Fuel during runs

Blog for Rejoov Runners By Lisa Sherman, Nutritionist

Mobile 0413 580 608

Email:  wholelifenutrition1@gmail.com

Website: wholelifenutrition.net.au

Fuel during runs

An important but sometimes overlooked part of training is your nutrition during long sessions. Runners often want to know how much they need to eat during a long run, or what type of food works best. There are general guidelines around amount of energy you need to consume depending on length of session or event and I discuss these in more detail below. But in terms of what food works best – the simple answer is what works best for you and what you have tried in training.


During your long training sessions, you want to experiment with various foods and fuel sources and determine what works best for you to replenish your energy stores, keep you moving, and importantly doesn’t cause a stomach or other digestive upset. You want to aim for energy sources that are easily absorbed, low fibre and low fat foods in the form of carbohydrate to provide quick energy, and a small amount of protein can be helpful to assist with recovery and muscle health.


During my summer training for both swimrun and run events, I’ve experimented with a range of different foods from mashed sweet potato carried in easy to tear open ziplock pouches, dried dates and figs and a range of different gels and chews. It’s always good to have a few different options that work for you so that you can mix it up depending on your session, or if you can’t get your preferred energy source on event day.


As mentioned, the amount of energy or fuel required and when, depends on the length of your session or event. It also varies of course depending on the individual and some prolonged sessions may require more fuel to maximise performance. But as a general guide:


·       Less than 75mins, no fuel needed

·       75mins to 3 hours, 30-60g carbohydrate per hour

·       More than 3 hours, 30-90g carbohydrate per hour


So what does 30g carbohydrate look like? Below are some ideas that you might want to try on your next training session.


·       Small banana or ¼ cup raisins/sultanas (small packet) – 30g

·       3 medjool dates – 30g

·       10 halves dried apricots – 30g

·       4 medium dried figs – 30g

·       1 applesauce squeeze packet – 20-25g

·       1 small or half a large potato (salted boiled or sweet potato) – 30g

·       1 slice white bread with 2 tablespoons honey/jam – 45g

·       2 tablespoons honey – 30g

·       Packaged concentrated gels such as Huma gels (made from chia seeds), Endura, Gu, Tailwind etc. Definitely need to trial these prior to event day as they are a variety of flavours, some have caffeine or additional sodium to help replenish what is lost during exercise.

·       High-carbohydrate sports bars – varies (check label)

·       10 jelly beans – 30g (check label)


You will also need to ensure you are taking on regular and adequate fluid in the form of water and electrolytes. Some runners may also find it helpful to consume a light meal 30-60mins prior to the session or event (depending on what works best for you and what you have tried in the past). Some good options for pre-session energy boost are a small banana,  slice of bread with peanut or nut butter, honey or jam.


And always remember the golden rule for an event – don’t try anything new or that you haven’t tried in training!

Swim Run Australia mixed teams start 2019

Swim Run Australia mixed teams start 2019

Swim Run Australia debut - Lisa and Grant smashed it!

Swim Run Australia debut - Lisa and Grant smashed it!

Boston Marathon by Maya Borthwick

Boston marathon race report

by Maya Borthwick

5.40 am - I wake up before my alarm goes off, excited, race day is finally here. I jump out of bed and look out the window. The weather and what it’s going to do on race day has been a hot topic, with predictions for rain, thunderstorms and wind. It’s raining outside and windy but no thunderstorms yet, phew!

Andrew and I jog slowly over the bridge to the Boston Common where the buses collect runners to take them out to the start line. We’re almost there when the rain starts, then the thunder. The rain is torrential and I’m grateful for the rain poncho that I bought from 7/11. It’s not fancy but it’s keeping me dry. I meet Juny and her friend and say goodbye to Andrew. We stand in the line for the bus and we’re on in a matter of minutes.

45 mins later we arrive at the athletes village in Hopkinton. The rain has stopped. We file into the village. The rain has turned the ground into a bog and there’s no choice but to walk through the mud. In parts I can barely lift my feet up due to the suction from the squelchy mud underneath, thankfully I’ve brought a change of shoes with me and they’re dry. A quick pit stop and then we line up for the corrals, the time here goes more quickly than I expected.

I line up two rows from the front. I figure this is far enough back to stop me getting carried away with the enthusiastic runners at the start. We wait at the start line for around 20 minutes and then the count down begins. 3,2,1 and we’re off. The first km is a steep downhill, I feel like I’m holding back but as I hit the 1 km mark I look at my watch, 3.52 whoops! I slow a bit to what feels to me like around 4.15 pace but every time I look at my watch it says I’m doing low 4min kms. I go through 5km in 20.25. Uh oh! I hope that the fast start won’t come back to bite me later on.

Even though it seems like we’re in the country, people line the streets the whole way. There are blokes drinking beers and cheering us and kids are everywhere, putting their hands out for high fives. I try to high five a few but it’s hard to do this and to keep momentum. I hit 10 kms in 41 mins- still too fast but I’m feeling good.

The next 10 kms goes quickly although it flattens out a bit here. I take this as a good sign as in previous marathons even the first half has seemed long. I go through half way in 1.28.30, still well on target for a sub 3 hour race. Just before we reach the half way mark we hit the Wellesley college scream tunnel. It’s fantastic, it seems like every girl in the college has turned up to cheer us on. They’re waving placards, asking for kisses...hopefully they get a few.

At 27 kms we hit the Newton hills, 4 hills in succession, covering 7kms. I realise now that I’ve gone out too hard. The hills seem like they go forever and the downhill seems brief. The last hill, Heartbreak Hill, is between 33 and 34 km and by now I’m cooked, my legs are shattered and it’s also starting to get hot on course, there’s no shade to speak of. I crest the hill and look at my watch, uh oh, 5.19 pace, I need to make up time now. I lean down the hill and cover the next km in 4.16 but I can’t keep it up. I’m still on track for a PB though.

The next 6kms are so hard, it’s still not flat, a bit of downhill is followed by more uphill. I try to pick up my legs and go faster, I’m thinking about the race pace tempos I did in the park after 20kms but my legs won’t cooperate. I think about everyone tracking me at home and how they’d be seeing me slow, I manage a few faster kms. We’re right into Boston now and the crowds are huge. People are cheering and calling out my name, stay strong Maya, looking good. Except I know that I’m not. I set myself a goal of keeping under 5 min kms. In the last 2kms my quads start cramping and I walk a bit. Finally I come into Boylston Street and I can see the finish line. I try and pick it up again for the finish, I can still get a PB. I cross the line and stop my watch. 3.08.16.

The Boston marathon was a truly amazing race, great atmosphere, huge buzz and the most challenging course I've run to date. I’m now looking forward to ticking off the other world marathon majors.

Maya on her way to a PB 3.08.16 in her first Marathon Major

Maya on her way to a PB 3.08.16 in her first Marathon Major

Rejoovers & Hurt squad mates at celebratory drinks post marathon

Rejoovers & Hurt squad mates at celebratory drinks post marathon

Alpine Ascent by Susan McCallum

Looking for a trail challenge after Coastal Classic I was taken by Fran’s description of ‘awesome’ for Alpine Ascent. Who could refuse a run up Kosciuszko? Cathy Rowney was quickly on board and even my husband who hates racing reluctantly agreed. After all, it was ‘only 25k’ and cutoff times were generous. Characteristically fearless, Nadine Aronheim went straight for 50. Greta did her best with the training plans and many weeks of hills in the steamy summer heat followed , up and down city streets, Manly Dam trails and the Blue Mountains , with backpacks bursting with mandatory gear ( waterproof pants, anyone?) .

Finally we made the trip down, surprised at the delicious mountain chill . Jindabyne was buzzing with runners looking for vegan treats, bandaids and beer.

The start was at Charlottes Pass with the ski lifts strangely empty on a beautiful sunny morning As we trotted off up the hill I could feel the effects of 1800 m altitude -sloow . Might need to revise that ambitious 3:30 goal....A short descent to the first of a few creeks sorted out the runners - orderly queue for the stepping stones( them) or run straight through the water ( us) . Then followed a long and winding trail with occasional stairs passing through fantastic mountain scenery ever upwards above the Blue Lake and Lake Albina with a few patches of single trail to keep us on our toes. Plenty of walk - run allowed for inspiring chat with fellow runners: ‘ great view ’ gasp- ‘yeah! ‘ We were high on life! Or low on oxygen! Just when I thought we could climb no more we linked up with the main trail to ascend Kosci. Cold wind gusts reminded me that we were at the top of Australia , as did the tourists wrapped up in puffer jackets and beanies- Why was I in my shorts and singlet again ? No time for questions, onwards and upwards to the cairn at the top and a quick selfie in the howling gale. ‘Get down before the rain comes’ was the general advice from experienced vollies and we began a glorious run down the gravel trail to the Snowy River and on to Rawson’s pass. The single aid station had just a bottle of water and a few red frogs by the time I shuffled past . As I came to the top of the hill to begin the final descent there was a roar from the Valley- Stephanie Auston had just won the 50k outright! I staggered home in 3:29 meeting Fran who had come in earlier, rapt to get a pb . Shortly after, the first male winner for the 50 arrived across the line , still smiling . Cathy and I caught up with Aiofe and a few beers while we sat around to wait for the 50 k runners . Through the afternoon as the rain came down and the wind picked up we had opportunity to wear all our mandatory gear . We cheered Nadine across the finish in the dark - absolute hero . Everyone slept very well that night! Bonus was my husband discovering he’d won his AG in the 12k and attending the medal presentation next day with the incredible Steph Auston .

I’ll definitely be back next year , waterproof pants and all !

All smiles ladies!!

All smiles ladies!!

Rock stars!!

Rock stars!!