I am the person who gained weight training for my first half marathon, which is ironic, considering that part of why I started to run was that I though it would be helpful with those last few pounds — only to have it pile on even more pounds — in the beginning.
Of course I had to relearn my lesson training for my first race longer than a half, too. I’m not 100% sure why I gained a few pounds — I mean, I was running the most weekly mileage of my life! Surely I could maintain my weight. Right? Right?
You don’t always need it
You’ve looked at the gels, right? Most of them say right on them “take one 15 minutes before exercise and every 45 minutes during”.
I’m one of those weirdos that actually like GUs. The taste, anyway, I don’t use GUs in my races (or on long runs) anymore. But I sure took that to heart.
Guess what? For runs under an hour you don’t need a GU. Not before, during, or after. I learned that the hard way. Some people eat nothing unless it’s double digits. I’ve done runs as long as 8 miles with no fuel during.
Like most things with running, you have to play around with it and find what works for you.
It doesn’t have to be gels
I don’t use gels. Or sport beans. Or blocks.
I have played around with various real food options, but what I’ve found to work for me is Honeystinger Chews (I’m a Honeystinger Ambassador) + home made (very plain) chocolate chip cookies from the Feedzone Portables book (Amazon Affiliate link).
- Fig Newtons
- According to my coach, Rachel @ Runningonhappy, Payday candy (I need to get some!)
Not every run deserves a treat
I think this may have been what got me training for the 1812 Challenge. Of course I didn’t treat myself after every run, but I was running a lot more and I thought I could get away with more sugar than normal.
Some people can. Genetically gifted people. Younger people. If you find the scale going in the wrong direction or your clothes getting tighter, take a look at how often you’re treating yourself.
A fasted run can be a good run
I will admit it right here, right now: not a super fan of the fasted run (where you run early and don’t eat anything before the run). I always feel as though I run out of gas. And the supposed fat burning benefit? The juries still out on that one.
This summer forced me to get out there earlier than normal, and there were a few fasted runs here and there. I survived. Some people, especially people with stomach issues, really benefit from the fasted run.
Think IV, not shot
Years ago I attended a talk by a sports nutritionist. She suggested that taking a gel every 45 minutes was much more likely to lead to stomach upset and also uneven energy on the run.
She said that it was better to take in a little bit more frequently, like an IV drip. I changed how I fueled on long runs and haven’t looked back. It’s part of why I ditched the gels altogether.
I take one Honeystinger Chew or a few bites of my cookie every mile.
Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:
Are you true to GU?
Do you actually like fasted runs?
Favorite real food running fuel?