[097] Nutrition (part II)

Swim: 0 m/90,745 m

Bike: 15.6/798.9 miles

Run: 14.4/258.8 miles

In my last post I issued a call for advice from runners and triathletes about what types of nutrition they use during long training sessions. I got a great response here, by email, on Daily Mile and on Twitter, and I wanted to share some of the best tips and recommendations that I received.

For today’s long run, which was *only* 9.4 miles, I took along some Jelly Belly Sport Beans (because I already had some at home), but I have several products that I want to try out once I can make it to the local bike or running store. I thought the Sport Beans did the job, but it reminded me how it can be kind of hard to tell a difference. When you don’t take a supplement, you can feel totally dead by the end of a run, but when you do take one you just feel less dead. I don’t remember ever feeling a huge boost from a supplement, just a subtle continuation of the ability to continue running at a decent pace. Running hard over a long distance is still an exhausting undertaking, and taking a supplement isn’t going to make you feel at mile 9 the same way you felt at mile 2. Right? Maybe I’ve just been doing it wrong. . .

Anyway, here’s a sampling of the feedback I received:

– Clif Shot Bloks are very highly recommended. It seems like a lot of athletes are moving toward more solid types of nutrition over gus and gels (although lots of people still recommended those as well). The Shot Bloks contain 33 calories each, so you can customize the amount of nutrition you’re taking in to meet your needs. One responder added that the body can handle about 200-300 calories per hour during exercise. 

– Nuun gets lots of good reviews as a sports/electrolyte drink that isn’t heavy like Gatorade but still provides lots of benefits beyond plain old water. Many people (including me) don’t worry about taking more than water for runs of about 10 miles or less, but almost everyone mentioned Nuun (or similar supplements, such as Endurolytes) for longer sessions.

– Some people mentioned more natural foods such as simple fruits like dates, raisins or even a banana, while others wrote of making their own all-natural gels and food bars.

– As far as carrying these items, many runners use fuel belts (lots of people prefer the two-bottle variety), and some people simply plan their long routes to loop back to their homes or cars to refuel.

– On the bike, some people purchase accessories such as pocketed cycling shirts or bento boxes that attach to the top frame. Other mentioned low-tech ideas such as tucking gels into the leg of their tri shorts or simply taping them to the frame of the bike for easy access.

I’m very thankful for all the responses, and now I have lots of new products and routines to experiment with. I’ll report back with my findings.

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2 Responses to [097] Nutrition (part II)

  1. David H. says:

    You’re doing some awesome things with your training and giving yourself the time to experiment with different things with nutrition is one of the smartest things you can do. It’s a never-ending challenge and I always keep my options open. One thing I’m doing differently this summer is drinking a big glass of milk after a long or hard or sweaty run instead of sports drink. It seems to work well with a quicker recovery.

  2. thanks for the banana shout-out! i’m a newbie shotblox user, but so far they’re very convenient. Yesterday I first ran 5.5 miles, downed a whole package of shotblox, and then rode my bike to a 5k, it seemed to be enough energy and filling enough to hold my stomach happy until it was time for post run food.

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