“Real” Food as Fuel!

As is posted in the about us section and possibly in some other posts, both myself and Amanda are currently in training for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon that is taking place this fall on 10/10/10.  I can imagine that you’re wondering what the heck this has to do with food, but it does I promise.  Because as we all know food is our fuel.  I have to say that in this area I am still  really new to running especially long distance running.

When I trained with Team in Training for the Lake Placid Half Marathon, they continually discussed that it was important to play around with what we eat before long runs and see what works for us.  Every athlete has a different stomach and I can’t tell you the number of conversations that I have listened to and been a part of that revolve around food and in particular the food that works best for long runs.  When I started training with them I began just experimenting with different “energy bars” to see which ones would stay down and help me feel most invigorated when we set our for our 6, 8 and 10 mile runs.  I happened upon Luna Bars and they worked for me.  I stuck with it as it seemed to work.

Now check back 4 months later and I’m heading out every Saturday or Sunday morning at 6:30 AM for 13,15 & this week my first 17 mile run.  This increased distance is really changing my outlook on fueling in the AM.  One of the biggest challenges that I currently face is that I’m just not a morning person, so I have a tough time getting up even earlier than I already am to eat a decent meal and then to digest it!  The other challenge has just been learning what might actually sit ok in my stomach, not weigh me down, but be actual real “From Scratch” kind of food! I’m tired of subsisting entirely on Luna Bars and massive quantities of Gu for my runs.  (Don’t worry Amanda, I’m still in love with the Chocolate Gu.) I want to eat real food!

So here goes.  This weekend I had some time and decided that I would take a few minutes to cook up some different things to try so that I could expand my running food knowledge and see if there are other things out there besides energy bars that will work for me.  I was inspired by Amanda’s previous post about Banana Bread.  If you can believe it I was out of a couple of the ingredients and with a 2 year  old running around the house, I just didn’t have it in me to go to the store.

Instead I turned to one of my favorite new cookbooks Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, to see if they might have a Banana Bread option.  Sure enough they do.  It’s Whole Wheat Banana Bread and I believe the full recipe is on pg. 200 of the book.  I’m actually not going to repost the recipe because there is a whole technique to using their recipes and baking their breads.  If you’re not familiar with it, I strongly encourage you to check it out.  It has revolutionized bread making in my house.  And by that I mean, we went from not making bread, to making several loaves a week.

Back to the bread.  My husband is not all on board with the whole healthy food movement that I have enacted in our house.  He still is hoping for the treats from time to time.  He came home from golfing afternoon  to a freshly baked loaf of the Whole Wheat Banana Bread.  He must have asked me 5 different times if he could slice off a piece yet.  Finally  I gave in even though it wasn’t cooled all the way.  Let me say, Yum! It’s not your grandma’s banana bread as it’s much healthier, but you can smell the bananas and cinnamon.  Delish! This morning we all had it as toast with some great Adirondack Jack peanut butter to top it off!

I’m going to try it this weekend with a little bit of peanut butter about an hour before my run.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Who knows, maybe there’s a new fuel in town.

Do any of you run or workout?  Have a favorite food that never lets you down?  I think that later this week I’ll make granola as well and give that a run in my training.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy H. says:

    I’m doing the half marathon in Schroon Lake on 9/26/10 and am looking for good energy foods too. When i hike, i rely on PowerBars, organic fruit leathers and gorp but its much easier to munch as you go when hiking… not so much in a marathon situation! Would love to know how your banana bread/ pb combo worked out for you. What do you drink to stay hydrated beyond plain water?

    1. Sarah F says:

      Hey Amy! Great news on the half in Schroon. Let me know how it is. I was interested in registering, but just never got around to it. I will totally post an update on the bread and pb combo for the long run this weekend. We’re shooting for 18 miles so fuel will be essential.

      I run with a handheld water bottle as now that it’s hot out I can’t go very far without a swig of water. I miss the days where I never took one with me. I mostly rely on water, but when it’s this hot out I also go for gatorade as well in order to off set some of the sweating that I’m doing. I’ve just started mixing half gatorade and half water as an option as well. It’s a bit more palatable than carrying straight gatorade.

      Good luck with your race! And your adventure into food as fuel. Let us know how you did! 🙂

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