Sunday, 20 May 2012

Fuel for mind and body...

Here is my promised post about fuelling for your races...

When you are training for a race you not only need to think about the physical training but you also need to think of things such as mental training - e.g. how the heck am I going to get myself across that finish line? And nutritional training - what am I going to eat/drink before, during and after races to get through them?

This post is focussing on the 'during part' of race fuelling, but you can visit this post or this post  if you want to read more about the 'What the flip am I doing?' or the 'how the heck did I think I could do this' side of things.

My fuels of choice so far

In your training, particularly for a marathon or half marathon, you will need to practice with what you will be using on the day of the race. One of the biggest no-nos for marathon runners is trying something new on race day - especially when it comes to things going INTO your body (which could result in nasty things coming OUT of your body).

Me and my mate powerade, just chillin'
For me personally, I use powerade as my fuel of choice. Mostly because it was the sports drink they were using in my first marathon, so I started training with that and it worked. Also because it is reasonably cheap, easy and tasty to drink, and it is easy to get here in NZ. If you are doing runs over 1 - 1.5 hours, taking a glass or so of this will help you during the run, or having straight after to help your muscles recover and just replenish lost energy.

When going on my long long runs I tend to take use my awesome fuel belt which I fill up 2 bottles with powerade and two with water. Generally for every sip of sports drink you have you want a sip of water to wash it down, otherwise you can end up feeling thirstier.

This is what awesome looks like - fuel belt, iPod, awesome pose - it doesn't get any better!
 In terms of long distance running - such as marathons or further - you generally tend to need a little more refuelling than what you can get in an energy drink (this isn't the same for everyone, but we'll call it rule of thumb - whatever that means). I didn't really know where to start with this sort of fuelling, still don't really know that much about it, but have been using these gels to get me through.

Don't you just love all my cheesy poses in this post??

My first marathon I only used these gels once in training (probably a bit naughty), and they were the ones without caffeine. I thought they tasted yum, although they are rather sweet and sticky - trust me when I say you do not want this sticky stuff all over yourself in a run so OPEN AND CONSUME WITH CAUTION!! Then in my second marathon I grabbed the ones with caffeine in thinking they would give me a bit of an extra boost - which they seemed to have done. The only thing was that the added caffeine made them taste not so nice - didn't think of that now did I?!? You need to be careful with caffeinated products and running, especially if you tend to be a little (or a lot) intolerant to caffeine, as they can really upset your tummy, which you DO NOT want to happen in the middle of a marathon!

They seemed to be ok for me, which was lucky since I didn't try the caffeinated ones in training - PHEW!
And the same rule for these - you really need to wash them down with a big cup of water as they are uber sweet! Pop one just as you are coming up to a drink station and you'll be right.

In the Rotorua marathon I took four of them. My first one I took at around 14km, then 21km, then 28, then the last at 36km. Seemed to do the trick too.
What I got told about gels is that once you start with them you kind of need to keep going with them as they give you a spike in energy (from all the sugar) but then you can drop of you don't continue taking them. I believe it too as it did come from a very seasoned pro!

 Now we get on to another topic of fuelling all together - something I have been doing to fill my Sunday afternoon. I have been baking. Yes, I did mention I have a slight addiction to this but it's all in the name of generosity and fun, I swear! I have been baking a red velvet cake for my friend's baby shower tomorrow night which has the theme of red, black and white, therefore I thought it was rather fitting. It's a pretty messy cake to make though, so I was caught wearing this little gem of an apron:

Thanks to my lovely sister-in-law
The red velvet cake has two layers and is stuck together and covered with the most HEAVENLY cream cheese frosting - yum! I must just say again that this is not race fuelling what-so-ever but you may enjoy a little treat every now and then right?? Here's what the first layer looked like fresh out of the oven:

May not look that great but I'm happy with how it turned out!

And here's the finished product. Ok, so that's not MY finished product per say (it's still a work in progress) but that's what it'll look like plus some cute decos when it's all done.

Hope it tastes and looks as good as this one does!

What is your fuel of choice for your races? Do you like to have caffeine or not? Do you recommend any great brands or products? How have you spent your Sunday afternoon?

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