Marathon Training and Discussions

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Long distance nutrition (Read 480 times)

    I am still trying to figure out the best breakfast and mid-run snacks. I should note that I haven't been a big fan of "manufactured" sport foods, such as the special bars, gels, and sports drinks, although I have used all of them ocassionally, and even have a can of Cytomax powder in the pantry. I would rather rely on real food as much as possible. For breakfast, I seem to have had good luck with pancakes and syrup with a sweet sugar-filled juice; less luck with peanut butter on toast, bagels and cream cheese. I don't know if that is common, but I thought the "healthier" food would work better for me, but it didn't. During the runs, I have typically relied only on water and sport drink, even during marathons. I'm wondering if I should try a few gels (starting at ~ 5 miles) to give me more energy towards the end of the distance, followed by large doses of water to wash it all down. If I use gels as recomended by manufacturer's during the run, do I use only water or should I take some sport drink also? Please offer up any advice uyou may ahve on favarite pre-run food, or snacks that keep you going....5 weeks to figure this out! Confused
    Next up: A 50k in ? Done: California-Oregon-Arizona-Nevada (x2)-Wisconsin-Wyoming-Utah-Michigan-Colorado
    vicentefrijole


      I'm not a very experienced marathoner (training for my 4th right now) but I have also struggled with the nutrition questions, so I'd love to blab on about what I think I know Wink Big grin. The best advice (and you'll hear it alot from the folks around here) is to test everything out (from clothing/gear, to food, to hydration) before your marathon. It seems you already understand that, based on your last sentence, but it's still worth restating I think. Aside from that, here's some stuff that I like and you might try (or not): I can understand your distaste for "manufactured" foods... they are often expensive and taste terrible (to me). I've grown to like a lof the the Clif bar products (taste a little more natural) for before my morning run but only on certain occasions and I understand that they aren't for everyone. If you don't like the gels/gus but want a potent substitute, I do recommend the Clif Shot Blocks (little jelly-cubes). They work about the same and taste like fruit juice (or candy made from fruit juice). I think your pancakes and syrup makes a lot of sense for breakfast. Those "healthier foods" that you listed are also much harder to digest and not as easy for your body to utilize as quick energy. They are good foods for everyday eating, but before a run I like to have some quick and easy to digest carbs. Usually I go for an english-muffin with honey on it, which is very similar to your pancakes with syrup. Sometimes I put a few slices of banana on top of that to get a little potassium and some more sugar. As for gels/gu's, you'll have to experiment to find out what works best with you. Some people love them, but for others that big dose of sugar and electrolytes can cause gas, bloating, cramping, and even diarrhea Dead . I haven't had too many problems, but I don't use them quite as rapidly as the manufacturer's recommend as I don't think I can digest them that fast. I think it's pretty personal how many/frequently you use them (I usually use one at about 1 hour and then repeat every 45-50 min, though this also depends on the temperature and how much fluid I need to drink). It is a good idea to drink water after eating a gel (not gatorade... that extra sugar may cause problems) to help it be absorbed. FYI, some gels/gu's contain caffeine (which is supposed to help your body metabolize lipids better and thus sustain your stores of glucose a bit longer). I haven't really noticed a difference for myself, but some people love them. If you don't like the gels/gu's then just using water & sports drink (as you've done so far) is fine and preferred by many successful marathoners I've talked to. You could also experiment with dried fruit, fig newtons, cookies, sugar candy, boiled potatoes, and other things to keep you going.. I met one guy before my first marathon who had his wife waiting at mile 20 with a can of flat Coke. There are lots of options, so it's really a matter of what works for you. After my long runs and races, I eat anything in sight.. especially carbs and salty foods. My favorite is chicken soup with a big loaf of french bread and lots and lots of potato chips! Big grin Let me know what you decide on and what works for you! I'd be excited to hear of any new ideas! Good luck in your training!
        It's kind of an individual thing, and you have to do a little experimenting to find what works best for you. Before my training runs, of any distance (10-20 miles) I never eat anything. Before my marathons, I usually have a banana, half a bagel, and a sports drink. During the race, I take about a quarter-cup of sports drink (usually its gatorade) at each aid station, and I take one gu about every five miles. I take it right before an aid station so I can wash it down. It's really your choice whether you want to take it with water or sports drink (although you'll hear all kinds of opinions on this). I know I don't need the gu at mile 5 or 10, but I know I'm going to hit glycogen depletion about mile 20. In fact, when I race a half-marathon, I never use the aid stations or take any gu. However, in a marathon, taking them early on helps avoid 'bonking' later. In 17 marathons, I have never bonked. I am a firm believer that if you train and replenish properly, hitting the wall is not inevitable. As to the type of gu--there are a lot of brands out there. I echo and stress what vicentefrijole said--test and experiment before your race. Also--the week before my marathons, I usually focus on protein (muscle repair, etc) the first half of the week, and focus on carbs a couple days before the marathon. After the marathon? Like vicente, I eat whatever I want. Usually the stuff I have been denying myself during training, and don't give it a second thought. I will also add this caveat--after 17 marathons, I am still learning. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt.
        My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48
          The one thing it took me a while to learn - and I'm still forgetting it occassionally - is that for me at least, eating something during any 90 minute plus run will make a vast difference in the quality of the run, in the I feel, in how much I enjoy it, and in how much I get out of it ... and how I feel after. I did a 12 mile trail run on Saturday that took me 2 plus hours (the trails are pretty technical). My stomach was empty, and even though I did take a Gu, I had no water and wasn't about to swallow one without it. (I've tried that a couple times ... and don't recommend it). By Mile 7, I was hungry. The rest of the run was no fun, and probably a lot less useful to me, because I was hurting on the inside. Dumb. The dumbest part is I got a fuel belt for X-mas, and could have taken it with me. I hear you on not liking the gels, etc ... but their great benefit is the combination of instant energy and portability. Frankly, I'd rather have a toasted peanut butter sandwich at mile 15 of a 22 mile training run, but they are really, really hard to carry. Smile (Although I have swung by home and actually made one!) I think the biggest secret I've picked up is the importance of eating BEFORE I actually feel hungry. If I listened to my body, I'd never take a Gu before mile 11 or 12 or so. But when I instead take one at mile 6, and once every 45-60 minutes, it makes a big, big difference. (Strangely enough, that's pretty much just what the directions on the box say, too. Go figure). Ultimately, it really is all experimentation, I think. And nothing is useful if it doesn't work for YOU. After another 50 marathons, I might have the nutrition figured out for me ... but that doesn't mean my experience will necessarily help you. I agree on the sports drink comments, by the way: there are some serious calories in some of them, and they can get you through pretty well. I usually take both Gatorade and water at every stop. And I too have heard of the flat coke thing - I know its big in ultras. Might try it. And believe it or not, in the latter stages of a marathon, a few swallows of beer really truly seems to help. Not sure if its sodium or the carbs or what, but I've had half a cup in two marathons and nothing seemed to work as well. This may be entirely in my head, of course. BTW ... Chuck Norris claimed that pancakes with lots of syrup was his favorite big breakfast before a karate tournament. So you might be onto something. Smile
          E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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          Go Pre!

            This is a great thread. It's good to try some of these during the long training runs and see what works best. I have had luck with Cliff Bars and Cliff Bar Shot Blocks (like jelly squares) And diluted Gatorade is my preferred long run bevvie. With my first Marathon on the horizon I am looking for help in finishing...any help!~


            Go Pre!

              My post race nutrition has been copious amounts of white wine or beer. I have had a few nasty Monday mornings...trying to quench thirst with wine is dangerous!
                And believe it or not, in the latter stages of a marathon, a few swallows of beer really truly seems to help. Not sure if its sodium or the carbs or what, but I've had half a cup in two marathons and nothing seemed to work as well. This may be entirely in my head, of course.
                About the beer thing...I was working at an aid staition on the Auburn International Triathlon last year and one of the runners couldn't believe we didn't have beer to pas Surpriseds out, along with the water and sports drink. I couldn't tell if he was serious or not! I guess he was! Black eye Thanks to everyone for the input...I have a plan of action for this weekend's 18 mile, that included pancakes with syrup, fruit juice, lots of water, and gel. Last weekend I tried the Sports Beans (Jelly Belly), but when I read the label yesterday, I think I needed more than just my 1oz. bag for my 3 hour run....may try those again next week. I fugure the portability and compactness of the gel might be worth gagging it down, whereas the jelly beans are bulkier, and they melt in my hand! l.. I'll try it. And I'll still have a few more long training runs after that to experiment. As far as post-run consumption? a chocolate milk, cold coke, and salty potata chips! Nothing tastes better!
                Next up: A 50k in ? Done: California-Oregon-Arizona-Nevada (x2)-Wisconsin-Wyoming-Utah-Michigan-Colorado
                  My post race nutrition has been copious amounts of white wine or beer. I have had a few nasty Monday mornings...trying to quench thirst with wine is dangerous!
                  Beer - yes. It is the single and only thing I crave after a marathon. Followed by pizza. But white wine? Dear God, you must have some truly harsh Mondays ...
                  E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                    Landy: Another thing - at the run Trent directed, they had these Jolly Rancher hard candies, but they were kind of chewy instead of just hard. I grabbed a couple at mile 22 or so (even though I was skeptical), and they seemed to work miracles. My stomach didn't want to swallow, but I could suck on one of those things and pump sugar and calories into my system. Not sure where they got them, but I'm going to find out. I'd heard of hard candy before, but I'd never seen any like this. Very cool.
                    E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                    Go Pre!

                      But white wine? Dear God, you must have some truly harsh Mondays ...
                      The wine was a one time thing, after the half M in Oct....that was a rough Monday. Otherwise it's been beer. The good news? Now that I have been running again, consistently this time, for a full year, I seem to be invincible , with releatively no hangovers. the last few times I have gotten excessive have yielded relatively painless aftermaths. Even this past New Years...I would have been bedridden for 2 days in my old sloth like fitness....but I managed to get in a painless afternoon run. I did pass up the Resolution 9K race we had scheduled as the early morning wooziness (still drunk?) had me 'thinking' all day bed, but after a good greasy breakfast all was good.


                      madness baby

                        The good news? Now that I have been running again, consistently this time, for a full year, I seem to be invincible , with releatively no hangovers. the last few times I have gotten excessive have yielded relatively painless aftermaths.
                        Okay, I just joined this group just to reply to this post. I started lurking, but hadn't committed because I'm a virgin marathoner and, well, I haven't signed up for my first marathon yet. So Daddyo, are you telling me that there is a possibility of having lighter hangovers by being in better shape!?! This is great news and even more reason for me to keep up running just to see if it works for me. Although if I don't have a hangover, how can I convince my hubby that I (*begin whiny voice*) *NEED* In N Out Burger the morning after? Seems harder to justify. . . Seriously, though, thanks everyone for posting suggestions on nutrition. I'm learning a lot. I usually try to hold out on my Gu until I feel like I need it, but maybe I should just consistently take it at mile 5 on longer runs. I also have a problem with getting really hungry on runs and am trying to learn what I need in my system before a morning run. Not yogurt, that I know. Good idea about pancakes. Add some chocolate chips and I'd be one happy girl.
                        deb


                        Go Pre!

                          haha - it's always time for In n Out Burger! Keep running and you can get away with it too! So, as for when to ingest the GU, it is always a personal, trial and error thing...but take it from Jake, he is usually pretty good for advice, seeing as he is just a tad into the whole running thing! Good luck on the swsitch from the half to full M !