Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fueling Foods

By Yvette Quantz

As many of you know I am in the process of training for my first full marathon. I am scheduled to run the Twin Cities Marathon on October 4, 2009—just 4 days before my thirtieth birthday! The sixteen week training program I have been following has been an incredible journey, not only physically challenging but also challenging my mind and spirit. This month I wanted to share with you some basic fueling principles for endurance training.

If you have ever dreamed of running or walking a half or full marathon I encourage you to do it. Set a date, tell your family and friends, and begin training. I know there are two events coming up - the White Rock Half Marathon in December and the New Orleans Full and Half Marathon and February - go for it!

What you eat before, during, and after your program can be the key to your success. There are four essential principles to follow when training for an endurance event.
  • Being hydrated
  • Proper fuel intake
  • Following the correct training program
  • Rest days
Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential for optimal performance. Hydration does not happen during your run, it happens before. Fluid consumption during your run is referred to as “re-hydrating”; if you start out already dehydrated you could be setting yourself up for major complications. The best way to monitor hydration status is to monitor the color of your urine. Your urine should be pale yellow. If urine is dark then this is a sign you are dehydrated. A general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces, then on exercise days make sure to take in 6 – 8 oz fluid every 15 minutes. When exercising in the heat of the summer it is important to also hydrate with a beverage that contains electrolytes – sodium and potassium.

Fueling Foods
Pre-Run Fueling Basics:
For optimal performance during training and race day proper fuel is essential. Foods rich in carbohydrates such as whole grains, oats, beans, sweet potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables should make up about fifty percent of your energy needs. Since your muscles will only store carbohydrates (and not protein) as glycogen, it is important to fuel up on quality carbohydrates to ensure adequate glycogen stores for your event.

Pre-Exercise Fuel Sources:
Oatmeal with low fat milk, walnuts and fresh fruit, 100% whole grain bread with peanut butter and a little honey , 100% whole grain bagel with almond butter and banana, Whole wheat pasta with chicken breast, vegetables and tomato sauce

Fueling During Your Run:
A general rule of thumb is if you are running less than 45 minutes to 1 hour you do not need to re-fuel while running. If running last more than 1 hour it is essential to re-fuel every 30 – 40 minutes. During your run your body will respond better with simple carbohydrates compared to complex carbohydrates because they are easier to digest

Fuel for the Run:
Bananas, Peanut butter and honey sandwich, Power Bars, Sports Drinks, Gu’s and other quick energy nutrition supplements

Fuel for Recovery:
Immediately after a run there is a 30 minute window of opportunity your body has to up regulate and utilize nutrients to build and repair muscle tissue. Consume quick digesting carbohydrates and a quality protein for adequate recovery. The more time that elapses after a run without re-fueling, the more your glycogen replenishment and protein repair is compromised.

Recovery Foods:
Smoothie made with skim milk, blueberries, and flax seed oil, Chocolate Milk, Low fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit, granola, and honey, turkey sandwich with fresh squeezed juice

Yvette Quantz is a well respected Lifestyle and Sports Nutritionist based in Lafayette, Louisiana. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association, Louisiana Dietetic Association, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionist, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Nutrition and Complimentary Care, and a Certified Eating Coach. You can visit her website at:

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