I have never met a Gu I truly liked, and certainly there has never been one that I would even consider eating outside of running and racing. Heck, I often look for ways to fuel during runs and races that don’t involve the sticky, overpowering and thick, fake taste that is Gu Gels. I have tried other brands with much the same result.
But! Recently I had the opportunity to try Huma Chia Energy Gels, and I absolutely love the taste. So far my favorite flavor is cinnamon apple. And I am happy to report that these gels contain the same carb content and electrolyte profile to Gu and similar gels. Here are some pictures to compare as well as the company site for Huma.
You are what you eat. If the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn. You can’t outrun a bad diet.
There are plenty of catchy sayings out there concerning nutrition. There are plenty of books and blogs and articles. But it comes down to experimentation. What will work for you when it comes to deciding what to eat before, during and after a run? You can’t know until you experiment.
And, if I know anything about experimentation and running, it is this: always know where the porta potty is located on your route.
This blog post is nearly two years old, but I thought I would republish it for some friends who are racing this coming weekend. Sometimes taper is the hardest part of training. I managed a 21 minute marathon PR after this particular piece was written.
Runners do this thing called “taper” in the weeks leading up to goal endurance race. Tapering is essentially a decrease in weekly miles run that allows for repair of muscles, storage of extra glycogen, and amply recovery before race day. It has been shown to increase performance somewhere between 2-8%, depending on how the tapering is done. The most effective tapering plans take into account a runners peak mileage, the length of the race, and the runner’s experience and goals. Plans that decrease intensity along with mileage have been shown to be far less effective than those that decrease mileage but maintain intensity.
But, all that said, that is not really what this post is about.
This post is about Taper Madness. It’s about what happens to your brain on taper.
This piece is a tribute to my son and his love all things Asian Food. He saw the contestants on Fox’s Masterchef tv show have to make these in a challenge and immediately begged for us to make spring rolls at home. While the contestants on the show fried their spring rolls, we decided to up the quality and health of our rolls by baking them instead.
Somewhere in between raising 4 kids, hanging out with my husband, going to nursing school, and working at a local running store, I also teach martial arts for Pro Martial Arts in Apex, NC. I have a 3rd degree black belt and hope to test for my master’s level belt some time next year.
My favorite part about martial arts is the kids; they constantly keep me motivated in my teaching and practice. When my sister sent me these cookie cutters, I knew I just had to bake the Pro Martial Arts students some cookies:
I learned this recipe from my Aunt Paula while at a family reunion in Siesta Key, Florida. For me, it is the ultimate party recipe because it will please all your friends: the health nut, the raw foodie, the vegetarian, the vegan, the protein lover, the carb hater, the carb craver…even the long distance runner.
In part one of this series, you can read about my decision to make changes in my life and running, following Matt Fitzgerald’s 6 step plan from his book Racing Weight. In this post, I will go more in depth to the biggest change we had to make in order to get leaner, lighter, and faster: switching over to a higher quality diet.
Fitzgerald advocates not for a fad diet or for a runner to go paleo, vegan, or whatever; instead, he simply tells you to eat more high quality foods and less low quality ones. He ranks food groups according to their quality and assigns each serving a number of points. Your goal is to end the day with as high of a score as you can. So, indulging in my kids’ Cheese-It lunch snacks will dock me 2 points while grabbing a peach and having that instead will gain me 2 points.
Perhaps it is the competitive side of me, but this method was highly appealing and has helped me lose 10 pounds and 4% of my body fat.
If you bonk in a 10k, miss your PR in a 5k, or simply just have a bad race in a short or middle distance run, the fix can be as simple as waiting a week and trying again. It’s cheap, easy and you don’t need to recover too much from these distances. If you DNF a marathon at mile 23 like I did, you are left holding the shattered remains of 4 months of hard training and dedication, and your body will likely not be ready for another go at the marathon distance for weeks or even months.
In short, you get a lot of time to think about the mistakes you made.
But, for me, it also gave me the motivation to seek change. What can I change? What do I have no control over? If there is a Serenity Prayer for Runners, I found it in Matt Fitzgerald’s book Racing Weight. And I made the decision to change the things that I can change and accept the things that are beyond my control.