How to: fuel your runs and races

Man, this has been such a busy week! It was my first week back to school after spring break and I couldn’t seem to find time to sit down and write a new blog post…but I finally found some time today:)

Anything to do with running excites me, so writing a post all about how I fuel for my everyday runs and races sounded like a great idea! I run 6 days a week most of the year, and I have run for about 6 years now, so I’ve definitely got this fueling thing down. Once I switched to a gluten-free diet a few weeks ago, I tweaked my pre-race meals a bit, but overall I have eaten the same way for a few years now.

Pre-Run Fueling:

I usually run in the morning at around 7AM, so I don’t eat much. I stick to a half a banana, but almost always have a GU (I’m slightly addicted…I want to try to make my own healthy version. I like the caffeine and quick carbs.)

Banana in slices     Bananas seem to work perfect for me because they digest well and I can eat them 15-20 minutes before a run and still feel great. The potassium also prevents cramping. Some people can’t eat anything solid before they run, but I’m always hungry when I wake up, so I have to have something small like a half a banana.

IMG_1890   GU energy gels have worked wonders for me over the years…I know loads of people who don’t like them or can’t stomach them, but they help my energy level greatly. I take the tri-berry w/ caffeine on easy days and the expresso love w/ 2x caffeine on hard workout days or races. I take them 10-20 minutes before my runs. Sometimes I get sick of  the flavors, so I switch off between other GU flavors such as the vanilla, chocolate, plain, or roctane island nectar.

I occasionally need more food when I’m running longer (probably anything over 8 miles), so lately I have been grabbing a rice cake with a little sunflower butter, agave nectar, and cinnamon. You can also add a few slices of banana to amp up the carbs!

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Pre-Race Fueling:

Two hours before a race, I usually always eat a gluten-free waffle sandwich with almond butter, raisins, agave nectar, and cinnamon. (So tasty!)

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The waffle sandwich has become my perfect pre-race meal because it has just the right amount of carbohydrates and also fills me up and leaves me feeling satisfied. I have never felt sick or heavy after eating one of these!

I also eat a half a banana about 20-30 minutes before my races if I feel the need to. Don’t forget to drink lots of water as well! (But not too much, my dad’s friend almost died of overconsumption of water!)

Expresso love flavored GU is also taken 15 minutes before my races with a few gulps of water.

Pre-Race Fueling (The night or morning before):

I try to eat a meal rich in carbohydrates two nights before and the night before a race. If you are running a half marathon or longer, you should start carbo loading 72 hours before your race, but if you usually run shorter races like me, you don’t need to overdo it.

A typical meal for me might be chicken, quinoa, and salad; chicken, brown rice, and salad; turkey, kale, and a large sweet potato; turkey, kale, and a baked potato; or a pasta dish with chicken and a salad (not pictured).

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If I have an afternoon race, I eat a carbohydrate rich breakfast such as oatmeal or kefir with berries, gluten-free granola, agave nectar, and cinnamon.

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I hope you enjoyed my fueling post!

What do you eat before your runs and races? 

Are you a GU fanatic like me?

When’s your next race?

Jenny (:

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I Hope You Like Eggs

If you are vegan or don’t enjoy eggs, then these recipes aren’t for you. Otherwise, they are great breakfast ideas for after a hard workout or run! Or just if you want a yummy and nutritious breakfast. These recipes contain a nice balance of carbs, fats, and protein to fuel you for your next workout and help your body recover.

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If you are like me, you love oatmeal but you also want to include protein in your first meal of the day. The solution? Egg white oatmeal of course!

EGG WHITE OATMEAL

-1 cup of water

-1/3 cup steel cut or old fashioned oats

1/3 cup egg whites (or 2 egg whites)

-Pinch of salt

-Cinnamon to taste

-1 tablespoon of flaxseeds

-Optional (but highly recommended) toppings: fruit or raisins, granola, nut butter of choice (I used homemade pecan butter), and shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

-Bring water to a boil and then add the oats and salt and bring oatmeal to a medium heat

-Let oatmeal cook for 7-9 minutes or until oats are soft but some water still remains

-Mix egg whites in a separate bowl with fork or whisk until they are fluffy and bubbly (do this while the oatmeal is cooking)

-Turn down to low and add egg whites slowly; stir continuously for 2-3 minutes or until the oatmeal is creamy

-Add the cinnamon and flax seeds and take it off the stove

-Add additional toppings and enjoy! 🙂

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(recipe modified from gethealthywithheather.wordpress.com)

Next up is another egg recipe that I cooked for my dad this morning…an easy and simple omelet!

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Omelets are perfect for athletes because they contain healthy fats and protein along with Vitamin K and healthy cholesterol. They’re also great because you can add veggies and extra protein to them to make them an even better option after a workout. Eating an omelet with some fruit or sprouted grain toast would enhance the carb content of your meal.

SPINACH AND TURKEY OMELET

-2-3 eggs (depending on egg size, 2 large or 3 small/medium)

-1 cup of spinach, ripped up into pieces

-1 slice of oven roasted turkey, chopped into pieces

-Parmesan or Romano cheese to taste (about 2 tablespoons)

-Garlic powder to taste

Directions:

-Combine eggs, spinach, turkey, cheese, and garlic powder in a bowl and mix well

-Turn stove top on medium high and spray lightly with olive oil

-After heated, add the egg mixture and let it cook for 3-4 minutes

-Using a large spatula, fold the egg in half and flip it over

-Let the egg cook for 2-3 more minutes and then it is done!

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Feel free to add more cheese if you like (my dad LOVES cheese) and a little paprika on top as well.

(modified from a Runner’s World recipe)

Enjoy and have a great day!

Jenny