How to Stay Fueled and Nausea-Free on Long Runs

By Jannine Myers

Since many of you have recently started training for either the Kinser Half, or the Naha Marathon, I thought it might be a good idea to do a post on fueling for those long runs. When I started training for my first half marathon, I remember asking members of my running group what kinds of foods they took with them on their longer training runs. I really had no idea what I should be eating and drinking, so learning what others were fueling their bodies with was really helpful during those earlier running days.

One of the problems with long runs, is the issue Anna talked about in last week’s post about “feeling the need to go.” This becomes an even greater issue for people like myself, who already suffer from stomach problems. In this case, learning what foods to eat more of, and which foods to abstain from becomes crucial to ensuring a successful long run. While I am still trying figure out what my body best responds to, I have learned a few things along the way that may also work for you:

  • I never used to eat before my early morning runs as I generally don’t feel hungry when I first wake up. I still don’t eat anything if I am heading out for a shorter run (less than an hour), but anything beyond an hour and I now make sure that I eat something that will quickly digest and and give me a good energy boost. Examples of what I might eat prior to a long run, or a race, include: first and foremost, a good cup of java, followed by a banana and a piece of toast spread with peanut butter, or a home-made almond butter and honey energy ball (see recipe at bottom of this post), or a Snickers Marathon bar (dark chocolate – see the nutrition facts below)

  • I used to take energy gels with me on my long runs, but with my stomach being as sensitive as it is, I almost always felt sick and hit the wall, or I would finish but spend the rest of the day near a bathroom. Now I enjoy taking with me a selection of energy foods, including those pictured below:
Mochi (Japanese sticky rice treats filled with sweet azuki bean paste); Dried fruit and nut snacks; Cliff Shot Blocks

You can buy bags of mochi, which come in individually wrapped servings, from Lawsons or Family Mart. I found the dried fruit and nut treats at the BX recently, but unfortunately I haven’t seen them on the shelves since they sold out (you can easily substitute with a bag of trail mix); Clif Shot Blocks come in various flavors, and some have a higher sodium and/or caffeine content than others (you can find these at Gunners Gym on Foster, or order them by the box from Runningwarehouse.com).

  • I also enjoy eating salted peanut butter pretzels, and during our ultra-training I occasionally took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with me (Kathleen Lennard enjoyed stopping at a Lawsons or Family Mart and buying an onigiri (Japanese rice ball)
  • For electrolyte and endurolyte replenishment I have used the following products and like them all:
Nuun Electrolyte tablets
Hammer Endurolyte Fizz Tablets
Hammer Endurolyte Capsules

The Nuun tablets dissolve in water and are a light, zero sugar, easy-to-drink electrolyte supplement with lots of different flavors (you can buy these from Runningwarehouse.com); I used the Hammer endurolyte products when we were training for the ultra earlier this year, but they are especially useful during the summer months too when you want to ensure that you are getting a sufficient amount of electrolyte replacement (including sodium and potassium).The capsules are okay, but I prefer the fizz tablets that dissolve in water, especially the peach and mango flavors. Go to Hammernutrition.com to order these.

  • For recovery I usually use Hammer Recoverite, although I sometimes drink plain chocolate milk. Andrea enjoys the occasional protein smoothie from Risner Fitness Center, or her own smoothies made at home using a store-bought whey protein powder (Foster PX and Gunners Gym both have a variety of protein powders available).
Hammer Recoverite – great for speeding up recovery after a long run
  • A few more final tips: 
    • I always carry a small ziploc bag with both Japanese and American coins; I like to have the option to stop at a vending machine and buy more water, or an electrolyte drink if I run low.
    • I tend to eat more frequently now than I did before; I used to wait too long to refuel my body on long runs and the result was not pleasant. Now I make a conscious effort to reach for my snacks and eat every 45 minutes or so (not too much, maybe a couple of Cliff Shot Blocks, or two mochi treats, for example). More advanced runners can make do on a lot less energy consumption, but this is what seems to work best for me.
    • For those of you who sometimes feel nauseous while running, ginger chews might help. I have ordered mine in the past from Zombierunner.com (this online store also offers some other great nutrition products, as well as running apparel and accessories)
Gin Gins Boost Ginger Candy

I hope this helps those of you who are uncertain of what to eat and drink on those long runs, and remember, a golden rule of thumb is to NEVER try anything new on race day!

Recipe for Almond Butter Crispy No-Bake Energy Balls:

Mix:
1/2 cup almond butter (if unavailable, you can also use Sunbutter)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Add and stir gently:
2 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal

Place a dish of water near the cereal mixture bowl. Form the mixture into truffle-size balls, using wet hands. Roll in sunflower seeds and place on a wax paper. Chill and store in the refrigerator. 

    Feeling the Need, the Need to……

    Post contributed by Anna Boom

    Pooh, or poo-poo or worse, poopoopoo.


    Oh yes, a lovely topic for any womens running group to discuss. 

    No need to feel ashamed or embarrassed by our natural movements, bowels included. Every runner whether woman, man or beast, has the need to go at some point during a run. I will go back to the book I often turn to for guidance, Everyone Poops. You eat, you poop. 

    Often when we start training for a longer run, say a half marathon or marathon distance, there comes a time when your body will tell you it is time to go! and it doesn’t mean run faster. If you choose to ignore the issue, your body has two choices; force you to walk and eventually stop with cramps or let it go, forcing you to throw your shorts away when you get home. Either way, you can’t ignore it for very long. Although we have all tried.

    Why does this happen? All the up and down motion and jostling for longer stretches of time and distance, get your body ready to dump and lighten the load. It is a great way to help you run faster and feel lighter. And don’t you feel better afterward?

    Can you train to avoid this? Here are some ways to train like you want to run:
    1) Drink warm coffee. Coffee is a diuretic that helps getting everything moving down and out.
    2) Wake up an hour earlier, or more, before you run out the door. Give your body the time to adjust from sleep to wake to ready to run.
    3) Run in the morning before you’ve eaten more food and added to the load.
    4) Avoid eating too much fiber before your run. Yes, fiber is essential to a healthy diet, but consider how much you eat in relation to when you plan on running.
    5) Drink lots of water the night before your long run and when you wake up.
    6) Avoid eating too spicy of food. Probably don’t need to add to this.

    An additional helpful trick is to plan your run to pass by the many convenience stores Okinawa has to offer. The toilets are clean and have t.p. and a place to wash your hands with soap and freshen up your ‘do. Also, remember you will never see those people inside the Family Mart, ever again.  

    Some people say, you are not a runner until you have the runs on the run. Whether you have joined our club or not (oh yes, I belong! My latest membership was renewed at the 82 Km mark of the Mongolia 100 Km Ultra), feel no embarrassment in what happens to each of us.

    I have spent much time trying to convince my 5 year old that it is okay to just let go; I hope this helps other shy poopers out there to go when you feel the need.

    Lets Talk: Paleo Nutrition

    I can’t help notice that quite a few of our ladies have become paleo converts, or are at least toying with the idea of converting. I was one of those who toyed with the idea, until my next carb craving hit! Quite honestly, I think the concepts behind paleo could be worth pursuing, but I’m not sure I’d ever have the willpower to follow through with a diet that demands complete abstinence from the foods I’ve grown to love. One day maybe? But for those of you who think you might have more willpower than me, and would like to learn a little more about paleo, Sarah Pevehouse has kindly agreed to tell us about her transition from a regular “anything-allowed” diet, to a strictly paleo diet. Sarah’s story impressed me, as I’m sure it will you too.
    Jannine Myers

    Post contributed by Sarah Pevehouse:

    In January of this year I embarked on a self-motivated (New Years Resolution) challenge to train for and then complete my very first Marathon. I started with high hopes and tons of Runner’s World paraphernalia. I hired the amazing Jeanne Goodes to be my trainer, running coach, and mentor. Within a few months I realized that all of my goals were within reach but I just wasn’t seeing the physical gains (muscle definition, etc.) that I had hoped for.

    I was combing the pages of Runner’s World magazines and reading the Athlete’s Palate for recipes on a daily basis. Trying to perfect my nutritional intake to balance out my physical output. It didn’t take long for me to just feel like a bloated up mess all the time due to the high intake of pasta, bread and grains that were being suggested. I started mentioning this to Jeanne and asking for advice. She suggested a few options and books or websites to checkout on Paleo. After some Internet searches I decided this seemed to resonate with my tree-hugger side more than anything else I was finding.
    Sarah with fitness trainer Jeanne Goodes

    The basic premise of Paleo Nutrition is that it is not a diet – it is a lifestyle. There are several books, websites, blogs and cookbooks out there that can give you the science behind it all. The best summary I could find was from Loren Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet Cookbook, “It is extremely simple; you just eat fresh fruits, fresh veggies, lean meats, and seafood” (as much as you want). “Stick to the outside aisles of your supermarket and away from the center aisles (as much as possible), and you will be 85 percent of the way there.”

    I started a strict Paleo regiment on April 12th, 2011. I cleaned out my pantry – getting rid of all my processed foods, grains, flours, starches, sugary snacks, etc. Then I cleaned out my refrigerator and tossed all the sauces, jelly, milk, and cheese, packaged and processed foods. I felt like Old Mother Hubbard – my cupboards were very bare! The first two weeks are the hardest because your craving all the stuff you used to eat.

    This is what a paleo pantry looks like

    I purchased Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution and read it cover to cover immediately so I could better understand what all that food (I just tossed out) was doing to my body. All I can say now is that the proof is in the pudding! If you like the geek stuff (science) behind why we should eat these ways then get his book. Robb breaks all the science down in an easy to follow and understandable way. He provides on his website (downloadable pdf’s) 30-day meal plan, shopping lists, etc.

    I started with his menus and have since branched way out to blogs and other books for recipes. I like to know the “full-circle” reason why I am doing something and reading his book made it that much easier for me to know that I was making the right choice.

    If you are looking for a lifestyle change for your nutrition and just want to be told – eat this, buy this, do it like this! Then I suggest getting Sarah Fragoso’s book, Everyday Paleo. She has a 30-day meal plan plus workouts, shopping lists, kids snack ideas and school lunch ideas too. She is straight to the point, a mother of 3 and a great (creative) cook. I have also done her 30-day meal plan as well. I found her food to be a bit spicy for my taste so I just scan the recipes first and adjust to suite my taste. Check out my book review for more info.

     

    I used to think that I always needed a “starch or carbohydrate” and meat – vegetables were optional and often canned. Now, I shop more frequently and cook with mainly fresh (sometimes frozen) foods from the commissary or markets out in town. Cooking has become simplified really.

    Sarah Fragoso points out a good rule of thumb, “If it grew in the ground, it’s a carbohydrate.” So all you athlete’s out there – when you see “carb loading” advice keep this in mind. It does not mean you need to eat a big pasta bowl the night before a race – you can indulge in some yummy yams or sweat potatoes fixed the way you like and get all your carbohydrate needs right there.

    Meat, veggies, and fruit – preseason your meat (or not) toss in a pan and sauté with some fresh sliced onions and minced garlic – this works for all meat and seafood. Then steam your veggies and then season lightly with sea-salt. After dinner slice up an apple and dip in almond butter and honey mixed together (or whatever you like) – sometimes I just nibble on some baker’s chocolate.
     

    It’s strange how once you cut out all the processed sugars and starches your taste buds sort of wake up! They’ve been in a sugary coma for years and now for the first time your tasting food that is really good! I used to think that unsweetened applesauce was so bitter and now I love it! I just add some cinnamon and protein powder and I have a great pre-workout meal.

     

    The book that I have learned the most from and suggest to all athletes is the “Paleo for Athlete’s” book – this will forever change your idea of performance nutrition. It is through this book that I was able to go from my bloated 131lbs, 17% body fat to the lean 126lbs and 12% body fat that I am now. The transition is tough – to change the way you have looked at food your entire life – but it is well worth it. My performance is way better, recovery time from hard training is so fast and my belly is never bloated.


    If nothing else – check out some of the tested recipes on my blog and just try a few!



    I hope this at least sparks an interest for you to think outside of the box with food and to try something new. I am the Queen of one-dish meals – If I can cook this way, anyone can!

    Trail Etiquette – Manners on the Run!

    Post Contributed by Anna Boom

    Recently, I noticed that Japan has started promoting manners. Specifically, signs on the road and at the police station and little neighborhood Kobans (police boxes), state in Japanese, Manners UP!! (I added the extra exclamation point being a very excitable half American!)


    I love this idea and wanted to bring it into our group too, for discussion and thought.

    Manners UP!
    1) When running trail with others, please be mindful of how close you are behind them. As the person following, you set the distance between yourself and the woman ahead of you. In driving, there is a recommended 3 car length separation so that if the car in front of you stops abruptly, you won’t crash into their tail end. Same concept on the trail. Avoid running into another woman’s tail on trail; keep some distance. Note* below.

    2) Music! I love listening to music when I run; it is motivating and I adore belting out the TingTings. That’s not my name, that’s not my name… But not everyone is on board with this it turns out. To explain further, a fellow WOOTer commented her husband said her playlist was the WORST EVER (don’t worry, Amy, I won’t tell anyone it was you). If you are alone or are running with someone with the same playlist tastes, please play it loud and strong, but be mindful of those around you. Some women like to come out and chat on trail; others like to come out and hear their feet hit the dirt and the steady rhythm of breathing hard.

    3) Pack in, pack out. Make sure you take whatever trash you bring in. Feel like a granola bar or Clif Shot during your long run?  Make sure to pack up the trash so that others don’t have to pick up after you.

    4) Be friendly and supportive. Okay, maybe this is not exactly trail etiquette but I do feel it is part of our WOOT love and what sets us apart and hopefully why you come and run with us. Our WOOT yogi, Stephanie Ermel said it best when she said something about there being plenty of room for us all at the top. Who better to support you than a fellow running woman that knows exactly how difficult it is to get up and run at 0530 on a Saturday morning while the kids and husband are snoozing away? Along with this, saying hi and being friendly to the Okinawan farmers is always greeted with a responsive wave and smile.
    Over a year and a half of running trails together, women!! Thank you for all the great sweat, laughs, tears and fun! And remember, Manners UP!!
    *If you are coaching the woman in front of you, and she asks you to push her up the hill, it is another story.