Friday, September 2, 2016

Nutrition and Supplies

I’ve wanted to do a blog post on my nutrition products and supplies and give a shout out to some of many favorites for many months now.  So I finally decided to sit down and write all about them and give some insight to everything I use to help me stay on top of my running game.  These products have helped me to stay hydrated, to eat and fuel up better, and to stay on top of my game during my longer runs.  In my younger years a lot of these things I would just ignore and just fight through without fuel for a long run or something to recover after a run but I have been more rigid about these things in my accelerated age and I think it has done well to help me feel recovered and ready for my next run.  I hope you gain some insight or at least get some ideas from this post.

Water has always been something I have struggled to drink as I just usually don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, so I would always drink something with flavor like lemonade which is full of calories and no real value as a runner.  Water however is critical, half the time your hunger is just your body saying I am thirsty but I just usually feed it more food.  I stumbled across Nuun a couple years ago and have loved it ever since.  I use Nuun as an everyday drink, and it’s full of electrolytes to go with water to keep me refreshed all day and tastes better than pure water for me.  This allows me to drink more water on a daily basis but not get filled up on calories as nuun is low in calories.  It is however high in sodium and electrolytes so the Nuun Active I use is better if you are in fact active otherwise you may be overdoing your sodium intake for a daily basis.  Nuun has other capsules for different lifestyles of course but the active is by far my favorite.  It’s easy enough for me to bring to work and just drop into my water bottle and keep drinking my water throughout the day.  Also Nuun Active is the perfect hangover cure, if drinking too much is something you might occasionally do!

Another product that I have just started using is Tailwind and it is my new favorite nutrition drink during a run.  I’ve tried many things, Nuun Plus, Gatorade, Skratch but on my long runs when I want to take in calories and also fluid and electrolytes I just find tailwind to be perfect and light on my stomach.  It allows me to customize my drink from 1-3 scoops, and still be very light.  3 scoops is a bit much for my taste, but 1-2 scoops feels fine and helps me get in 100 - 200 calories which is critical for me to be able to drink my calories on the run and not upset the stomach.  For me sometimes on runs it is easier to drink stuff especially later on in a race/long run so having some calories to drink that my stomach can handle has been very helpful in these longer races I have been doing lately.

I do use Skratch also and I do love it, it’s just I cannot handle it during a run.  I find it to be perfect drink before or right after a run to get in some calories and it tastes really good.  The Orange and Lemon and Limes are by far my favorite.  I prefer to not drink it all day as unlike Nuun it has a decent amount of calories and I would rather during the day get most of my calories from real foods that add other benefits. I do find it to be refreshing and also a great drink prerace in the morning if I just can’t get my body to want to eat because it is too early.

Post run I swear by the science that you must put something back in your body.  If you went out for 40+ minutes or just had a really hard effort you need to replenish what you lost and you need protein to start healing all the muscle fibers you damaged on your run.  You really need to get that in within the first 30 minutes to kick start the recovery process.  I have been using Endurox R4 for the past 5 years and I swear by it.  It tastes great to me and it is something I look forward to after a run to get my body to begin recovering and ready for the next run.  I will use the industry standard of chocolate milk from time to time but I find it difficult to bring that and have it sit in my car when I run in the heat, Endurox is perfect to sit in the car and still taste pretty good post run.  Whatever you choose, get something that gives you carbs and protein post run and your body will thank you when you can begin recovering for the next run immediately.  Especially for us older runners recovery and injury prevention become too of the things I spend most of my day doing, on top of strength training to keep my body from withering away.

As far as the meals I eat on a daily basis I snack throughout the day at work and always have some fuel in my running bag just in case, but for meals I got introduced to the Runner’s World Cookbook about 2 years ago, and Kelly and I immediately fell in love.  While her first thought was, this better not be some terrible tasting healthy runner food cookbook, but then when we starting making the recipes we loved the taste and I loved all the health benefits from all the different meals.  We have been rotating two different Runner’s World Cookbooks with over 300 recipes for the past two years and these recipes have become many of our favorites that we even introduce our friends to at various events.  If drinking more water was 1 part of getting myself healthier and to lose some weight, these cookbooks were the other part.  I love the information on each recipe and what it can be used for.  There are recipes that are fuel for a long run, or a post recovery run, you name it, and it’s in the book.  We even started baking our own granola bars that I use as a quick pick me up before evening runs when I need some fuel and won’t have dinner until 830 in my second home Canton.  We just got Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast Eat Slow Book and can’t wait to try out all the recipes in there.  For us it has been great to get in the kitchen and cook more recipes and try tons of new foods we would have never thought would go together.  Things like adding Oat Bran to your Meatloaf to get in some extra nutrients or mixing beets and avocado’s with orange slices for a delicious salad.  I’m not sure we would have ever tried these without these cookbooks.  Additionally I just love the benefits you can get from food as fuel for your run.  Each type of food has nutrients that can be beneficial for your next workout or long run.  I won’t go as far as to say without eating the exact right foods you can’t run fast, but I will just say that getting in the right balance of food can only be beneficial to your body and you’re exercising in the long run.  And go talk to a nutritionist as I am not one!

Some other fueling products that have become the staple of my long runs include Cliff Shot Blocks, I find them easy to get down on a long run and easy to carry in a small pouch.  I still continually using Power Bars and Power Bar GU’s on my long runs or for some fueling up on the run.  There are so many of different types of these products available it’s finding the right ones that will work for you while on the run to get in some calories.  Additionally since  I am also talking about the supplies that keep me running it’s no surprise from my posts online I absolutely love Under Amour running shoes.  I have been wearing the original bandits for 1.5 years now and I have just begun rocking the Bandit 2’s and they are even better.  For my training runs I am always usually rocking some pair of UA shoes to keep me going strong on my runs.

And finally I can tell you all about these wonderful products that keep me going but where do I get all my supplies?   I get everything I listed above from the best running store in Baltimore the FallsRoad Running Store.  On top of the things I listed in this post there are tons of other products you can try as fuel before, during or after runs and the store has tons of options that you can pick and choose to find out what works best for you.  So that about sums up the many products I use to stay hydrated, stay fueled and recover from runs and the shoes I wear while doing the running.  I hope some of this information is useful for you in your runs or whatever exercise you choose.

So what have I been up to lately?  Still training hard for JFK 50 miler in 12 weeks upping the mileage and getting in long runs on all surfaces.  Ran a few races finishing 2nd for the 2nd straight year at the Angel Park 5k, which is now becoming my white whale in my hometown.  And I won the MD Heat 25k this past weekend at Patapsco State Park, which was my first really technical trail race.  I absolutely loved this race and will devote a blog post to it and why I keep falling in love with trail running and why every runner should get out and run/race trails.  Otherwise enjoy the picture below with my cool prize from the Angel Park 5k.