When you’re logging double digit miles week after week, it’s difficult to control the insatiable hunger that comes along with it. Running burns hundreds, if not thousands, of calories. Fueling before, during and after our workouts can be really difficult if you don’t know the basics. One of the biggest mistakes many runners make when they’re training for a goal race, is losing all self control in the kitchen. As a runner, it’s frustrating to be hungry all the time. We’ve even coined a term because of it.
Due to this insatiable hunger we develop when we burn All. The. Calories, we’ve been known to eat until our little hearts desire. Running marathons gives you a sense of entitlement when it comes to food. But we’ve also been known to pack on the pounds during marathon training. How is this even possible when our workouts burn up to 500+ calories an hour?? How do we know just how much to eat before, during or after our workouts?
One way to look at it is like this. For every mile ran, estimate you’ll expend about 100 calories. So for an easy three mile run, you would want something minimal or even nothing at all before you run, especially if you’re looking to drop some weight through your training . For an hour long workout, like a 6 miler, fuel beforehand with a banana or something light around 100 calories. And for a two hour long workout, like a 12 mile run, half a bagel with peanut butter would fuel you well beforehand, then an energy gel taken with water after an hour would continue to keep you running the distance without feeling a dip in your tank. A lot of runners rely heavily on concentrated sports nutrition to get them through a long workout. These sports nutrition products are created to supply the necessary carbohydrates to fuel your muscles and keep your blood sugar levels steady, and electrolytes, which help retain fluids to maintain hydration, prevent cramping, and perform a host of other functions in the body.I will heed a warning about using too many high sugar fueling products. Gels, shot blocks and sports drinks tend to have really high sugar content which, when overused, can cause an upset stomach and/or even nausea. The main idea behind fueling on the run is to replace a portion of the energy that has been lost. Some runners can even experience GI distress when taking in too much fuel at one time, so you simply need to take in only what you need to replenish.
Everyone will have their own equation when it comes to fueling for the distance. You will just have to play around during your training runs to determine what works best for you. And as far as fueling up after a race or long training run, remember to only replace a portion of the energy you spent during your workout. Then, maybe, you won’t pack on the pounds or miss the weight loss mark that you so desire.
Do you have a hard time controlling your eating habits after a tough workout?
What forms of fuel and nutrition do you use during your training?
Do you drink water and sports drinks during your workouts?