An Easy 3, Plus 13.1 Series: Fueling Edition

I woke up this morning debating whether I should run or not. I went over my current mileage in my head several times while laying there in bed, immersed in my warm blankets and not willing to move at all. “Well, I guess I’ll get warm once I start running,” I thought, and I dragged myself out of bed. WAHH, life is so hard. I ran an easy three miles on the treadmill and threw in some hills by adjusting the incline every so often. My longest run this week was ten miles, and my second longest run will be tomorrow. I was hoping to get in some double runs (or split runs because of the work day sandwiched in between), but I ended up going to a car dealership after work yesterday and then mysteriously happened to change into my pajamas rather than running clothes after work today.
Oh, well. There is always tomorrow!
I am aiming for a 27 mile week. Slowly the mileage is creeping back up!
Fueling for a half marathon is SUPER important. If you don’t want to “hit the wall” (run out of glycogen stores), you will need to think carefully about your fueling strategy.
Hint: Most half marathon courses will have some fuel gels at the aid stations, but I generally carry my own that way I don’t have to slow down. However, if I see a clear spot in there, I’ll grab a gel and add it to my collection!
During a half marathon, I usually take a gel around the 5-6 mile mark. This way I give my body fuel before the second half of the journey begins. You may find it beneficial to also take a gel when you are getting closer to the 13th mile. I have taken one at mile nine and felt like I had enough in the tank to push to the finish. When you start to do your longer training runs (think 6 miles (or 10K) and more), experiment with different fueling options to find what will work best for you on race day.
Hint: Don’t try any new fueling strategies on race day. Practice them before hand, that way you won’t have tummy troubles or end up bonking too early before the finish line.
Types of Fuel:
– Drinks: Think sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, Nuun, etc. If you don’t like the taste of it straight, mix it with water to dilute it but still get the carb/electrolyte benefits.
– Gels: Powerbar, Clif, Honey Stinger, etc. Most gels will have potassium and sodium in them to restore those minerals you lose through sweating. They also replenish your carbohydrate stores and helps stabilize blood sugar so you don’t feel faint or weak while running.
– Bars & Candies: Power Bars, Sport Beans, Power Bar Energy Shots, Swedish berries… Anything that will help keep your energy up. The Energy Shots from Power Bar are like a chewy, gummy candy with a fuel gel in the middle, giving you an energizing burst. They are also easy to chew when you are on the go and taste delicious!
Hint: You need to take carbs on board every 40-45 minutes that you are on the road. Rule of thumb, of course. If you are going to be running for longer than an hour, it’s definitely wise to take in some form of fuel. If you find you run better off one gel and part of a power bar, then that’s great! Again, it’s all about finding what works for you.
The biggest fueling factor when it comes to running is the amount of glycogen/sugar in the product. Also, look for higher sodium and potassium amounts as well. Additionally, some fuel gels have extra caffeine in them to put some pep in your step! Clif makes a yummy chocolate gel with caffeine in it. It tastes like brownie batter! 
Refueling:
Have a carb/protein drink within 30 minutes, and something smaller like an energy bar within an hour. At races you will find chocolate milk and food like cookies, bagels, and fruit. I generally take chocolate milk, half a bagel and either a banana or an apple if they are offered (or both). This way I get my protein/carbs in with my chocolate milk (it has the ideal ratio of both for muscle recovery), and more carbs/vitamins and minerals with the bagel and fruit. If you can, eat a full meal within two hours. This will also help your muscles recover and keep your metabolism revved.
Hint: Coffee helps with recovery. A recent study shows that caffeine rebuilds glycogen stores 66% more than a carb-only drink. It can also help you run faster, so a cup of java with your breakfast before the race is a good choice!
I hope this was helpful for you! If you have any post requests, leave a comment or drop me an email! I will have a post up about recovering after a run soon 🙂

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