Fueling is a topic all runners need to consider. What to eat before, during and after a run. There's a lot of information out there about fueling. Let's peel back the layers and take a look.

Stephanieruns Fitness

January 27, 2019 Newsletter

Let's Talk About Running Fuels

As runners we know how to lace up and get out the door for a training run but sometimes fueling for that run stumps us. Fueling is a huge topic for runners. Often we put fueling on the back burner until we have that first long run where we don't feel great when we get home because we didn't have enough in the tank to execute our run as planned. The worst thing a runner could do would be to run a distance race without any fueling strategy.

Now fueling is a huge topic with lots of information to go over. It's also a topic where runners have a lot of questions. So much like when I did my strength training for runners series of newsletters this topic will also be spread out across a couple of newsletters. This also gives you a fantastic opportunity to send me any questions you have about fueling, because I know you probably have a lot of them. One newsletter issue will answer the questions you've sent me about fueling. 

The topic of fueling includes what you eat/drink before, during and after a run. It also includes carbohydrate loading which occurs days before you race. Fueling can be very confusing. Asking what is the best running fuel is like asking what are the best pair of running shoes. The best running fuel is the one that works for you. Some fuels can cause stomach distress which is not what you want during a race. Fueling can be a bit of a trial and error to see what works best for your body. There are also so many variables when it comes to fueling. Let's look at some of the variables to consider when you're looking at fueling.

What do you need to consider when you're looking at fueling?

1) What is the intensity of your run? Intensity can be both the effort you'll be putting out during your run or the duration of your run. Generally you don't need to consider fueling for workouts less than an hour. Of course if you're in a hot or humid climate this could be different. You should take a close look at the run you're planning to execute, before you leave the house to determine your fueling requirements.

2) What's the weather? The weather will make a difference with fueling. We always think of needing more fuel when it's hot, which is true but don't minimize your fueling requirements in the cold. We quickly deplete our glucose stores when it's cold and we are shivering. Think of the weather conditions at Boston this past year. More fueling was required. The weather influences the amount/type of fuel you need and needs to be considered before you leave for your run.

3) How your body adapts. Everybody adapts differently. Where as one person might need a certain amount of fuel you might require something different. The key to fueling really comes down to knowing your body and how you adapt and what you need. This can take some trial and error. It might take you several long runs to figure out what works best for you and the timing intervals you need for fueling. You will figure it out and it will be worth it!

Running has come a long way and there are lots of fueling options. There are gummies, jellybeans, chews, gels, drinks, whole foods and more. You can go to your local running store and see shelves of fueling options. There's probably even more fueling options if you look online. Everyone will have their own preference on what's best. Some people use baby food pouches or chocolate bars. It's okay to try several options and combinations before determining what works best for you. The key if you want a carbohydrate source that's easily and quickly digestible. You don't want all your energy to be focused on digestion, you want to be able to get quick energy to continue to support your run. Think of something like honey or maple syrup. That's going to give you a quick burst of energy which is what you want when you're running.

It's important to know about what variables you need to consider when fueling and types of running fuels that are out there. Over the next couple of newsletters I'll cover fueling strategies, answer your questions, and go over the calculations of how to calculate your caloric need when training in order to maintain your weight. I hope you'll find my series of newsletters on fueling useful.

Weekly Challenge: Fuel

This week I have a running fuel challenge for you. If you're training for a distance race or your training runs are over an hour your challenge this week is to test out your fueling options. Take this week as an opportunity to test out a new fueling option. Maybe you've always been curious about a certain fuel or you want to try more whole food options. During your long run this week try out new fueling options. Pick one fuel and take it on your run. Be sure to note how you feel before, during and after your run. Also note how your run went. If you're not sure what fuel to try this is an opportunity to ask a running friend for a suggestion or ask on twitter. What works for someone else might not work for you but it's okay to give it a try!

If you're not training for a distance run or running over an hour your challenge this week is fueling before your run. Part of fueling is what you eat before you run, and yes it can make a big difference. This week I want you to note what you're eating before you run. Include anything you've ate up to two hours before you run. Take note of how you feel before, during and after your run. After you've taken note of what you've eaten you might want to make changes to help improve your running.

As always send me an e-mail or tweet and let me know how this challenge goes!

What's the Sweat Test?

This is a simple test to do, to help you know your fluid demands while running. You might find this data more interesting as it gets warmer but you can do this test in any weather condition.

First weigh yourself, then head out for a run, keeping track of how long you run. Also keep track of how much fluids you drink. You might find it easier to run a set time such as 30 or 60 minutes. When you are finished running weigh yourself right away. There should be a difference in your weight.

Take the difference in your weight, and convert this to ounces and add back how much fluids you consumed. This will give you your fluid loss for the duration of your run. You will have to divide your fluid loss by your duration to know much much you lost every 15 or 30 minutes.

This gives you valuable information on how much fluid you need during a run. Keep is mind every time you do this this test in different conditions you'll get different results. It's a great test to learn more about your fluid loss during a run so you can better fuel yourself.

This test can be incredibly helpful if you're racing in certain conditions so you have a better idea of the fluid you need to intake during your race.

If you give this a try send me your results on twitter @srunsfitness

Over the next couple of newsletters I will be talking about running fueling. You have sent me some fantastic questions. If you have any more please send me a message or email with them.

You can find my training plans on my Training Peak's store

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Stephanieruns Fitness

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Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.