A question I often get asked is what is the best food to eat before, during and after a workout.
Because there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, experimentation is the key.
Some people CAN train on empty, some feel they HAVE to train on empty, and some have to have something in the tank before they can start getting all hot and sweaty.
After a workout – depending on intensity and duration – it’s widely accepted that getting a decent hit of nutrients into your system along with some healthy fats, proteins and carbs, is a good thing.
(Interestingly though there’s been a big sway recently away from massive doses of post-workout carbs)
But what about during training?
If you’re going at it for less than an hour it’s unlikely that you really need to take on any additional fuel.
There’s little extra benefit to be gained from refuelling mid-way through a 45 minute body weight circuit, for example.
But if you’re training for something longer than an hour you may want to consider something to boost your energy.
But convenience often comes at a cost and many sports nutrition products cram in a ton of weird stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise choose to consume.
So when I heard some of my fellow iRunners talking about pouches of baby food, I was intrigued.
I’ve got 3 kids and am more than familiar with Ella’s Kitchen baby food products, but I’ve never tried them personally.
So on my run at the weekend I decided to give one a go, hoping that it might become a viable option for the 24 hour run in June.
This is what happened (Facebook video that I couldn’t get to embed in this post!)
All I had heard was ‘baby food’.
What I hadn’t realised, was that most people who have tried these pouches of organic, squeezy & convenient pouches of 100% natural energy, generally did so with the FRUIT-BASED varieties.
Like bananas & peaches, or strawberries & pear.
Not the chicken and rice casserole!
Mistake or useful lesson?
Whilst I’d be hard pressed to say that I actually enjoyed eating cold casserole that looked like it had already passed through the digestive tract of an insect at 6:30 in the morning, it did give me a valuable option.
I know that I’m going to be wanting some savoury food during this 24 hour run, and Ella’s Kitchen is now on my list of tried and tested products.
I’ll try the banana & peaches pouch that I had in my pack all along on my next run, but the key thing is that I’ve proved a principle to myself that could turn out to be incredibly useful.
In case you’re interested in the actual training that I’m doing to get myself up to snuff for Endure24, my plan is to head out for just ONE run a week.
Please note, this isn’t what I would recommend for most people, but for me (for a variety of reasons) it’s perfect.
There are 3 (possibly 4) crucial runs that I’ll be doing.
I did one of them last weekend – the 30 miler – which leaves 2 or 3 more to do.
My next big one will be a 30 miler followed by a 20 miler the next day.
The longest run will be either 45 or 50 miles and I’ll decide which in about a month’s time.
The 4th possible ‘bonus’ run would be another 30 miler, but I may drop this one in favour of more recovery.
I’m taking 2 or 3 full weeks off between these beasts, and in those weeks I’ll be doing 20 mile runs with a specific focus.
The weekend where I filmed this food experiment, for example, was 20 miles with 5×9 minutes of threshold running (minute recovery) in the middle.
So I ran about 50 minutes at 8:30 per mile pace, squeezed my casserole down my neck and then did the thresholds at about 6:00 – 6:20 per mile pace. Another 45 minutes at 9:30 pace finished off the session.
The aim is to get the fatigue in the legs without having to do big mileage every week.
I also tested out my new Camelbak Ultra10 back pack which was AMAZING. Made it easy to hydrate without losing my stride, and the pouches on the front were perfect for casserole storage.