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Mid-run nutrition/energy products? (Read 898 times)


Needs more cowbell!

    What do you like? Why? Where do you purchase it? When I ran with Eryn yesterday I think I hit the wall a bit around the 8 mile mark (we ran 9.5). Suddenly I went from feeling good, strong, consistent to feeling like every step was a struggle. That morning I had eaten a filling, calorie and carb-dense breakfast (Burger King croissandwich, hash rounds, OJ), increased my carbs the day before, and had a big banana right before our run. But I'm thinking I could use GU or something similar for my long runs and races. What would be easy to carry? I have a Camelbak waistpack that I use for long runs, but the pockets are all on the back and hard to reach while actually running--I could attach some sort of small pouch to the waist straps, though (I generally do that with my cel phone while on runs). k

    I shoot pretty things! ~

    '14 Goals:

    • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


    A Dance with Monkeys

      Running anything under 70-80% of my max effort, I generally carry or use no food products and limited fluids. If it is hot out I do use fluids after about 8-12 miles. Otherwise I will run dry. When I do use food products for my long runs (i.e., over 12-15 miles), I usually use a packet og goo stuff or a candy bar or Star Crunch. Yesterday I had a packet of goo at mile 16 of 18. I keep my goo packets in my pocket. I keep water in my car or run near where I know there are fluids, occasionally I carry a bottle with me. I used a camelback running up Pikes Peak and was really happy to have had it in the dry mountain air. Until you reach 80% or more of your effort, your stored lipids and fats provide you quite a bit of energy and it is not as important to consume calories while you run. At 80% or more, you are buring quite a bit of glycogen and it is far more important to keep your caloric intake going during a long run. You glycogen alone is enough to sustain you for at least 10-15 miles at an effort > 80% of your max, provided you are adequately carb loaded. I am concerned that you crumped at mile 8 because you either got dry or went out too strong. You sound like you had more than enough cals on board, unless you had fasted the day before.


      A Dance with Monkeys

        I have previously posted this re: calories and marathoning. This text assumes you are running using glycogen as 100% of your energy source. In reality, you use other sources, such as fats. The lower your %maximal effort, the lower a portion of your total calories come from glycogen. When you run out of glycogen, you hit the wall. *** The human body can contain a maximum of about 2000 calories of stored glycogen. Glycogen is the energy source we use when we run. Your body stores glycogen in the muscles and in the liver. Most of us burn about 110-140 calories for every mile we run, which means we will run out of glycogen after about 16-18 miles. After you run out of glycogen, your body will force you to stop as you transition from burning glycogen to burning protein (i.e., your leg muscles). Once your body has transitioned, you can run again. In part, it is because of this protein burning that your legs hurt for days afterwards and you require recovery before you can run again (that and the lactic acid buildup, etc). It is for this reason that many runners can go 16 miles casually, but require planning and extra effort to go beyond 20. Taking in calories during the run can extend this by preserving some of the (liver) glycogen. A packet of gu-stuff has about 100 calories (worth just under a mile of running) and a 4 ounce cup of gatorade has about 8 calories (about 50-100 yards). Even if you take in 8-10 gu packets during your run (yech, blech, eeeww, uch) you will not necessarily absorb all those calories efficiently, so you still are likely to run out. In general, the more you run in your life, the more efficient you get at burning glycogen. People who have run distance for years, and who put in 40-60+ miles per week use and replace glycogen more efficiently than folks who have only been running for a short time and who can only put in 20-30 miles per week or less. The more efficiently you burn glycogen, the less quickly you use it up, and the further you can go. Your body simply cannot store more than about 2000. Once you got to 2000 (or whatever YOUR body can hold) you will not store more. You burn glycogen all the time, whether running or not. If you were to sit at your desk all day doing nothing but surfing this board, you would still burn about 1500-1800 calories / 24 hours (although you probably burn a little more than that just by having muscles trained to run a marathon), and so all you are doing is repleting that when you carb load up every next day. When you wake up the morning of a long run or a marathon, you have already lost several hundred calories from your glycogen stores just by breathing and sleeping the night before. More if you were nervous. That is why your breakfast really counts as your carb loading unless done right before the run. If you finished dinner and went to sleep with 2000 calories in the tank, by time you woke up the next morning, you were probably down to 1400-1600. If you ate the oatmeal at 5am, you were probably close to 2000 by time the gun fired, but then you only took in about 600 during the run. If you ate after 6am, then you probably had a store of about 1500 calories when the gun fired, and the oatmeal would count in the 950. See Tim Noakes, the Lore of Running. Noakes has a long discussion in his book about energy stores and how we use them. I forget the exact chapter. Among other things, he writes: "The marathon is less a physical event than a spiritual encounter. In infinite wisdom, God built into us a 32 km racing limit, a limit imposed by inadequate sources of the marathoner's prime racing fuel -- carbohydrates. But we, in our infinite wisdom, decreed that the standard marathon be raced over 42 km...So it is in that physical no-man's-land, which begins after the 32 km mark, that is the irresistible appeal of the marathon lies. It is at this stage, as the limits to human running endurance are approached, that the marathon ceases to be a physical event...It is there that you learn something about yourself and your view of life." (Noakes, Lore of Running, p596)
          Since I run first thing in the am I usually have a Gel right before my run then around every 45-60 minutes ( for anything 10 miles or more) afterwords. I have a VERY sensitive stomach so that seems the easiest on it as well as not causing bowel problems during my longer runs. Not sure if thats why I don't tend to feel exausted after 15 miles or if that's why I tend to recover pretty easy after them ( *knock on wood*). Experiment now while you still have time. What works for one person doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you. Pam

          Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson


          Needs more cowbell!

            Ahhh...Trent, that is interesting. I do know that I was running a bit faster than normal for a weekly long run. We did about an 11:30 pace, where I normally would run 12 minute pace for a run of that distance (trying to keep up with Eryn, LOL). I'm guessing that my race pace for the 10 miler I'm doing in a couple of weekends will be in the 10:30-11 minute mile range, so I was going pretty fast for *me*. I was really sore after that run and all last night, too (normally I don't experience much in the way of soreness after a typical run, even a long run...I was doin' some substantial hobbling-around last night). Today I'm a little sore, but mostly stiff, so it does make me wonder if I exhausted my glycogen stores and ended up starting run off of my muscles--I tend to watch my carbs most of the week (I'm hypoglycemic and if I'm not careful with the carbs I will get awful cravings and walk around eating everything in sight and gaining weight like nobody's business) and probably should have carbed-up on Thurs., instead of waiting until Friday. Does time play a factor? I would think that if two people ran the same distance that the person who took longer to complete that distance (assuming equal levels of effort) might run into more issues with glycogen depletion (I had probably been running for 90+ minutes when I felt that loss of energy)...but that's just a guess on my part. What about blood sugar issues? Would a person with hypo or hyperglycemia likely find that their body uses glycogen stores at a different rate? k

            I shoot pretty things! ~

            '14 Goals:

            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

              I really believe that people blood sugar problems do tend to go through their glycogen storage faster ( just my 2 cents though) When I start to feel blood sugar problems come into play I eat a gel and I usually end up feeling much better with 5-10 minutes into my run. As Trent said the more you run the efficient your body is at burning the glycogen. I am using gels alot less frequently as I was this time last year. Pam

              Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson


              Needs more cowbell!

                As Trent said the more you run the efficient your body is at burning the glycogen. I am using gels alot less frequently as I was this time last year.
                That's really good to know--plus it's very measurable proof that your hard work has paid-off! Hmmm...I should keep track of how long it takes me to feel lousy during a run and what it would take to reverse the effects--then reflect back on it in a year, when I hope to be running longer distances each week and faster. k

                I shoot pretty things! ~

                '14 Goals:

                • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                vicentefrijole


                  What would be easy to carry? I have a Camelbak waistpack that I use for long runs, but the pockets are all on the back and hard to reach while actually running--I could attach some sort of small pouch to the waist straps, though (I generally do that with my cel phone while on runs).
                  Do your running shorts have any pockets? If not, I've heard of people safety-pinning packets of goo to their shorts (inside, so they don't bang around), I'm sure you could do the same with a packet of candy or a small energy bar. Also, I've been very impressed with the gummy "CliffBlocks" made by the CliffBar people. They are like goo (they say) but less messy and you can eat a little bit at a time. This is all very interesting stuff! A nice article, Trent! I think there's a lot of variability in how our bodies process energy.. there are lots of factors I can think of (and probably tons more I can't) that could effect this... basal level of metabolism, amount of sleep, diet, gender (for women, I suspect getting their period would have some major impacts on energy, right?), age, athletic history. Until you've got your routine down, it's best to be safe: I've noticed if I don't eat just a little bit of food (just 1/2 english muffin is plenty!) before a run of any size I get really dizzy and struggle at around 2-3 miles. (I suspect this is because my body has burned up the readily available glucose in my system and is starting to recruit stored glycogen, which is a bit slower.) Regardless of the reason, I've learned how to prevent it by eating a little bit before my run. Also, I almost never run without carrying a little goo, cliffbar, candy, or even dried fruit in my pocket.. just in case. I don't always need it but am glad to have it. On longer runs, I use Gel or Goo, much the way Trent described. I'm also constantly drinking fluids (mostly water) along the way.. this is easy in Chicago where the lakefront path has tons of water-fountains (I carry a small container so I'm not stopping all the time).


                  Needs more cowbell!

                    Do your running shorts have any pockets? If not, I've heard of people safety-pinning packets of goo to their shorts (inside, so they don't bang around), I'm sure you could do the same with a packet of candy or a small energy bar. Also, I've been very impressed with the gummy "CliffBlocks" made by the CliffBar people. They are like goo (they say) but less messy and you can eat a little bit at a time.
                    Ooh, that reminds me--I recall seeing that Jelly Belly makes some sort of sport beans...I think those would be awesome during a long run or race. I need to see if anyone near me carries those. I know a cycling shop an hour away does. I like the idea of dried fruit (apples and apricots are my faves, or even some of those crunchy dried strawberries), too. Are there certain candies that work well? I've never even tasted GU, but I don't usually like slimey stuff. And I detest Powerbars (hubby likes 'em, but they make me wanna retch). What are my other options? Will certain things be more likely to cause stomach upset? I know that full strength Gatorade and Powerade make me a bit queasy, but if I dilute them to half-strength I don't have any issues. And what sorts of things will have the quickest and/or longest-lasting effect? k

                    I shoot pretty things! ~

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                    A Dance with Monkeys

                      I finally just tried the CliffBlocks. They are much better than goo in terms of taste and consistency. Three blocks is the equivalent of about one pack, so you can eat them continuously, every 10-20 minutes rather than squeezing a packet of goo every 45-60 minutes. That makes it a bit easier to digest and you are less likely to spike and then drop your blood sugar. The jelly beans use the same idea, except it takes 10-15 to equal a pack of goo, and I find that they make me VERY thirsty. Regular jelly beans or other small candies are fine if you take them regularly. I used to use a single little debbie oatmeal cookie or Starcrunch in the middle of a long run because they digest more slowly and the energy comes gradually. But they require me to run back by my car or stow them somewhere beforehand. Now I rarely do that, but I find it easier to run long distances with little supplemental calories (up to a point tho). The article, above, is something I have been evolving. I need to modify it further with info about the impact of % effort, to which I alluded at the start. An example: Tomorrow I will run a 5k warmup and then a 10k (provided I don't die). For the 10k, I will be burning mostly glycogen. For the race, I will burn 6.2 miles x ~125 kcal/mile = 775 kcal from my glycogen stores. I will aready have blown another ~300 during the 5k. All told, that will be about 60% of my stored glycogen, assuming that I start with a perfect glycogen store of 2000 kcal. In reality, having fasted overnight while sleeping and having eaten only a light breakfast, I will probably only have about 2/3 of the 2000 kcal of glycogen by race time, so I will actually burn about 80% of my glycogen during the runs. That means I will be flirting with a big nasty wall for the second race and will feel really bad by time I cross the finish line. That I expect this to happen will help me psychologically somewhat. I hope. Smile In terms of what works for energy, what prevents stomach upset, what is palatable, etc. That is all based on personal sensibilities. Everything that contains simple carb calories can help, but anything you consume may cause a ruckus as it traverses your GI tract. The slower you are moving, the more you can digest. The faster you are moving, the less. At a true 5k effort of ~90%, you should have trouble digesting even water or gatorade. At a true marathon effort of ~70-75%, you should be able to tolerate candies, simple carbs and fluids, although you may have more trouble with some than with others. At an ultramarathon effort or a walk, you should be able to tolerate and may even crave more complex foods such as candy, potatoes, PB&J, soft drinks, etc. All of this requires trial and error.


                      A Dance with Monkeys

                        Also, something I have posted before: To run, you need calories. To propel yourself at speed, you need stored glycogen, which is the storage version of carbs. At any given time your body stores a maximum of about 2000 cal of glycogen. Your body does not particularly care how it gets those carbs (i.e., there really is no such thing as junk carbs in terms of glycogen storage, however complex carbs are less likely to be easily absorbed from your GI tract and therefore less likely to replenish glycogen or to make you gain weight). French fries and potato chips help replenish glycogen as well as pasta, but bring with them extra fat. High fructose corn syrup may be more likely than other simple carbs to form abdominal fat when consumed in excess. Whether you run or not, your body uses up about a third to a half of its glycogen just to keep you alive as you sleep at night, so you are constantly using and replenishing your glycogen. To sustain and increase muscle mass you need proteins. To do this, you need to consume the variety of amino acids that serve as the building blocks for protein. As long as you are able to find and eat the diversity of needed amino acids, including the ones that your body cannot manufacture on its own (the so called, essential amino acids) then the source does not matter. If you like tofu, so be it. Egg whites, great. Steak or fish or chicken, bring it on. As long as you are getting all the needed amino acids in sufficient quantity, you should be fine (see the article on proteins in this past month's TN Running magazine). To sustain yourself when not running at maximal pace and to support your running at that pace, you need fats. You are always burning some fat, even when running at maximal pace; the proportion of calories supporting your effort coming from fat simply drop as you increase your effort. One pound of stored fat is enough to propel most runners about 80 miles, provided that there are also enough carbs around to support the fat (or that the runner is running slow enough that the carbs are not the major energy source). There are lots of different fats out there, and some are better than others. The fats that are bad are considered so because they damage your body in ways that the better fats do not, and some of the good fats actually protect your body. Trans fats inflame arteries. Saturated fats do the same, and increase your risk of cancer. Cholesterol fills the walls of the inflamed arteries. As we are learning more about fats, it seems that the more natural fats (e.g., olive oil, butter, grain oils) have fewer troubles than the relatively synthetic ones. The major problem with snacks and fast foods is that they are made using the synthetic oils that contain the trans- or saturated- fats. Eating out at nice restaurants, you often will encounter just as many hidden fats and bad fats as you will at a fast food restaurant, so don't be fooled by ambiance or price. However you choose to eat, you need to do it in a way that is sustainable. If you feel like you are eating special on a diet, or feel like you do not have energy then you will not sustain that type of intake. If all you eat is fast food, you will balloon up, feel terrible and then get sick and die, also not sustainable. A nice balance of interesting foods, including a healthy and well balanced base with occasional snacks and meals out is generally sustainable and inexpensive. Making your own foods helps you be in control, cut cost, and ensure that you get the needed calories to support your running. You do not need to eat salads only, and can loose weight eating pasta and bread and rice, so long as you balance those things with proteins and healthy fats, and keep the portions in balance with your energy needs. You can use on line sites like nutritiondata.com to figure out how many calories are in a serving of food, and match your running miles (~100-130 cal/mile) and your living calories (~1500-2000 cal/day) with what you eat. If you weigh, for example, 160 lbs and you run 20 miles per week, you need approximately 1800 cal/day to live and an additional 2600 cal/week for your running. No more.


                        A Dance with Monkeys

                          Ahh, found it. Here is the last bit I have previously posted. Unlike what I have already posted, this may actually be useful Yes - When you are exercising at a high level, approaching your Vo2mx, your body cannot digest as well. This is primarily because your blood is pumped away from your gut and to your muscles. In this situation, even gels are hard to digest. This is why, when you run a 5k at a 5k effort, you may even have trouble with sports drinks. Gels are for efforts probably between 75-90% maximal effort (like running a marathon). At lower efforts relative to your Vo2mx (such as training runs, ultramarathoning or walking) you should be able to digest solid foods, although simpler is better while exerting yourself. There is also a limitation to how quickly your body can absorb the calories that you consume. I understand that the ceiling is about 3-400 kcal per hour during exercise, while most of us burn 5-800 kcal per hour depending on weight, pace and terrain. The good news is, at lower pace, we burn stored fat, which provides about 4000 kcal per pound (or, about 5-8 hours of effort per pound). Most of us have at least a pound or two of fat on us. We burn relatively less fat at higher efforts, which is why we cannot depend on this energy source during a marathon. Not until the bonk, that is. For training runs, you should be able to take in any simple carb source. Gels are good if you want something portable. I personally prefer Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies or Star Crunch bars. I will also occasionally have a nut/granola bar, a banana or banana bread. I usually only have these during the run if I am running over 14ish miles, although I did a 20 the other day with no calories on the run other than a few cups of gatorade (~<50 kcals worth). if you are bonking on your marathon training runs, you are running them too hard and/or you are not taking in enough calories in your daily life. kcals="" worth).="" if="" you="" are="" bonking="" on="" your="" marathon="" training="" runs,="" you="" are="" running="" them="" too="" hard="" and/or="" you="" are="" not="" taking="" in="" enough="" calories="" in="" your="" daily=""></50 kcals worth). if you are bonking on your marathon training runs, you are running them too hard and/or you are not taking in enough calories in your daily life.>


                          Needs more cowbell!

                            Ooh, interesting stuff. And I like the idea of Little Debbie treats or a PB&J, too. Big grin k

                            I shoot pretty things! ~

                            '14 Goals:

                            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                              I'm one of those people who while racing gels makes SUPER UPSET STOMACH ( last half marathon I spent the whole entire day AFTER the race in the bathroom. I can't handle gatorade AT ALL (even just drinking it while sitting still). I highly recommend trying different things so that you can find what's best for you. Some people can't handle much at all in there systems even doing 60% (people like me who have IBS). What I did to find out what I could handle was try stuff on my short easy runs ( 3.1 or less). After I found something that worked for the shorter easy runs I increased my speed on the runs to see how I felt. I've heard jelly beans work well ( never have tried them since I found what works for me). Hope you find what works for you Zoom. Pam Forgot to add that I walk while eating my gels now since my IBS has gotten really bad this past year.

                              Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson


                              Needs more cowbell!

                                I'm definitely going to try jelly beans--I'm always up for an excuse to buy Jelly Bellys (except for the nasty popcorn and PB flavors--which is funny, since I love the real versions of those things)! I'm sorry to hear that you deal with IBS. I have a friend who really suffered with that. In HS I had occasional bouts with stress-induced colitis (I think endometriosis may have been a factor, too). I sure wish there were a cure for these sorts of things. Definite quality of life issues with those illnesses. k

                                I shoot pretty things! ~

                                '14 Goals:

                                • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

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