Food is what fuels us


The start to my Saturday morning:  Apple-Raisin French Toast

2 slices lite wheat bread

1 apple, chopped and sauteed in butter and cinnamon (I believe this would have worked just as well without the butter and only water;  the purpose of sauteeing the apples was to get them soft, and steaming with water would do the same thing)

Dash of cinnamon, or in my case, a couple of spoonfuls

I also decided to add some protein to my breakfast with eggs, sunny-side up, or as I call them, dippy eggs.

On a normal basis, I get up in the morning, lace up my running shoes and hit the door running, literally.  I have done as long as 15 mile runs without consuming a breakfast, or food of any sort in the morning.  These runs were a  success, as I somehow averaged 6:45 pace for most of my 15 mile runs.  This was only this past Fall, but I look back now and just can’t even fathom running that pace right out of bed, and for that long!

Since my marathon, I have struggled to knock my pace down.  I finally felt a sense of getting my legs back on New Year’s Eve, as I was able to complete a 12 mile run averaging 7:14 miles.

I am not going to dwell too much on pacing at this moment, as I am sure that will come down with time.  HOWEVER, I am questioning fueling for my next marathon.

I have intentions of practicing taking gels and gu’s on some of my longer training runs.  How they will work, only my body will tell me.  But since I will be a newbie to consuming fuel, I am looking to all of you fellow reader’s to give me some advice!

What do you use for fuel leading up to, during and after a workout?

Have you ever tried running on an empty stomach, and how did that go?


13 thoughts on “Food is what fuels us”

  1. Sounds delicious! You’ve got me motivated to make something fabulous now. 🙂 Hope you keep getting your pep back and your pace where you want it.

  2. I don’t generally fuel on the run unless I’m running at least 20 miles. If I’m over 12 or 15, I’ll make sure I’m drinking something other than water (with some calories in it). I take gels on occassion, but some brands don’t sit well with me at all. Took some trial and error to find ones that didn’t upset my stomach. I’ve also known people who fuel with maple syrup in a plastic flask, instead of gels. I prefer the idea of the flasks (and own a couple), since my hands don’t get so sticky and I can down as much (or as little) of the contents as I feel I need. Lately, I’ve been trying to fuel with more “real” food. My last long run was fueled with nothing but craisins. Felt surprisingly good. I’ve got a 12-hour run tonight where I’m going to try to stick to dried fruit (mangos, craisins, and pineapple – all have sugar added to them) and a couple of granola bars.

    It’s lots of trial and error to find fuel that works, but if you’ve been able to run 15 at 6:45 with no fuel, your body is obviously an efficient machine. You can probably get away with consuming less on the run than most people would have to.

    1. I like the ideas! I may try using something of that sort, like craisins or raisins. They would be small enough that I would be able to carry them. I survived both of my first marathons on the water stops alone. The second one I stopped at about half of the stops. I always hear that people who take GU’s or gels feel so much better after taking them. But then again, I hear the other side that some people have problems from using it.

  3. I always fuel up a little bit before a run…but my runs are normally late afternoon/early evening, so I’ve had all day. Still, with a 5:00-6:00 p.m. start time, I always make sure I have something about 30 minutes before hand. An apple, a banana, a breakfast bar, even a PB&J sometimes. Just something in the tank so I don’t tank out.

  4. I have been practicing/training for longer ultra’s, so I have been experimenting with different fuels and fueling strategies. There is a lot of literature found on the web and a lot that contradicts each other. It seems to me that what works for one person may not work for another. And the other comments above seem to say the same thing.
    That being said, I found that if I get behind on my fueling during my long runs I will lose energy later in the day. So I start fueling after about 40 minutes of running and keep up a predetermined schedule for the rest of the run. Remember that your body can only process a set amount of calories per hour, so you are not really advised to eat too much. I really like QT’s comment about fueling with “real” food.
    To answer your other question, I sometimes do a fasted state run, for a shorter run, with just a bit of water. I am hoping to teach my body to burn fat better.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I agree, I believe everyone’s body handles foods differently. It is interesting to see what works for each person. I purchased a few different gels and Gu’s that I will try, once I am able to get my runs long enough! I suppose all of my runs without food helped my body become “trained” to last as long as it did for my last marathon, but I know that I certainly need something in order to efficiently tackle the 26.2 miles. Maybe I should start upping my long runs now, so that I have time to practice all of these different fueling methods! haha

  5. I love the Mandarin Orange Gu’s during my long training runs, but always start with the Gatorade pre-run drink. Ive found its the only thing that doesn’t make me hungry and keeps me going! I also always eat multi-grain cheerios before a run with no milk though, just dry with a banana, coffee and glass of water. Oh and the multi-vitamins (gummies) I’ve never had any problems with my stomach on this routine and never hit the wall with this either. Only when I change it up do I have problems.

  6. I don’t have any issues running on empty, if I keep the miles to about 10. Normally, I only drink some water and maybe eat a banana before runs. But, when I do that I am STARVING post run, and likely eat way too much.

    Then again, i don’t run anywhere near your fast pace.

    1. Haha!! Post long runs, I have gone out to a breakfast buffet and definitely ate WAYYYY too much! I walk away with my stomach feeling like it sticks out about 10 meters! Hence, why I need to avoid buffet-type restaurants.

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