Back to Basics: How to Fuel for a Run

Happy April everyone! Running season is upon us and it’s the time of year where I receive the most questions.  So in the spirit of the season, this month I am going back to basics with (the appropriately named) Back to Basics Series. Yay!!

Last week, a coworker and I got into a discussion about fuel.  He scored an amazing deal (like $3?! Normally $33) on a 24-count box of Honey Stingers that were “about to expire”…in August! If you’re training for a half marathon you could definitely eat all those by August. What a lucky dog…

Long story short, I get a lot of questions about fueling. How much? How often? Which kinda? Well if you haven’t figured it out by now, today I want to talk to you about…

Do I need to consume fuel during my run?

It’s important to know that fuel is only necessary for runs longer than 60 minutes, regardless of the distance. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3 miles or 7 miles, after 60 minutes your body needs carbs.

How often should I take in fuel during my run?

The ideal rule is 1 package every 45 minutes. So if you plan to run over an hour, start at minute 45, then another an an hour and 30 minutes and so on. If your stomach is feeling “off” or you feel full, don’t feel like it is mandatory to take something.  Listen to your body.

Which kind of fuel should I consume?

Beer!  Kidding.  Don’t do that.  I did that once during a race. I immediately regretted that decision. The most popular fuel is gel. They come in a variety of flavors and are easy to carry with you. Next are chews, which are pretty much like gummies. They are a nice way to switch it up if you get tired of eating gel and want something to chew, hence the name. Next up, sport beans!! Basically jelly beans you feel less guilty about eating. Sport beans are a favorite of mine around mile 17 of the marathon when you are losing your mind and all you can do is count beans…yeahhhh. Frankly, none are greater than the either. Experiment and see which one works/tastes best for you!

So there you have it!  The basics of fueling!  I didn’t include hydration in this post because that is a separate post in itself 🙂

Happy running!

 

Running While Sick- To Do or Not To Do

Disclaimer: If you are ill, please consult your doctor for medical advice. I am not a doctor and I am writing from my own experience and research.

Runners are creatures of habit. We LOVE routines. This mostly works in our favor (determination, consistency, etc.), but there are situations when it can be our worst enemy. Running while sick can fall into that category.

Yesterday I had a very minor surgery where the doctors removed some cysts from my head. Fun times right? Like any seasoned runner, the first thing I asked the doctor post-OP was if I could run the following day. I imagine the doctor doesn’t hear that question very often.  He advised me to see how I felt and go from there.  Sounds reasonable right? But how do you determine the difference between an excuse or a legit concern?

Women’s Running posted an article in 2013 with a handy dandy flow chart that makes it easy to figure out if you should run or not.

sick_flowchart

Link to the full article here: http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/06/training-tips/too-sick-to-run_13620#wTVZ04cS2ujIKeQD.97

I always ask my clients this, “does the illness pass the neck test?” If you are congested and that’s really it, go for a run!  It can actually help clear you out and temporarily alleviate the discomfort. On the other hand, if you have been vomiting, have stomach issues, and/or muscle fatigue, skip it. Running while experiencing these issues could only make matters worse.

You might be thinking, “well there goes my training and I won’t meet my goal!” Well not so fast.  There are other ways to train for running without actually running. Yeah…I am about to blow your mind people. Training encompasses so much than the physical aspect.  There is mental training, nutrition, education, fashion…okay I threw that last one in there 😛

Here are some other “cross-training” ideas:

-Read an inspirational book. Two of my all time favorites are Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek.

-Watch a movie about sports.  I have to say, Rocky gets me every time.

-Research new healthy recipes to try out. Don’t worry I already did the heavy lifting for you with Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hollym604/healthy-food/

-Treat yourself to some new gear via online shopping.  Don’t spread your illness at the store 😛

 

Take the rest day and give your body a chance to do its job. You’ll be back at it soon enough.

Happy running my friends!