As the marathon nears and nerves creep in, the excited chatter turns to the panic realisation… food! The hunger experienced as the miles increase will shock even those with the best appetites, and although it’s tempting to take a trip to Ben’s cookies or Bad Brownie simply to stock up, the benefits to the body don’t always align. Many races and many runs have taught us to test what we train with, so here are a few foods that work for us.
For us a big bowl’a oats are the perfect pre run breakfast. We tend to consume these around one or two hours before a long run, topped with peanut butter and honey. When possible, we’ll soak ours overnight and then also cook them in the morning. This means that the soluble fibre takes on board lots of water, making the oats gloopy and easier to digest. We find they then sit easier in the stomach and intestines, which reduces that ‘sloshy’ feeling. As they make their way past the stomach and into the intestine the carbohydrate present is slowly absorbed by the blood, offering a just the kick needed to keep the steps coming and the energy levels up.
If you’re in a real rush post run they also make a great recovery meal!
If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll know that when it comes to top snacks, these small squares of wholemeal bread are our absolutely go to. Not only are they easy to pack up, and transport across any terrain, you can fill the with almost anything. We usually opt for peanut butter and honey, or if we’re feeling fancy we’ll throw some Nutella in there too! Wholemeal bread offers slow release energy. Often we’ll take a quarter at a time to keep the digestive system happy! Filling them with a higher GI food such as honey or jam offers that instant pickup, which paired with the slow release energy from the bread makes for the perfect snack, preventing the sugar crash.
Sadly we can’t all sprint a marathon and we certainly haven’t set our hearts on #Breaking2. This means we are not utilising our carbohydrates as energy throughout our entire run. When we begin to cruise our body has the time to convert fat into energy, as we often do over a long distance race. You may have heard of elite ultra runners eating sticks of butter or coconut oil… sounds a little gross right? Well thankfully if you do want to try something higher fat, we have an alternative. Nut butter sachets are much tastier, and tend to be a little easier to transport! We would suggest taking on your high fat snacks at the beginning and holding off on the high carb selection until you get a little closer to the finish line. Please remember with all this advice you are very different to us, so it’s important you trial and test our suggestions before race day!
They haven’t been handing out jelly babies on the sidelines for no reason. Sweets are the gods of glucose! Our muscles use glucose as fuel. It’s as simple as that! Our personal favourites are Lucozade jelly beans as they also have a bit of a tang, and stop that sickly sweet feeling becoming all too much mid run.
Although not technically a food, it is an essential part of our training fuel. Like us, you might find yourself fine without anything up to a half marathon, but once you start nudging over that 2 hour time, your body is going to be begging you to take some on board. It is not a good idea to then go about glugging down half a litre as it is most like to make you feel a little sick! Invest in a running backpack/vest that allows you to carry between 0.5-1.5L of water. You can sip little and often, as you wish. You don’t have to run your race with this as it will only weigh you down. During the race you can use the available water stations and enjoy being a kilo lighter!