When this posts, I'll be on my way to Italy! I am not traveling with a computer, so please excuse my absence for a bit. I'll be sure to respond to any questions or comments when I return :)
I don't talk alot about nutrition here, in terms of fueling for exercise, because it is very individualized. It took time to figure out what worked for me and what didn't. In fact, I'm still experimenting and trying things out for optimal performance.
When I first started running, my go-to was half a bagel with peanut butter. And I wondered why I had to wait 2-3hrs before I could run without cramping! It took way too long to put it together that pb takes awhile for me to digest. Clif bars? sit. like. a. rock. even when you eat it 2 hours prior to your half marathon. Oops. However you might not have such issues :) (Biking and swimming definitely pose less problems!)
After my peanut butter revelation, I switched to Luna bars when I needed fuel before a run. These worked, and were portable when I was racing out of town, but I still needed some time to digest them. At some point last winter ('08-'09) I discovered by sheer accident that I could run not long after eating a Pure bar! I was a little skeptical at first, but realized that the dried fruit (dates and other fruit) are easy to digest and provide enough quick-burning fuel for me. Elina tried my bar after completing her half marathon (congrats again!!) and asked me to share the recipe, so here's it is. I reserve the right to keep tweaking it, too!
Running Fuel (aka Fruit & Nut Bars)
Recipe by Shannon
I was trying to recreate the Pure bar, which uses agave and brown rice protein. I don't have any protein powder right now, so I left it out, but like the idea of adding some to add some staying power. The agave can help the bars together, but they also impart a softer texture. In the summer heat, I've left it out, but it works both ways!
165g pitted Medjool dates
165g dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, apples... I had an antioxidant blend this time)
50-75g nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts... I used a blend of all 3)
15-30g agave (optional)
5g brown rice protein (optional)
Roughly chop dates and dried fruit. (I found I needed to do this for a more uniform mixture in my food processor) Add dried fruit and nuts to the bowl of a food processor and blend until well combined. Drizzle in agave if desired and run until the mixture comes together (it will start forming a ball). Remove mixture and portion into whatever sizes you desire. I made 10 bars from the amounts shown, each about 30g. I wrap them up in a small piece of saran and store them on the fridge until I grab one and go!
What's your preferred pre-race nutrition?