Marathon Eats

If you’re running the OKC Marathon this Sunday, by now you should have a pre-race meal that has been tested successfully several times during your training runs that has left you with no GI-trouble. This meal looks different for every runner, and because everyone’s needs vary- find out what is best for YOU. In general, stick to simple carbohydrates and protein. We want to digest what we eat quickly and sustain energy levels from our glycogen storage utilization. Fat and fiber tend to keep us full for longer but ultimately cause GI discomfort and bowel movements- so during an athletic event, you can imagine how this is not ideal.

Race Day will require getting up extra early to eat, stretch and possibly eat again. A Pre-Race Meal can be broken up into two manageable amounts, if you can’t get what you need at one time. If you have 2 hours, consume 50-75 grams of carbohydrates. If you’re limited on time with an hour, 20-25g will suffice. Timing is crucial for digestion and of course, you want to feel 100% when you toe up to the line. However without that last bit of energy intake- you will be lacking in energy and stored glycogen. I would NOT suggest skipping the pre-race meal, even if you’re feeling nervous. We recently discussed in our blog about the importance of carbohydrate loading.
So will your ‘carb-loading’ and pre-race meal be enough? Not for long.
The science behind ‘the wall’: You start running and after about 90 minutes, your glycogen storage is low or depleted entirely. If you kept running with nothing left, your energy levels will plummet and you quickly tire or ‘hit the wall’. The next option after glycogen and blood glucose is sapped is tapping fat storage. Rather than allowing your body to shift to primary fat utilization, you should supply it with carbohydrate, which metabolizes quickly. Fat metabolism is a less efficient process, so although it will ultimately provide you with energy- it will come with a price. Fatigue.  *
Avoid fatigue by fueling up right. My suggestion is to eat before the race ~3 hours with 50-75grams, then 20 grams that last hour before, and after the first hour into your run, so by the time the glycogen could have run out- you’re proactively fueling your fire. Eat 30-60 grams of carbohydrates every hour during your run.
Pre-Race Foods and Race Foods (during your run) should emphasize simple carbs and moderate protein. Some fat is okay, say from peanut butter and unsaturated fats. But don’t douse your pasta, rice or bagel in butter. Opt for jelly.

Pre-Race Food
1.     Toast with jelly or jam
2.     Bagel with nut butter
3.     Muffin(not bran) with honey
4.     Cereal (<3g fiber) + milk and dried fruits
5.     Smoothies- fruit or vegetable
6.     Juices- the fiber is all gone from juices, so this is the one time I strongly advise! You can easily find juices with extra sugar, which will give you the carbs you’re looking for.
Race Food
Chances are, they’ll be giving food out to runners during the race, typically orange wedges, bananas or electrolyte beverages. You can definitely go for this option, but if you’re concerned with not having what you want- plan ahead. Fill up your fanny pack and don’t make it too complicated to reach for and eat.  Ideas include:
1.     Dried fruit- apricot, raisins
2.     Clif bar
3.     Trailmix- nuts, fruits, chocolates (if its not too hot)
4.     Pretzels- perfect for sodium replenishment
5.     Glucose chews(GUs)

If you’re running this weekend, FUEL UP SMART and GOOD LUCK! sls

Food Facts! Chia Seeds

When you hear “chia” your first thought may be of the green fur or hair of Chia Pets, collectible clay figurines. But did you know that chia seeds can also be a healthful addition to your diet? Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. The seed is often sold under its common name “chia”, as well as several trademarked names. Chia seeds were a staple in the ancient Aztec diet and it’s origin is thought to be from Central America.

Chia seeds have recently gained attention in the United States as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. They are also an excellent source of fiber at 10 grams per ounce (about 2 tablespoons), and contain protein and minerals including as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. All of these minerals are essential for metabolic functions in our body. Some athletes find that chia seeds are excellent performance food due to their nutrient density, so you could them as pre-workout fuel. (*Be mindful that 10g of fiber will require adequate hydration and may cause digestive trouble. Ease into it!)

Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. However, there are not many published studies on the health benefits of consuming chia seeds and much of the available information is based on animal studies or human studies with a small number of research participants.

How to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes. There are chia seed drinks that are quite thick, somewhat chewy and fizzy. They come in different flavors, so you can probably find one you like! A brand I have tried is ‘Synergy’ and I think it is quite good. I am not particularly keen on the texture, with the gelatinous, chewy nature of the drink. The seeds are not the only important part of the chia plant; the sprouts are also edible. Try adding them to salads, sandwiches and other dishes.

This would be the perfect example of a ‘good’ energy drink, not loaded with copious amounts of caffeine but nutrients to boost your metabolism and energy.

Have you tried chia seeds? What do you think? sls