I’ve gotten asked quite often about food and running. I have a lot of ideas that have and have not worked but in the end the best advice I can give is to try, try again.
For example, Gatorade (which many athletes drink) makes me puke. Every. Single. Time. No question. I always bring my own liquid electrolyte replacement in my pack during a race. Always. I don’t know what they’ll have at aid stations and I refuse to take the chance. Throw up your guts a couple times mid race and tell me I’m silly. I’ve tried several drinks on training runs and (so far) there are only two that don’t make me puke. Cytomax and EnduroMax. I like them, I stick with them.
Pre-run my absolute favorite thing to have is a small cup of coffee and ginger snaps. Love them. Sure, I also have oatmeal, greek yogurt, banana and peanut butter or half a peanut butter sandwich on multi-grain bread. Something small, not too hard to digest but with carbs and natural sugar. I’ve tried other people’s suggestions to drink orange juice but the acid makes me cramp and feel awful so I had to dial it back a notch. Keep it simple. And don’t overdo the food. Use your body to burn baby burn!!
On long runs that require more than liquid electrolytes my favorite are Sports Beans. Not as chewy as gummy bear type energy chews that I have to suck out of my teeth for half an hour, not a gooey package I have to dispose of from Gu’s. Easier, less messy. I don’t mind the latter two options, but they’re not my #1 go to.
On runs that I ask (aka beg) someone to crew for me, I set up a box for their car. My 19 year old daughter, Brianna is my all time favorite crew mate. She rocks. In the box, I put a thermos of coffee, extra water and liquid electrolytes. I also add cutie oranges (which, oddly I can eat mid run problem free as opposed to orange juice which never settles), pretzels, Lindt Dark Chocolate balls and quartered peanut butter sandwiches. I hand off my water pack and electrolyte bottles which she refills while I fix any clothing issues, pee roadside and eat whichever food is appealing to me. I had an absolutely brilliant idea once to bring jello. Considered liquid and infused with sugar it seemed like a quick, easy roadside fuel. Nope. Gross. Puked.
By now you’re probably thinking maybe I have a weak stomach. Not the case. I’m just willing to try pretty much anything on a run. Some I like a lot and use as staples, others I couldn’t stand and then there have been a lot of things I’ve tried that I didn’t care either way about. I’ve run in groups (which I love) where we all stocked the crew vehicle. It was a great way to try what worked for other people. At a race once the aid station had watermelon. I told the female volunteer I was in love with her and, even though I don’t like girls that way, I’d make out with her. It was that good. Nirvana. Later in the race there was watermelon again. It was handed to me on my way past and I devoured it only to realize it had been dipped in salt. Not my thing. Didn’t puke but wouldn’t do it again. I wanted and needed the salt. I wanted and “needed” the watermelon. Not together in the same bite. Maybe a few pretzels and then watermelon??
Post run what you’ll usually hear me say is, “Oh my gosh, I could eat a small cow!”. I’m ravenous for meat. Desperately. A big, juicy burger salted and preferably with juice dripping down my arm which I will unabashedly lick off. The post race meal is best with a large group of sweaty, dirty, adrenaline high running junkies no matter what you eat.
Running is like a drug. It takes a relatively well spoken, educated, refined woman who loves make-up, getting dressed up and high heels and turns her into a snot-rocketing, spitting, peeing in the bushes and eat whatever is handed to you woman who is most likely covered in scrapes and dirt. It’s wonderful, beautiful, fun and freeing. Embrace the potential to puke and get out there and try. Preferably everything!! You’ll figure out what works for you and if you do it on training runs, the race itself goes much more smoothly. Dinner is served!!!