There’s gels, gummies, chomps, powders, and goops to fuel your race.
And then there’s food. Simple, whole food that has always been food. And, shockingly, our ancestors ran and competed just fine without the latest and greatest in “food-like products.”
And I promise with the addition of a little salt, many foods that you may already have laying around your house, can be awesome mid-performance fuel options.
The key to mid-performance fueling is CARBS.
A question I often get is what about “fat-adapted” athletes?
Here’s the thing. If you are in ketosis, then you should not need significant carbs to fuel your run. Rather than focusing on mid-performance fuel, its important to focus on hydration that contains electrolytes (especially sodium and magnesium which are disproportionately excreted for those in ketosis) and a little bit of sugar to help your cells suck in the electrolytes.
If you’re someone who tries to eat “lower carb,” then fueling with carbs mid-workout is still right for you.
Because your body needs energy while you’re working out, and the best source of energy is from simple carbohydrates. Consuming carb during a workout does NOT have to be problematic to your “lower carb” living. Simply take into account how many carbs you take in during your activity and adjust your carb intake at other meals during the day.
How much carb do I need during my event?
Ideally, you should start fueling 45-60 minutes into your workout. Choose 20-30 grams of carb every 30 – 45 minutes. Remember, the ideal amount of fuel and which fuel feels best will vary from person to person. You have to practice what works best for you!
Um, so what should I eat?
¼ cup raisins with a pinch of salt (raisins have potassium and magnesium naturally occurring!)
¼ cup tart cherries with a pinch of salt (tart cherries are high in nitric oxide which help with recovery & oxygen delivery to tired legs!)
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup with a pinch of salt (did you know maple syrup provides riboflavin, thiamine, manganese, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium and potassium)
½ cup white rice soaked in broth (makes more of a savory, paste-like fuel)
2 cups fresh squeezed, pulpless orange juice + 1 cup water + ¼ teaspoon of salt to yield enough “sports drink” to sip continuously for 2 hours of activity
How do I transport real food?
Obviously you can purchase mini bottles for your fuel belt for mid-performance hydration, but what about the more solid stuff? I recommend packing foods in individual portions in ziplock bags. During your race, you can either manually rip the bag open, or bite the plastic with your teeth.
Let’s be honest. No matter if you’re sucking down a gel, chompin’ down a chomp, or munchin’ on some raisins… ain’t nobody lookin’ dainty during their mid-performance fueling!