When I did my first ever 20 miler almost two weeks ago, I had my usual pre long run breakfast – a serving size of plain oats made with water, a scoop of almond butter and a scoop of raspberry preserves. However, I felt like I was hungry for the majority of those 20 miles and lost almost all energy by mile 18. Was it a fluke? That meal has always worked out fine for me but I’m beginning to wonder if I need to try something different. And so continues the search for finding the right fuel for long runs.
I recently was sent three CORE Defender Meals to try. CORE Meals are made with real whole food ingredients.
Most bars have seven ingredients or less – whole oats, nuts, raisins, flax and spices are the base. The ratio of complex carbs, healthy fats and lean protein can give up to four hours of stable energy according to their website. They are recommended for pre-workout, endurance fuel and post-workout recovery.
I usually don’t eat anything before my early morning runs of 7 miles or less. I just don’t have the time to have anything settle. However, on Saturday I had a little bit of time before I headed out for an easy 7 miler. I thought I’d do a test run by eating 1/2 of the Raw Banana Nut (approximately 200 calories) bar before. It was good! It really did taste like eating a bowl of oatmeal but in bar form.
I’ve read some reviews where some people have complained that they were dry and not sweet. I didn’t notice that at all. I tasted oats, nuts and a nice mix of spices. It reminded me a lot of a larabar but heartier. Ron had a taste and of course my little birds wanted some too. Everyone thought it was delicious and wanted more.
During my run, I felt good. I wasn’t hungry and my tummy was happy (afterwards included). I have a 16 miler on tap for this weekend with the plan of eating another CORE Defender bar beforehand. Although this time I’ll eat a whole bar since I’ll need more fuel.
I’m still working on my fuel for during a long run. In all my half marathon training and races, I have yet to find something that works consistently. I’ve tried GUs, Chomps and Clif Shot Gels in the past with no luck. All give me intestinal distress. I’m fine running. It’s the after that’s not pretty. Sorry for the TMI but I know I’m not the only one that this has happened too because let’s face it, it’s a common topic in any group of runners. We like to over share, right? I started using Trader Joe’s Gummy Bears on my most recent 16, 18 and 20 milers. I took a serving size at miles 5, 10 and 15 during the 20 miler. They seem to work just fine (i.e. tummy is happy) but I’m wondering if they don’t give me enough gas in the tank.
It’s recommended to eat 45 grams of carbs an hour during a long run. This can come in the form of gels, drinks, chews, gold fish crackers…what ever works for you. You should also make sure to drink 16-24oz of fluid per hour. Hmmm…
So I’ll be doing some more experimenting in the coming weeks of training. I’m going to try Honey Stinger Gels in addition to trying to make my own via Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. Although I’m not vegan, I like that his recipes for gels and drinks come from nothing but real food that I already have on hand.
Finding the right fuel for long runs and races seems like something every runner goes through. What works for one doesn’t work for the next. It’s a long process but something that needs to be done. Fingers crossed I find one that works!
The winner of the Active Accessories On-The-Go Pouch is Lindsy @ Fuel My Family! Congrats! Please email me:( happyfitmama [at] gmail [dot] com ) with your full name and address so I can pass it along.
Have you found the right fuel for long runs?
I was sent three CORE Defender Meal’s free of charge as part of being a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.