Run Nutrition… and a bit of dive bombing! – Jennifer McBride

One thing that has been frustrating for me to get my head around, and also to implement correctly, is running nutrition.Firstly though I want to share a recent running experience….

Last Sunday while I was doing my long run up in the hills and was about 8km from the end, mentally lamenting abut how my legs felt tired, how far I had to go and why don’t they have toilets out here…. When – “Oh my god what the hell is that?!!!”  My mental conversation with myself had gone from worrying about trivial stuff to screaming at my legs to move faster! I was being dive-bombed by a rather zealous magpie who was convinced that I was trying to steal its babies!! Sore, tried legs were forgotten in an instant, I could hear myself screaming and rampaging along the trail. I sprinted the last 500m until I was out into the open and back onto the road again. Fastest 500m I’ve ever done and there’s nothing like a dump of adrenaline into your system to get you moving. When I got home I Googled how to avoid the ‘protective’ nature of magpies. Apparently screaming and running flat out isn’t the way to manage attacks – you should just walk away calmly and quietly. Um, yeah nah no thanks. I have run this track many times over the past year and have never experienced this.   According to Google, magpies remember faces and will attack the same person again even if there is no perceived threat. Breeding/dive bombing season finishes in November so I will be altering my run route until then!

Right back to relevant stuff like sports nutrition. I know that the science behind fueling right means that I can run for longer and getting my nutrition right obviously also helps your body recover faster, ready for next time. I have been learning about the power of carbohydrates being the main providers of energy in my run diet. My day-to-day diet is usually focused on ‘whole foods’ and I try and limit my sugar intake (added and hidden). Running nutrition is an area that is new and feels completely foreign to me and it appears, (very frustratingly) can take a while to get right. Thanks to some information supplied by Richard I have worked out that between my electrolyte replacement drink and gels, my carbohydrate consumption might have been unbalanced, causing me to feel thirsty even when taking on fluids and also giving me an upset stomach post-run. Last weekend I tried just water with an Em’s power bar and it was good in the sense that this combination didn’t upset my stomach, but my energy levels didn’t feel balanced. I don’t have a sweet tooth so using gels and energy chews takes a bit of effort.   Plus needing around 60g of carbohydrates per hour equals a lot ‘real food’ in comparison to chews and gels!   So I am back to the drawing board of what is going to work for me. I have a 30km run planned for this Sunday so will be trying out some new combinations to hopefully find something that sustains the energy levels without too much gastro upset. I am also working on some new strategies for refueling post run at the moment as I find it difficult to eat after a long run. This inevitably leads to wanting to eat the entire contents of the fridge about 2 hours post run. Never a good thing! So tomorrow will be another step in the process of conquering a marathon!