Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fueling Missteps

I have a confession. I’ve been a bit lazy on my fueling while I run. This morning during my 9 mile marathon pace run, in between thoughts about what Justin Bieber’s voice will sound like once he hits puberty and how I would totally wear man-diapers if I was trying to Boston Qualify, I was thinking about how I really don’t eat gels much anymore. (Side note, run was incredible. 9 miles at 7:20 pace – which is 8.25 miles per hour. I think I’m finally hitting a good groove after all of my shit-show runs over the last two weeks)

I ran out of gels a few weeks back and haven’t really thought about buying more. I’ll just mix some super strong Gatorade and figure that ‘carbs is carbs’ and sweat out whatever miles that I had on the schedule. My reasoning? I haven’t died yet so it must be fine. For that matter, that reasoning works well for all sorts of situations. Eating raw chicken, using a public pay phone, using port o’ pots at races…..you get the idea.

Here is what I should be doing:

  • Carrying water on runs longer than 20 minutes
  • Helping old ladies across the street
  • Carrying an electrolyte drink on runs longer than 45 minutes
  • Eating gels every 45 minutes (6 miles or so) on runs longer than 10 miles


Here is what I am actually doing:

  • NO water or anything on any runs shorter than 7 miles
  • Stealing old lady’s purses for delicious hard candy
  • One bottle of Gatorade for runs between 7 miles and 14 miles
  • Gels every 7 or so miles for runs longer than 15 miles


I was reminded of this after I got back from a run at 5:50am and went for one of my wife’s scotcharoos as a ‘recovery meal’. Just like the Bill Cosby comedy bit about letting his kids eat Chocolate Cake for breakfast, the list of ingredients went through my head and all seemed to be essentially a how-to guide to recovery:

  • Karo Syrup: Basically carbs wrapped in clear liquid gold
  • Rice Crispies: More carbs, like a poppin’ party in your mouth
  • Leprechaun Tears: Aids in carb absorption
  • Peanut Butter: Protein and fat to not only heal my muscles but soothe my soul
  • Ground up Unicorn horn: Aids in fertility
  • Butter: I’m pretty sure 50% of powerbars are butter anyway


So, as you can see, I was doing my body a favor by chowing down on some homemade recovery. To be clear, I’m not going to get all Becky Home-makey and start making my own gels, but I do think that I’m going to continue to see what other normal food options are out there for fuel. Well, that and I’m going to buy some gels. I really need to get back to eating them every 6 miles or so on my runs.  All of those crappy runs over the past two weeks can't be 100% coincidence.

How about everyone else? Have you been fueling like you are supposed to be?

43 comments:

giraffy said...

I *may* get really excited about my long runs because they're an excuse to down some GU, and I love that creepy stuff.

Katie said...

electrolyte drink? bah, what's that? i only do that crap when it's hot out. and i carry gels once i get past the 10M mark, but only because it tastes like delicious brownie batter and i have no other excuse to eat one. although lately i have been running zero miles so i've been fueling properly with ice cream every evening. ok, this comment is useless. happy day!

Chelsea said...

oh my GOD SCOTCHEROOS. No one else seems to ever know what they are! We slice ours into rows & then super thin little wafers. So that way you can eat 100.

I feel stupid sometimes taking my fuel belt/water bottle out with me on my 7+ mile runs, but, damnit I'm slow and thirsty. And will be out there 60+ mins. So.

finishingfirsts.com said...

I guess if you're not getting sick or dying, then you're ok haha. And scotheroos? Those look amazing.

Average A said...

I'm just glad I'm not the only one with a candy fetish -- and that I'm not the only one who robs old ladies for that same reason.

LB said...

im trying to get back on the "proper fueling" train too, but its so much easier (and yummier) to eat total crap. i must have the recipe for that peanut butter/chocolate goodness!!!!

run4may said...

Check you e-mail. I think I can help.

Caroline said...

hmmm NO. Monday I went for the 5 miler from hell. It was almost 90. I took NO water. No nothing. I almost died. I know I am an idiot. I got really dehydrated, really fast. Swollen hands and all. Not Good.

Laurie said...

I also steal old ladies' purses for delicious hard candy. Velamints, yum!

Kate said...

If it made me run as fast as you, I'd eat all that stuff. And then some. Except the unicorn horn. I have plenty kids, and one of my students just asked me if I was pregnant, so I won't be taking any chances with that crap. (Coincidentally, that student also has about 3 lunch detentions, so HE won't be taking any more chances with speculating on MY fertility*).

I guess running more and training harder might help me a bit more than the food options, but that requires more work. Damn.

I carry water for a 2-mile run. I carry the same amount for a 10 mile run. It makes me happy to have it there. For long runs I try to remember to GU every 45 minutes...sometimes it's the only thing I have to look forward to.

*not really, but it's a tempting thought.

Amanda@runninghood said...

I will have to pass on the ground up unicorn tip to all my friends trying to get knocked up. Thanks for the the useful information Adam. Nice pace for your 9 miler!

One Crazy Penguin said...

I'm terrible about fueling. I mean well, but on most of my long runs I just use water. I use gels in races, but it just gets so darn expensive to use them in training too! Plus, I'm lazy.

danny said...

I was going to give Adam "pack the kitchen sink when I go running" Boring Runner credit for choosing to not fuel/drink during runs under 3 hours, but then he started looking into alternative natural fuel options. Sigh.

Bring back the 70s and all its minimalistic running (and the short shorts and crazy hair)!

Pritch said...

Thanks for the reminder. I too need to start carrying water on my weekly runs and pick up some GU before Saturday.

Tara said...

I've been fueling with a combination of wine and baked cheetos (totally good for you cuz they ARE baked).

I would think that the thought of Justin Biebers voice would rocket fuel you to the end of any run. I know that I would want that voice out of my head as quickly as possible.

Suza said...

I've recently tried raw sugar cane for the first time... It's so yummy!

I read somewhere that it could be an energy drink, but it has a low glycemic index

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/raw-sugar-cane.html

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

The less you eat on a run the better chance you have of avoiding the wall. It's a fact.

Barefoot Neil Z said...

Gels and I started dating a while back. Sometimes they forget to call and I feel bad. Just to make up for feeling bad I eat 2 every night before bed.

What?

Barefoot Neil Z said...

Ps. If I get below about 45-50 gels in the house, I get nervous and start entering online contests...

Barefoot Neil Z said...

What?

Jamoosh said...

I don't need a review of scotcharoos as a recovery meal; I need a review of scotcharoos as an actual running fuel - although they do not appear to come in a convenient pouch...

TutuRunner said...

why not blend up scotcharoos (and leprechauns) into your gatorade syrup? bingo.

Jess said...

I know I used to use Shot Bloks for HM training and racing, but then, over time, I discovered, I didn't really need them. I just drink water.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

This is going to sound odd, but on certain days I will intentionally NOT hydrate or fuel properly. The reason is two-fold: First, so my body learns to use less and still perform; Second, so if it happens on race day it will not be foreign to my mind or body - been there, done that - now push through it and do what is necessary to make it right.

Another bonus that happened while doing this is that by underfueling myself I have learned the signs of when I need to fuel and can now make the necessary adjustments.

I look at it like an NFL offense. If you only practice the plays as the are drawn up then what is going to happen on gameday when the RB whiffs blocking the Defensive End? What do the WR's do? What does the QB do? Does the RB peel back and try again or jump into the flats to catch a pass? -- Basically you got to practice when things don't go as planned, just like in running!

C2Iowa said...

We are supposed to be fueling? crap. missed that one.

Shawn said...

I only fuel or carry water for runs longer than 10 miles. No pain no gain man. With that being said, I hope I don't end up on the ground somewhere suc king water out of a puddle!....cheers

Angela Pea said...

Fueling? Peanut butter and banana sandwich, before and after. Water? A must where I run and it's 110 outside. I'll carry water even for a 5k warmup.

Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run said...

I'm terrible at fueling but mostly because I can't find much that agrees with my stomach on a run. I don't drink or eat anything under 7 miles either. The water thing will change soon though, it's starting to get HOT in Orlando.

Oh...hi by the way. I don't think I've evern commented here before but I do read.

Morgan said...

You kill me sometimes you know that? Leprechaun Tears and grinded up Unicorn horn? LMAO!

dcrunographer said...

I've been pretty guilty of insufficient fueling on runs, too. But with the weather warming up (hopefully), I won;t have much of a choice.

JessiePants said...

Leprechan tears and ground unicorn horn, yet another benefit to live in the city...everyone just looks at me cross-eyed when I ask for them at the groceries here in the sticks.
I think you are wise to explore your food/nutritional avenues, but also think that gels are helpful. Have you tried chia or hemp seeds in any capacity?

Runners Fuel said...

I eat chomps while running (over 10 miles). I always carry water, I get soooo thirsty when I run, I have to. That looks like a healthy recovery treat to me.

Nitmos said...

I don't drink any water or Gu's or ANY food on runs 12 miles or less mainly because I'm not a pansy. Enjoy your "scotcheroo", pansy.

Penny said...

I take my water bottle and my gu gels on my long runs. That Scotceroo sure looks good. My hubby love those things. Great Carb Load

Dash said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have no luck with gels, and every year I keep saying I'm going to start taking them on long runs. But I fail and just stick with gatorade. I don't bring anything for 6 milers, but I do guzzle a whole bottle of gatorade down before walking out the door.

Luke said...

just run with a rolled up pizza and a beer dispensing hat and be done with it.

BrianFlash said...

I've got Gu in the house that is past its expiration date. Gu expires?!

Trying to go with real food, water with Nuun, and Gatoraid the last year or so - seems to be working just fine.

kilax said...

I'm happy you are feeling better and having good runs!

I do properly fuel during running, but I think maybe you don't need to since you are so much faster than me?

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

Bringing back the Cosby Show! Love it! Those Scotcharoos sound delicious...

The Banter said...

I'd like some of those hard candies you stole from grandma's purse. Either that or a medium pizza. Both sound good.

Running Through Phoenix said...

Man I'm a gel eatin' fool! I love the Gu gels but only use them sparingly on runs greater than 8 miles. I try to carry water on anything more than 45 minutes especially in the hotter times. Post long run, I drink a big cold Coconut water. Love that stuff. No gatorade or other sugary mixes. I don't really like them. See ya.

Shelly said...

Gels? Blocks? Beans? Stingers? Are you kidding, I thought that was the point of running, so we can eat all that yummy kids candy stuff and not feel guilty.

How about sharing that scotch-er-oo recipe. I ran today <>.

Glenn Jones said...

Hmm. Carry around a bottle of Karo on a long run. Yeah. That's the ticket!