What to eat: Pittsburgh Half Marathon training edition
As you may have read over here, Laura and I are running the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 4. And while I’m training for this half-marathon (my second), all I can think about is all the snacks I want to eat when I finish each long training run. Snacks like ice cream sandwiches, chocolate cake, burgers, and fries.
To get to the bottom of what I really should be eating pre-, during, and post-runs, I consulted an expert: Mandy Budzowski. Mandy is part of the on-site health coaching team at UPMC Health Plan. She’s competed in a plethora of races, most recently the 2013 Louisville Ironman (No Big Deal). So, naturally, she knows what’s up.
SS: What should I be eating pre-during-post runs?
MB: Before the Run: You definitely need a pre-run meal or snack a few hours before you head out to run. Make sure that it consists of a couple hundred calories, carbohydrates, some protein, and is low in fat and fiber. Some snacks include: Whole grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter, banana, pretzels, oatmeal, or a small protein bar.
During the Run: During your long runs it’s recommended to consume 120-140 calories of carbohydrates per hour and monitor hydration levels. Some of my favorites include orange slices, dried fruit, and gels (Shot Blocks or GU). It’s also important to make sure that you are rotating between water and sports drinks to replace electrolytes and stay hydrated.
After the Run: Following a long run or race, it’s important to get a mix of carbohydrates and protein in the post run meal or snack. A good rule of thumb is for a 3 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. My favorite snacks include bananas, chocolate milk, bagels, and fruit.
SS: What foods should I be avoiding?
MB: The main piece of advice I have is to make sure that you are eating high quality foods that will allow your body to perform as well as recover. Aim to eat fewer highly processed foods like baked goods, cookies, chips, and cakes. I try to steer clear of high-fat foods like creamy sauces, cheese, butter, and oils.
Eat good carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, bananas, whole wheat pasta, whole grain cereals, fruit, brown rice, and root vegetables. And, good proteins such as low fat milk, eggs, lean chicken, lean beef, yogurt, peanut butter, cottage cheese, and tofu.
So with Mandy’s advice, I should put down the pieces of chocolate cake and doughnuts with icing and sprinkles and instead shove my face with carrot and celery sticks, grilled chicken breast, and orange slices. I think I can try this for the next few weeks, knowing that immediately post-half marathon, I may or may not eat an entire chocolate cake with a side of burgers and fries.
Be sure to check back next week when Mandy explains how I can “carb up” without eating pasta (ick).
Gif from here.