Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fun Foods to Sustain Energy for Your Run

Long runs can be a wonderful way to build your endurance, strength, and to add miles onto your weekly training program. They’re also a super stress reliever and a good way to learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. If you’re going to be out running for more than an hour, however, you will need to start consuming calories.

dried apricots Français : abricots secs traité...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Know Your Calorie Facts

Most experts agree that after running for an hour you will not be able to replace calories faster than you burn them. You’ll burn around 500 calories an hour and you’d have to eat a lot to replace those calories. And if you’ve ever run on a full stomach you know that it’s not a good idea!

However, you do need to consume additional calories to be able to continue working out. A good estimate is around 200 calories an hour. That means eating, or drinking, 200 calories every sixty minutes. Most, if not all, of those calories will ideally be carbohydrates. Your body burns them quickly and they’re easy to digest. Sports bars and gels are an easy resource; however they can get boring and expensive - plus they tend to be loaded with chemicals, sugars, and other stuff that's really not good for your body. Why not try some real food sources instead? Here are a few fun foods to eat on your long runs.

#1 Dried Fruit

English: Strawberry Rhubarb, Apple Juice Infus...
Strawberry Rhubarb, Apple Juice Infused dried fruit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dried fruit like raisins and apricots taste lovely. They’re easy to chew and digest and they’re certainly light enough to carry in a bag or in a pocket. One cup of packed raisins has almost 500 calories. Try banana chips, dried apple and papaya and dried pineapple too.

#2 Fruit

Many runners run with fruit. Bananas are a favorite however grapes and apples work too. Just be sure you have a place to store the peels and cores if you won't have easy access to a good place to dispose of them.

#3 Peanut Butter and Honey Tortillas

If you enjoy peanut butter, make your own wraps. The tortilla makes them easy to hold while you run and a whole wheat tortilla has added fiber. They will contain a nice boost of both protein and carbs. They can get a bit messy but they’re a tasty way to get your calories while you run. Put them in a zip-lock baggie and they should hold up okay for a while.

Pretzels (Photo credit: marlana)
#4 Pretzels and Granola Bars

Finally, some people find that pretzels or granola snack bars work well for them. Make sure, if you’re consuming something dry like pretzels or granola, that you have plenty of water to drink.

It’s important that you experiment to find the right food choices for you and also the right timing. While some people may feel they need to eat every thirty minutes you may feel better if you only eat before and after your run. Some people love to eat nuts and fruit while they run and others struggle to digest and perform better with liquid calories like juice. Experiment to find the best solution for your needs.

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