minutes I could get to the finish. SIGH. I have suffered from terrible tummy issues. Funny story AFTER - mortifying at the time. It is what it is ...For the most part now, I pretty good. BUT every once in a while I gotta GO on the run. This post comes from those experiences. Shitty and otherwise.

Nutrition is critical while training (well, duh!) for a marathon or half marathon. Your body needs fuel. It's not just important the week before race day...but the entire time. As in, have a healthy diet. Hey, some people can eat anything and not have issues. not. me. QUALITY is what works for me. I am all about carbs, carbs, carbs!  I gotta be careful with the high-fibre stuff. My diet has veg, fruits, whole grains, and some meat. Less meat, more veg.

I avoid junk food and crap. If I want steak I eat it (but NEVER the night before a run). My rule for meat - no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. I don't have a ton of dairy - it does a bit of a number on my gut.

Truthfully, I have trouble am to damn lazy to figure out which veg or fruit has carbs...perhaps I should spend more time figuring that out. I like potatoes, yams, beans, whole wheat bread, bananas, pasta, oatmeal, dried fruit, apples, bagels, brown rice, root vegetables  - Umm, I think they are all good carbs.  For protein, I have Almond Milk, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese, tofu, lentils and nuts and seeds. I love spinach and kale too.

I am on what may be called the REAL FOOD diet. I take butter over margarine. I don't eat zero fat yogurt. Or anything labeled "fat free". There now you have my grocery list.

What do I avoid? Sweets, high fat meat and fried foods. Processed foods. And pizza. But, I do like pizza - sooo I have ONE place in town I will eat it at (never before a long run) and I can also make my own for a fun treat. If I want chips - I have them ONLY after a long run. I try to reward myself a little. Dark chocolate - yes, please. Oh and wine. I can't imbibe before a long run. Maybe one glass.

Do some research. Figure out what works for you. I say, enjoy what you eat. 

Runners World has a million articles on calories, eating, recipes - their page on Nutrition - lots of articles and recipes. As with anything on the interwebs... use your judgment. I happen to love the Runners World Cookbook. Great recipes that taste great. It was a gift - thanks to Krista!! I have made so many things out of there. I like how the nutritional info is broken down. One of my FAV cookbooks is Julia Child's The art of French Cooking - pretty much anything in that book is a reward meal. haha.

Yup, I take multi vitamins. I have low iron, and take a supplement.

I also use EnergyBits - as a running fuel and as a supplement. I love what spirulina does for me - gives me energy and NO tummy trouble. If it is a LONG run, I take a gel - never more than two as they can upset my tummy - but honey stinger chews work well for me. I have even made some homemade energy bites - they will be definitely coming out when I hit the trails this summer.

Basically I have a list of things that I know give me the shits runs. And, well, I avoid them. Duh. After some trial and error, you figure it out. Mostly. Here is what I find works for me:

NIGHT BEFORE: Simple meal. Easy to digest. Sometimes Spaghetti with tomato sauce, sometimes chicken and veg. I avoid high fibre a day or two before race. I drink a boatload of herbal tea a day or two before the race. And, I have a tradition of drinking a water bottle with Nuun the night before a race.

BEFORE the run: I eat light - banana, whole wheat toast with PB, oatmeal.
If you've had issues, try a few things before a shorter run. Trust me - don't try something new before a long run.

DURING the run: I take EnergyBits before and during a long run. I have been using em since 2013! Love em. Under 2 hours - usually only Bits. Over two - some combo of chews or a gel and Bits.  3+ hours of running - I take some energy bar (I like Gorp, Vega, Go Macro, Luna or Clif) or chews (Honeystinger or Clifbloks). Quick and easy is key. I definitely take water enhanced with either Nuun  or Vega. On long runs, especially on trail - I have been known to take some sqeezy veg or fruit puree (yeh - like baby food - hey it works). The Gorp Energy bars re-seal - so they are great for trail too. If I am organized enough --> homemade energy bites/bars are yummy and you know what's in them! I have to be careful as I am allergic to walnuts - sadly most bars have
AFTER the run: If I am at a race, I grab water, banana, apple, yogurt, chocolate milk if they have it. During one ragnar ultra hard boiled eggs after a run were awesome. A protein lifesaver. If I head home after a run or race, I make a smoothie - almond milk, banana, and berries, PB and vega one or vega recovery accelerator. Then shower. And in between have another bottle of water with Nuun. Then eat a meal. Sometimes beans on toast, eggs on toast. Sometimes, if I am feeling frisky - and have a pal to eat with - breakfast or lunch is a nice celebration.

Seriously, food is fuel. Enjoy what you eat. It should taste great!
Don't eat crap. Have some treats once in a while. Enjoy em. 
And, remember, shit happens. So, don't forget Toilet Paper. EVER.
Have a great run!
This little ditty on Runners Trots was on Buzzfeed last week. Interesting Read! 
Definitely had some good pointers innit.

Some of my FAB pals have also written a thing or two about running and nutrition
Check em out:
Terry - What I eat


  1. Yes, we are all so different and have to experiment and find out what works for our own bodies. I have had some not so great experiences too! Love ENERGYbits!

  2. I eat fruits and vegetables. I avoid the hype at all costs. Down with elimination diets. Why does everything have to be so complicated?

  3. You know what I think!! Balance, eat everything (but mostly good stuff), restrict nothing. :)