Eat, Drink, and be Muddy!
Last week’s training run had us cover the last half of the Knee Knacker course. It made for a nice run, but it was also a relatively long time to be out on the trails. Now that our training runs have become longer, you must remember to hydrate and ingest sufficient calories to get you through your training in good health.
How have you felt after your most recent long run? Sore legs and feet are par for the course. Were you thirsty most of the day? Did you have an appetite at the end of your run, or did you have to wait before considering eating? If you are fueling properly, you should not be thirsty and your appetite should be fine (OK….maybe a 15 minute recovery after trying to out-sprint your buddy in the last kilometer).
Tests have shown that a 2% to 3% drop in hydration levels can affect a 30-minute, 10km performance by 2.5 minutes. Since we’re looking at a substantially longer event, imagine how that will effect your result.
While we all like the feeling of running light and unencumbered, some people may opt to travel too light (i.e. insufficient or no fuel) on these training runs. We have to remember that the point is to properly condition our bodies to carry us through the distance, not punish them into submission.
There are ways to minimize the amount of fuel we carry without sacrificing our fitness:
- Gels are among the most compact and dense source of calories. If you don’t like gels, try honey—put some in a gel flask and add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out. (I’ve found sesame snaps to be lightweight, compact, and tasty alternates to gels.)
- Syrup wafers offer a decent caloric package. You can buy the specialty sports brand types, but if you are at a grocery store you can find a suitable replacement in the cookie aisle (hint: they’re Dutch).
- Not into solid food? Meal replacement drinks (Ensure, Boost, etc.) provide a substantial amount of calories in small containers.
Don’t forget to try some salty snacks. We’ll have many options at the race aid stations: potatoes, chips, pretzels, yams, etc.
Ultrarunners aren’t afraid to try all sorts of alternate “real food” food options like tortilla rolls with peanut butter and honey (or better yet…peanut butter & bacon), beef jerky, skim milk (preferably served on ice by your crew), jelly beans, gel cubes, fig newtons, chocolate bars, or almost anything else that you crave.
You’ll need to train your taste buds and stomach as much as your heart, lungs, and legs, so why not take some along on your training runs?
This coming Sunday’s run is notoriously refered to as “the Character Builder”. It’s a long out-and-back that will give you a very good sense of your fitness, pacing, mental tenacity, and your nutritional strategy. This is not one where you’re going to want to skimp on the calories or water.
Enjoy the weather & the training & we’ll see you on Sunday!