That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Eating on the run!

Running a marathon certainly gives this phrase a new meaning!

I never thought I would eat while working out, but actually, it's counterproductive not to fuel your body on long runs. The probably is, it's not exactly easy to eat while moving. I didn't think this would be a problem, I am a very good eater. However, you have to consider several things:

Carrying the food

Unwrapping it while moving

Not choking

Getting rid of the wrapper/container without littering

The other issue is that your body doesn't really enjoy having to multitask. It is working hard enough to keep you moving forward, adding the extremely energy consuming process of digestion is asking a lot.

That is why it essential to find the most easily digestible sources of energy possible. Which unfortunately seems to mean, carbohydrates highly processed into sugar and chemical filled gels.

There are lots of things, some even contain real fruit puree, but most seem pretty synthetic. The problem with things like dates or 100% fruit leather is the fiber. Fiber while running is not a good idea.

Selecting a gel, Gu, power shot block, sports bean or power bar is kind of fun at first.

At every long run we display what we found, trade a cran raspberry cliff shot block for a blueberry one. Show off the new flavor of Sports Beans made by Jelly Belly.

However, in the end, you just wants something that will give you the boost you need without screwing with your stomach.

My first few runs of more than 6 miles I tried the power gels. The Double Latte flavor gave me a good buzz, and the gel was easy to swallow, but queasiness ensued moments later.

My next experiment was with the Clif Shot blocks (which are supposedly a bit more natural). These immediately reminded me of Shark Fruit Snacks from my childhood. So yummy. We now trade Shot Block Flavors like I traded shark snacks for Gushers in third grade. But they are really big, quite chewy, and again the stomach was not very happy with me.

So this week I tried sports beans made by Jelly Belly. Basically they are massive Jelly Bellies enhanced with a few vitamins and electrolytes. Man they are good, like a perfect 100 calorie movie snack. But as my coach said, I eat the beans because I love eating them, but they don't really give me any energy. I concur. These were probably the worst on my stomach so far.

So here are a few things I am going to try in the future:

Gu gels, which are much better on the stomach than the power ones I hear.

Carb-boom gels, very mild on the tummy and all natural--hard to find

Honey packets stolen from Starbucks--no frills!

I also have to invest in a fuel belt. I have tried to keep it no frills by carrying my water and safety pining my gels to my shorts, but it is time to admit that the pretentious looking belts are hand when you are running for 3 hours!

Here's to Good Eats!