Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fueling for the Long Run

Sooooo humid and muggy today!

I ran nine miles on the Towpath with the Turtles.  The last part of the run was a half-mile hill (5% grade), so we got to finish strong by running downhill.

After the run, we had a lovely tour of the Mustill Store, one of Akron's FREE museums that show the history of the canal and lock system.  Bonus:  the store sells popsicles!  Anyway, the nice docent talked to us about what the canal used to look like in the Akron area.  He also explained where the Blue Line for the Akron Half and Full Marathons used to go in previous years, and in return, we sweated all over the floor of the museum.

The Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1870s

The Ohio and Erie Canal today

Sheila, the coach for the Towpath Turtles and OneLife Fitness, talked to us about finding the best pre-run fuel for long run days.  As this is one area that I feel I have covered in my fitness regime, I thought I would write about it today.

My long, slow run is always on a Sunday because that is the day that my husband is home from work, so he can be with the kids while I am out for a few hours.  I look forward to Sundays because I can spend some quality time by myself (or with fellow runners), and because I actually get to EAT YUMMY FOOD for breakfast.  Normally, during the week I run on an empty stomach, and after the run I eat oatmeal with fruit or cereal with fruit, but Sunday is my day to eat what I want, and what I want is a bagel with cream cheese.

Hello, Beautiful.  Come to Mama.
I have a Panera just down the street from me, and my husband has NO PROBLEMS going to get bagels for the family, so I have made Panera bagels and cream cheese a part of my long, slow distance (LSD!) for three years now.  I am partial to blueberry bagels, and my husband loves the chocolate chip bagels.

It was incredibly lucky for me that Panera has decided to sponsor the Akron Marathon this year, and even better when they asked me if Panera's meals were a part of my training for the Half Marathon.  Ummm, yeah!  So, now I get to share my blog with all of you who are training for running the Blue Line.  (I received a gift card to Panera in order to supplement my training meals, but all opinions are my own.  The only way I'll ever unabashedly shill for a company is if it's a WINE COMPANY, and even then it has to be a wine I like.  I'm still waiting for that opportunity to explain how wine is an important part of my training.)

In any case, the bagel with a shmear of cream cheese has about 440 calories, and with a cup of hazelnut coffee, I am raring to go for at least six miles.  Panera has a training menu for the Akron marathon, and it does have some really interesting choices for pre- and post-run fuel, but I am hooked on the bagel.  Not only does it fuel my body properly, it perks me up at 5:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and it gives me a reason to look forward to the long run.

The most important thing about food/nutrition choices is that you have to experiment until you find something that works for your body and what you intend to do.  I know runners who eat bananas with peanut butter, English muffins, oatmeal. . . you name it.  If it helps your body to be strong and run efficiently, then you should eat it.

The second most important thing about food/nutrition choices is that when you find something that works for your runs and your races, DON'T CHANGE IT!!!  I would never decide to change up my pre-run breakfast for a race; that's a bunch of craziness waiting to happen.

So. . . to sum up:

Pre-run fuel:  Panera bagel with plain cream cheese (about a tablespoon), hazelnut coffee with Thin Mint creamer

Fuel during run:  Chocolate Outrage GU (see my post about fueling during the run)

Post-run recovery:  1 cup of tortellini salad.  Somebody should tape my mouth shut.  Seriously, what was I thinking?  

Maybe by next week I will be psychologically prepared enough to examine my stupid food choices after the long run.

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout.