Thursday, June 3, 2010

Running Fuel

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?


Faith @ LovelyAsCharged said...

Those bars look great! Any chance you have a cups measurement for those of us who dont go by a kitchen scale?

My fave pre-workout fuel is either a fruit-based carb or a light bar - the mini sized Clif's seem to do well for me.

Elina said...

Shannon - Thanks for posting the recipe. I can't wait to make these. The one you brought for me was amazing!!
Can't wait to hear about your trip!

Faith - I bet you can calculate it based on the packages of your food. For example - 1oz of nuts is usually 1/4 cups so I'd use about 1/2 - 2/3 cup in this recipe if I didn't have a scale. I'm sure you can look at the package of dates, etc. for the other "conversions".. hope that makes sense :)

Anonymous said...

Have a great trip!

Jen @ Tiny Urban Kitchen said...

Neat! I don't run long enough to need energy before a run. I am tempted to try my first half marathon though! Have a great trip!

Natalie said...

have fun in Italy!!

I'm still figuring out pre-run nutrition too...right now my longest runs have been a little over 10 and I go out on an empty stomach. It works for me but I know as my runs get longer I need to eat something! I'll try these, thanks!

Kerstin said...

What a great picture - these look fabulous! I wish I had one right now to enjoy before going to the gym :)

Hope you have an amazing trip and I already can't wait to hear all about it!!

Lauren said...

I've been eagerly anticipating this recipe since reading about the bars on Elina's blog. They sound deeeelicious!

Have a wonderful time in Italy. We'll have to catch up when you return :).

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

I am so jealous that you are going to Italy! Have a fabulous time :)

Joanne said...

Have fun on your trip babe! I want to hear some SERIOUS detail when you return! And a bowl of homemade pasta..that you are going to make for me with all of your new wisdom :P

Loved this post. My favorite pre-long run food was a larabar and a scoop of PB. I could do that about thirty minutes before a run and be good to go. Your bar sounds awesome! Totally going to try it once my stress fractures have healed.

vanillasugarblog said...

i wish i had a love for those lara bars, but i just don't. i need more protein and less fruit if that makes any sense? have fun my dear, be safe.

sophia said...

I've never been in a race, but I think my choice of fuel would be bagel with cream cheese. :-)

Have fun in Italy, Shannon! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said...

Have fun in Italy! And those bars look wonderful! I am going to give those a whirl for sure!

Rosiecat24 said...

Italy! Molto bene, Shannon!

My pre-running routine depends on what time of day I'm running. If it's after work, I'll have something small, like a few crackers and a glass of juice (and maybe a shot of soymilk in the juice--instant smoothie!) and then head straight into my run. If it's in the morning, I eat a normal breakfast--usually oatmeal with all the condiments these days--and I wait about two hours before I start working out.

Bridget said...

Hope your having the time of your life in Italy!!! It will be an amazing trip!

Those bars look delicious and sound like a perfect workout fuel!

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