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Your Fueling Questions Answered

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
March 8th 2023
Hello, fellow runners. I'm your host, Finn Melanson. And this is the run to the top podcast, the podcast dedicated to making you a better runner with each and every episode we are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connected dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner and every budget, learning how to properly fuel before and after your runs can be a tricky piece of the running puzzle to figure out since there's no one correct answer for everyone. It's no surprise then that some of the most common questions we receive on our social channels and over email involve fueling for training in today's episode. We're gonna have our team of coaches give you the answers to some of the questions we've received about feeling before and after runs, our coaches will help you figure out the best way to approach feeling before super early runs. Whether Glycogen depleted runs should be a part of your training, how to properly fuel for double workout days, how to ensure you get enough calories in on long run days.

What to focus on after your runs in terms of fueling any special modifications you need to make on long run days. And finally, what being hungry all the time or at night means if you've ever had questions about your pre or post run fueling practices, you're gonna love this episode. Let's take it away coaches. Before we get to our conversation. I wanted to talk about the importance of electrolytes, especially in the winter. maintaining healthy electrolyte levels is not only important for your run but your recovery and overall health as well. That's why we recommend all runners check out element this winter. It's loaded with everything you need to replenish your electrolyte balance with 1000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium in 60 mg of magnesium. And it doesn't include anything you don't need like extra sugar or anything artificial. Stay tuned for how you can get a free sample pack at element dot com. That's L M N T dot com. Forward slash runners connect. Hi. My question today is regarding refueling after a run.

I'm currently I'm marathon training and I like to get my runs done first thing in the morning and I find it hard to get anything in my stomach before I run due to time. And also because I get left with an upset stomach if I'm running with too much in my stomach. And so I'm wondering if it's best to eat a post run snack right after and then eat a more nutritious meal a couple hours later, or if I would be able to just eat that nutritious post run meal, you know, four or 500 calorie meal right after my run. I'm also doing back to back long runs on the weekend and I'm wondering what the best strategy or any tips or advice you have for fueling between those runs. Not necessarily during the runs, I typically will take in gel if it's a longer run during the runs. But after the first one, throughout that day and before the second run that next morning, I'm noting that I typically don't eat anything before I head out the door for the run.

So any tips or advice would be helpful. Thank you. Fantastic question, Aaron. I'm gonna divide the answer into three categories, each of which is very important. So we have pre run nutrition, post run nutrition and between long run nutrition first, we'll tackle a pre run nutrition. You have the same issue most runners have, which is you don't want to eat anything since it upsets your stomach. First thing I'll say is that it's, it's truly a trial and error process. You might think that nothing works for you, but it's possible you simply haven't found the right foods and it can take some time for your stomach to adjust. So, just because something doesn't work the first time doesn't mean it never will. First. A few reasons that you need to eat before you run first, your liver glycogen is depleted overnight. So ideally, you're gonna get this back up before you go run. Second food can actually help settle your stomach. It actually absorbs some of the juices that can cause issues without any food. Also, it's the last chance to fuel your muscles before the run, which is obviously very important. So let's talk about what to eat before run and when to eat it. So first off is timing. This is purely a trial and error process and it's also very individualized. Some people need several hours after a meal to run while others can eat right before they step out the door.

We all know those types of people, just iron stomachs, they can just eat and then go run immediately after without a problem. First thing is to try a moderate size snack around 90 minutes prior to your run. That's just a good starting point. Then if you handle it well, you can maybe move it a little bit closer to the run and maybe 10 15 minute increments and see how close you can get to the point where you need to stop and, and that's your, that's your time. If it doesn't work well, you're gonna want to move it farther away. So again, in those 10 15 minute increments, perhaps up to our 45 or two hours and just see what works for you. But 90 minutes is a really good starting point. Alright, let's talk about particular foods. It really depends on the run. So first off, just to mention, you know, for an easy run, you don't need a lot more than a small snack. You know, most of the stuff we're talking about in this podcast has to do with, with longer runs or harder workouts. So for an easy run, a small snack will do, but for the long runs, which is again, what we're discussing here, obviously, you're gonna need a bit more. So it really comes down to experimentation. Some things to try that many runners that we coach your runners connect have found work for them are oatmeal.

Maybe a bagel with some peanut butter, small amount of peanut butter. Ideally, because a lot can definitely upset your stomach or even yogurt. Yogurt is one that actually works really well for a lot of people perhaps, especially because it has especially a probiotic yogurt, which can actually help your stomach from there. It's really a trial and error process and unless something really upsets your stomach, try to give it at least a few runs before throwing in the towel just to see if your stomach can adapt to it. Now, there is one exception to talk about and that's the glycogen depleted long run. These definitely have their place in marathon training, but it's occasionally, it's definitely not often a glycogen depleted long run essentially means that you, you run into Glycogen depleted state. You don't really have that meal before you run. Some people will just have just purely water and actually some runners will do just vegetables and water, just something to line the stomach without really giving it the fuel. It needs to run that far, but just something to put in the stomach. But ideally just water, these can help teach the body to burn fat more efficiently, which is obviously very important for the marathon. But these really must be used sparingly. It's a bit of a double edged sword. They can be very helpful, but they can also be very damaging to the body.

And when you do them, you need to make sure that you refuel as quickly as possible after the run. Okay. On to post run nutrition. We covered this extensively in our podcast on chocolate milk, which is episode 33. So be sure to check that out. But essentially you want a 3 to 1 to 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to proteins within 90 minutes of a long run or hard workout. Fortunately, in this case, you've already run. So you're not as worried about an upset stomach. Now, ideally, you're having something within 30 minutes. So a liquid snack or like a protein shake or chocolate milk, like we referred to in that other po'ed that within 30 minutes of the long run, that's ideal to have that liquid snack with those carbs and proteins then a larger, more balanced meal within the next couple of hours still, you want to focus on carbs and proteins in those couple hours after, but more balanced than the immediate post run drink, which is very, very complex carb heavy and has a 3 to 1 to 4 to 1 ratio of carbs proteins that's very important in that immediate 30 minute window. Now, let's talk about between run nutrition, which might be the most important topic here and most relevant to the question at hand here, it's very, very important when you're doing back to back long runs or even those steady long run combos, which we're big fans of it.

Runners connect. That's what you do. You know, maybe a 4 to 8 mile steady run on, on Friday or Saturday, whichever day is your long run day and then the next day you do your long run. So it kind of gets you a lot of volume within a 24 to 36 hour period. If one long run severely depletes your glycogen, think of what two of them back to back does. So obviously, our focus is on carbohydrates, which will keep those glycogen levels high. Your caloric intake will need to be extremely high here using our calorie calculator, which I'm six ft £265 if I'm running two hours, which isn't even that long of a long run at 10 minute pace. I need around 4500 calories for the day, over two days with two long runs. That's 9000 calories. You need to be eating constantly. And a lot, I'd say this is actually more important than what you eat right before each run. A lot more important. Carbs should be very high, focusing on more high glycemic carbs immediately after each run and lower glycemic carbs at other times. So your grains, your fruits and vegetables, your potatoes, etcetera, obviously a bunch of good protein and then a heavier focus on fat than right after the run.

You don't want as much fat immediately after running because it can slow the absorption of the other stuff, the carbs and the proteins, normally, that's a good thing, but not when you're trying to quickly revamp your glycogen. So that's the basics between your long runs. You want to be eating a lot eating often and consuming lots of carbohydrates. Alright. There you have it runs, connect fans make sure you're eating well and make sure you're eating enough long runs. Really take it out of you and you need to make sure you're fueling your body properly. Alright, let's get into today's question comes from Patrick. His question is, what are the benefits of a glycogen depleted long run? And how should you prepare yourself for them? Should you carbo load the night before or just eat a normal meal? Great question and one that we all are intrigued by, I'm gonna answer the second question first. Should you carbo load the night before or just eat a normal meal? The answer would be neither. I think most of us, uh, eat carbs to begin with some amount each meal. So you definitely want to cut those out if you want to have a normal meal the night before. For me in the car below. If I'm gonna run, say a long run on Saturday morning, I'm gonna not take any carbs after lunch on Friday.

So no carbs in the afternoon, no carbs in the evening, no carbs the morning of the long run Saturday morning. Um, so almost about 18 hours with no carbs. So definitely not carbon loading, definitely not having carbs. Um, the night before for me Glycogen deplete to run. Uh And what I prescribed is just water. So you wake up Saturday morning, have some water, no coffee if your coffee drinker. Um, no banana and you really just don't take, I don't take anything, just get up. You want to get the run done with an out of the way because you're hungry. So you get up, have a glass of water to head out on the run. And the only thing you feel with, um, on the run is water. Um, save the carbo loading meal for after you run where you wanna, you know, you're so depleted. You really want to have a lot of carbs after the run. A lot of protein, stuff like that. So back to part one of the question, what are the benefits of a glycogen depleted run? The main benefit is you want to burn fat. It teaches your body to burn fat more efficiently.

One article I read is to burn the same amount of glycogen compared to fat. It takes two calories to burn the glycogen, whereas it takes eight calories to burn the same amount of fat. So you're thinking you're the end of a marathon, your body is transitioning from Glycogen. Um As your glycogen stores are, are wearing down or are depleted, your body switching from making the same amount of energy using two calories. And now it has to go to eight calories to make the exact same amount of energy. So that's where kind of we where the bonking comes in and where the wall comes in. It's all that all comes together late in a marathon. So this is why we practice the glycogen pleading becomes more uh you become more teachers to become more efficient at at burning fuel from fat. One study set shows that levels of the enzymes are associated with fat metabolism significantly increase, you know, your fat metabolism improves at all paces as well. So you're better able to use Glycogen more efficiently as well as fat more efficiently at different paces at five K pace is at tempo pace is it just doesn't have to be the long run.

Couple things to keep in mind though. From the study is that the benefits of doing Glycogen completed long runs, it doesn't actually make you more fit. So, doing these, doing long runs, Glycogen depleted. If you're training for a five K or 10-K or really anything under an hour and a half or two hours isn't gonna make you any quicker. So it's, it's not gonna give you any kind of advantage. Um, since you'll be burning pretty much 100% Glycogen and all those races. Another thing to keep in mind is the faster you run, the more Glycogen, greater percentage of your energy comes from Glycogen. So this is why we always preach to not go out so quick in a marathon, you're just gonna burn, you just burning up those Glycogen stores a little bit quicker. Um, if you're growing out above your head or, Or, or you're not going out as conservative as, you know, most marathon plans prepare you to go out as it's basically just a waiting game and try and delay, delay, the depletion of glycogen as long as you can. And, you know, hopefully on a great day, it's 26.2 miles.

Another point is you don't want to do these every weekend and typically you want to always make sure you're depleted. Long runs are just long, easy, long runs. You don't want to do any kind of fast finish or search or any kind of long run with a lot of pace variations in it. You just want to go out depleted, get the long run in and, and call it a day. The most that I would recommend during a training cycle would be two or three. You go very deep into the, well, leaving the house without Glycogen for several number of hours and then you're putting a long run on top of that. So your, when you come home, you're very depleted almost. You know, some of the same things would happen during the actual race. So, you know, like I said earlier, good carbo loaded meal after the run is ideal. A lot of protein. A lot of rest, a lot of hydration, you're just trying to get yourself right back out of that well, and recover as quickly as possible. Let's get to today's question and today's question actually comes from Laura.

She has a question about double days. I usually go for my run in the morning and then depending on the day, either run again or do hit or core in the afternoon for the second session. I tend to feel a bit weak and shaky afterwards. I don't eat before these sessions. So maybe that's why. But how do you feel on days where you do two sessions? I don't want to gain weight, but I also want to fuel properly. Any tips? Thanks so much. This is a really great question because there are a lot of people that do double sessions maybe not necessarily double runs but are doing a run in the morning and then their strength training in the afternoon or evening. So I think it's important to make sure that we're fueling and recovering right from all of these sessions. Um, in order to, to get what we need to do when I'm first going to address is actually the latter part of your question when you mentioned that you don't want to gain weight, but you want to fuel properly. So that is very common. Runners are usually either trying to lose weight or at least maintain proper weight. So, what you actually want to do is you want to start understanding what your total caloric needs are for the day.

And that starts by starting to understand what your, what your T D is, which is your thermal, like basically how much calories you burn throughout the day without any exercise. Basically, just what your thermal like metabolism burns through. And then you're gonna add on top how many runs you're doing or the types of workouts that you're doing throughout the day. And that's gonna be your total caloric needs. And then from there, you're going to start their subtract calories. If you want to lose weight, you're gonna keep those calories the same. If you want to maintain your weight or if you want to ensure recovery, you can add one or 200 calories. If you want to lose weight, you're going to subtract about 300 to 500 calories for that particular day. So, for example, it's difficult to give here, but let's say you're about 100 and £40 as a female. And I don't know if that's what you are or not, but I'm just giving you a general example. Um, your T D is probably gonna be somewhere in the 17 hundreds, 1800 calorie range depending on how active you are throughout the day, what your body fat percentage is, etcetera, how tall you are.

But that's going to give you your baseline, Then you would add in the types of runs that you're doing. So let's maybe, let's just say the distance and duration and intensity of your runs for that day add up to about an actual 300 calories. So now we're talking about about 2000 calories for the day is what you need to maintain your current weight. If you wanted to lose weight, you would target for that day anywhere between 1600 to 1700 calories I would recommend. And if you wanted to ensure recovery, you know, and not necessarily concerned with weight gain, which I know you're, you are, but others might not be. Um, you would look to do maybe 21, calories for that day. And so that's the important part because if you're really concerned about weight loss or optimal recovery, you need to know how many calories you're burning and this is a much bigger discussion than I could get into in this daily podcast. But caloric expenditure, how much calories you're burning, how much calorie you're taking in is the number one, pretty much the only impact that's going to the only thing that's gonna impact your weight loss or your weight fluctuation.

Um, so that is the essential number to get into if you are interested in learning a little bit more. Are masters section has some awesome material on this. Um first we did a complete nutrition summit, uh probably three or four months ago that we went into in depth onto all these things in the diets into how to calculate your macronutrients, how to calculate your calories. Why it's important, you know, all of those things. It was a three day event. There's probably, I think there's almost 25 hours of content just on nutrition specifically. But in that master section, we also have a calorie calculator for you and it's, it's specific to running. So what you do is you, you give us your weight, your height. Um How much you ran for that particular day, the distance you ran, the intensity that you ran basically all those parameters. And we'll tell you exactly how many calories that you need to burn for that or what your caloric expenditure is that particular day. And then we do the calculations for you. This is what you need to do if you want to lose weight this is how much you need to target if you want to gain weight. And that calculator is available to you in the master section. And we all, we have a 30 day challenge which goes through the whole process of like how to meal plan, how to meal prep, what that kind of looks like.

So I don't obviously have hyped it up a little bit here, but if you want to check it out, go to runners connect dot net slash pro. Um And you can sign up for the master's program and you can kind of basically start getting access to that if you, if you want, if you don't want to do those calculations for you. Um So that covers the, this, that is the essential step that you need to take, not necessarily sign up for the masters, but understanding your caloric total. That's the step that you need to take in order to make sure that you're not going to gain or lose weight. Now, when it comes to fueling before and after your workouts, it's basically a two step process. So we're looking at your first session and the important part for the second day or your second session is we need to make sure that you're recovering after that first workout. And so in order to do that, there's just a couple calculations, you need to do pretty simple. Basically what you're gonna want to do for optimal recovery research and science has shown that you want a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. So for every four g of carbohydrate, you consume, you want to consume one g of protein.

And the reason for that is it actually helps stimulate muscle recovery. Um it helps with the insulin regulation, it helps speed the carbohydrates, the glycogen and the proteins in the muscles to help you recover that 4-1 ratio for your really hard workouts. Like you're really intense sessions. What you're looking for is about.5g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. So just to give you example of what that would look like for 100 and £50 person, 500.5 g of carbohydrate per pound would be about 75 g of carbohydrate because you want that 4 to 1 ratio, you're gonna want about 16 to 20 g of protein along with that. So that would be like a really tough session. You, you had like really really difficult speed workout and you really want to make sure that you're recovering. You would look to try to get 75 g of carbohydrate and 20 g of protein sometime in the hour to two hours after that particular workout. Um It doesn't have to be within a half hour, but you know, the closer you can get it to that workout just crazy with it. You can do that in a bunch of different ways. My favorite thing to do is use sports nutrition products like India rocks has that 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates protein.

I think that they taste great. So you can add a scoop or two of your rocks. And then if you, you know, maybe that's right after your workout and then, so that's within a half hour and then over the next hour maybe have a meal like some yogurt with granola, a banana with a protein shake, peanut butter, you know, something like that. Um You know, play around with what the foods that work for you based on the types of food you like how quick it is to cook, what time you have available where you are, that kind of thing. But shoot for that 75 g of carbohydrate, 20 g of protein for your hardest workouts. And then you adjust that number up and down mostly down, depending on how hard the session was. So if your morning session was pretty easy, you could probably get away with 0.25 g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. So if it's just an easy run or light workout, you could be looking at something like 25 to 50 g of carbohydrate and 10 to 15 g of protein. You know, depending on how hard or easy you're working. So that, that's an important step because in order in order to have a good second session and session the next day, you need to make sure that you recovered from that first session.

So that's the first step in making sure that you have recovery and fueling right for your second session. Now, the second step is going to be fueling before the run. So that's where you're going to want to usually do more complex carbohydrates. Um you don't quite need as much protein, you know, before you go for your run, you can pretty much get away with mostly complex carbohydrates and those are gonna be anywhere from 90 minutes to three hour hours away from your run. So that concludes something like brown rice, quinoa oatmeal. There's all kinds of all kinds of complex carbs. If you just go to Google, complex carbs, you can see all kinds of different options that you can see and you could use, that's going to be the primary fuel that you want to have throughout the day. Um And then as you get closer to the run, if it's a harder run or a really harder workout, you could do a little bit more carbohydrate, that might be a little bit more simple sugar or have, have a higher glycemic index, which is going to speed the glycogen to your system a little bit quicker. Um That would be something like a banana piece of fruit bread, you know, those types of things.

So maybe if you're really concerned, you could do something within a half an hour an hour by eating some types of those carbohydrates Um and then again, recovery afterwards, you want to make sure that you get about 4-1 ratio of protein to carbohydrate and making sure that your, you know, it sounds like your second sessions are a little bit easier. So you could probably get away with, you know,.25g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. Getting back to what I was talking about first with your caloric totals. Basically what you're going to do to make sure that you don't gain weight is you're gonna take the total amount of calories you had after your run or basically throughout the day after your run in the morning, before you run in the afternoon, after you run in the afternoon and you're just going to add all those up. So the way I would approach it is say, okay, let's say in my example, I said that £150 person wants 75 g of carbohydrate and about 20 g of protein. Let's just assume that we didn't have any fat in that meal, which is probably impossible. But we'll go ahead and kind of pretend anyway, that's gonna be about maybe 384 100 calories.

75 g of carb, 20 g of protein is 380 calories in that range. And then if we look at maybe before our run, let's say we had another, let's say we had a couple of oatmeal or serving of oatmeal serving of oatmeal is about 100 and 50 calories. So now we know that our post workout, pre workout and second post workout, maybe it added up to 700 calories total. And again, I'm kind of making up the numbers, but this is pretty easy to do when you get used to calorie tracking. Again, don't want to get too much. But if you head to the master section and go To the summit nutrition, we did. I had a whole talk about how to exactly how to calculate your macros and we give you calculators for it. So you would take your total calorie needs for the day. So let's say 1700 calories was the total number of calories you needed for the day. And we know that you're feeling after and feeling before and after all of your sessions equals 800 calories. That would mean that you have 900 calories left throughout the day. So that would be your breakfast, your lunch, your dinner and your snacks, anything else? So that would ensure that you've got everything that you need to recover because that's the priority.

We want to make sure that you're recovering before and after your sessions. That's the most important time to eat before and after your sessions. So we want to make sure that we, that we're giving you enough calories during those windows. And then we take the calories that are left over and then you can spread them out throughout the day and then that will make sure that you don't gain weight if that's what you're concerned about. So I know that was kind of throwing a lot of numbers at you. A lot of grams, a lot of percentages, that kind of thing. But I do find, I do really think that it's important that you understand those numbers. There's really no, there's really no way that you can really accurately track if you're going to gain or lose weight. If you're not looking at your totally calorie expenditure and making sure that you're kind of in those totals, it's just, it's just not possible. So If you do love math, you feel free to do it for yourself. If not, like I said, check out the massive section that's $9 a month if you're not a member already. And just those calculators alone, the 30 day challenge, the calculator and then the summit will answer every question you've had about running nutrition. Stress is a common factor that affects everyone in today's fast paced world.

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This is a limited time offer for select orders. So don't wait, go now to mag breakthrough dot com backslash run to the top today. We've got a great question from Jeff. I started tracking my eating on my fitness pal. I noticed a couple of days in a row that I don't consume enough calories. My concern was that the day I did my long run according to the diary and then he gives us some figures. Gold 2120 intake, 2,902 exercise, 2,481 remaining 1,699. So the app is suggesting that he has a calorie deficit of 1,699 calories. He goes on to say, how do you consume enough calories when you're not even hungry? I've been over 1000 short each day as I try to increase my intake. Thanks for your question, Jeff, you're totally right to be concerned about undereating.

Being in a chronic calorie deficit can have negative effects for both health and performance. I would say that it's hard to calculate this accurately. So the calorie deficit may not be as great as the my fitness power suggests. The calculations of energy expenditure intake used by my fitness power are only a prediction rather than an exact number. It can be really hard to exactly calculate food intake, especially as the energy content of restaurant and bought foods can vary similarly different people and different amounts of energy for a long run. So it might not be 100% correct. However, that's a pretty big energy deficit. So it's likely that you aren't quite eating enough. It is important to remember that one day of negative energy balance I eat on a long run day won't have negative consequences on your health. Energy balance is really determined over days and weeks and day to day, fluctuations are normal. For example, one day you might under eat on a long run day, for example, but on a rest day, you might eat more than you need.

However, you do state that it occurred for several days in a row and you really don't want to get into that state of a chronic calorie deficit. I wonder if you have any of the other signs of undereating or not getting enough fuel when energy availability is low, some of the body's systems might not get enough energy to function properly. So, for example, in women, although I know this doesn't apply to you, measure cycles may be lost. That's a sign that your body isn't getting enough energy to support reproductive function. Common symptoms in both males and females that suggest a chronic negative energy balance include feeling tired, sleeping, poorly, feeling irritable and increased incidence of illness and injury. You might also find that your energy rate is low and routine tasks are more challenging than normal. You crave bad foods and you might also experience unexplained weight loss if you aren't experiencing any of these symptoms, perhaps your energy calculations aren't quite right or on some days you do indeed match or exceed your energy output with a calorie deficit.

That big. I'd expect you to be experiencing some of these symptoms if you are. It's likely that you do need to do something about your undereating. If you aren't trying to lose weight, correcting, this is really important for optimal health and performance. Even if you are trying to lose weight, such a big energy deficit is likely to be counterproductive rather than helpful runners can face several obstacles when trying to achieve energy balance. It can be difficult for us to get enough because we might underestimate our calorie needs. Many runners are also publicly restricting calories to try to lose weight. For example, Using my fitness part is a good way to get an awareness of how much you need to eat. Even with a goal of weight loss, Calorie deficit of around 500 per day should be enough for most people to achieve weight loss. A bigger deficit can lead to problems. Another factor is finding the time to fuel with jobs, families and training to fit in. How can we also fit in eating all these extra calories, especially when we're trying to focus on healthy foods, running can burn a very large amount of calories as I'm sure you can cuz you're my fitness power, but your hunger levels might not necessarily increase in line with the training you're doing that makes it easy to run into these sorts of problems.

This is particularly to around longer intense workouts which can actually suppress your appetite, especially initially. So how do you make sure you meet your needs planning is key. Just like training, there should be a nutrition plan for fueling, especially around your workouts. You should have some idea in mind of when you're going to eat what and why, especially when you're in a hard training block. Now that you've used my fitness power, you can use it for planning. So if you know how far you're gonna run tomorrow, you can enter this into the calculator to get a rough idea of how much you're going to need to eat. If you know, you're gonna have three meals and two snacks, for example, you can work out roughly how much you need to include in each one of these to meet your calorie needs. This can sound obsessive and time consuming and yep, it can become so, however, by doing this, just for a short period of time, you might become better in tune with exactly how much you need to eat and be able to do it more extinct. Instinctively going forward. You mentioned that not feeling hungry as your main issue and I totally know how you feel. It can be really hard to feel like eating after a long run or workout.

This is when the type of food you eat becomes really important. A common problem for runners, especially those who focus on healthy eating is that they mainly eating foods such as vegetables and whole grains, which can be very filling without providing as much in the way of calories. Some other foods might don't get me wrong. They're really healthy foods and you need to include them. But if you're struggling to meet your energy needs and requirements, experiencing some of the symptoms of low energy, you may need to replace some of them with more calorie dense foods, adding healthy fats to your diet is a great way to get in more calories per gram fat provides more calories than carbohydrates or proteins. So, it's a good way to up your intake without feeling overly full. Think avocados, nuts, oily fish. You can also increase the calorie content of foods by adding healthy oils, adding olive oil to salads or vegetables. And a small amount of butter is a great way to get more calories in on a long run day without feeling like you're eating much more. If you've been eating lots of veggies to try and get all the awesome nutrients they have in them, it might be worth temporarily reducing the veg portion by say a third and replacing it with a calorie, dense carbohydrates like brown rice potatoes or pasta that can help you to getting more of those carbohydrates you need on those long run days.

Drinking calories can be a great way to get them in without feeling full or when you aren't hungry. When I don't feel particularly hungry. The afternoon. After a hard long run, I try to make a smoothie. It's amazing how much you can boost your calorie intake if you drink them. This usually includes fruits and nut butter or coconut oil and some protein powder or worst up. You can really boost up your calorie intake by doing that. You can also do this just after ones when you aren't able to eat immediately after you can even make it in advance. You can add other nutrient dense calorie, dense liquids around your main meals to try and boost up your calorie content to. So for example, when I'm training really hard, I might drink a protein shake before bed and try and add an extra snack there too or even just a glass of milk, even full fat. I really hope that's giving you some ideas and how and why you should up your calorie intake. Even when you don't feel hungry, it might seem counterintuitive to do so when our society is so consumed with weight loss. But for someone who's really active, they can really benefit from eating enough to match their output.

It's a good test to see if you do truly need to eat more. If you start upping your intake and weigh yourself, if you're able to eat more without putting on weight. It's a good time that your body really does need those extra calories and is using them for good. I really love that question. Thanks so much for asking. Hi. My name is Josh Crocker and I was just wondering if there was a rule of thumb or formula to help me figure out how many calories or better yet, how much protein and how much carbohydrates specifically I need to take in after a run. So an easy run versus a hard run because I would imagine there different amounts. Thanks in advance. Hi, Josh. Wonderful question. And thank you for taking the time out of your day to reach out to us. Post run recovery. Nutrition is the most immediate and one of the most important factors when kick starting your body into internal recovery mode, post activity, your body is the most susceptible to taking in nutrients, to restore your glycogen levels. You have a small window of time that remains the most optimal, which lies around 30 minutes.

Surely, your body will still take in and use nutrients for fuel after this period. But if you can get something in your body after a workout within that 30 minute time frame, you're going to be able to restore glycogen levels at its sensitive peak running in its nature is a cata bolic activity. It means we're breaking down muscles. So it makes sense that once we complete our run, we want to return to an anabolic state, which means building up your muscles, which is how we make improvements in strength. The window for when this is optimal, like I've previously stated is around 30 minutes. And during this time, research indicates that a 4-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is going to be the most ideal. However, 321 and 2-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio are still quite effective. A good rule of thumb here is to take your weight in pounds and that will be the amount of carbohydrate that you would need. So let's say that you weigh 100 and £50. Then that would mean you would take in 150 g of carbohydrates. And if we're using the 4 to 1 ratio that would leave us with 50 g of protein, so 100 and 50 g of carbohydrate, 50 g of protein for 100 and £50 individual post run.

And I would aim to get half of this within that first small window of time, that 30 minutes and then try to get the rest of this nutrition later on during the day, maybe for breakfast or brunch. This might seem like quite a bit. But what's important is that we find the right ratio for us and we do work with and tweak the different aspects in which we're feeling or how we feel recovered after run. Some of us may find that 4-1 isn't the most optimal for them while research says that this is, it doesn't indicate that it's going to work the best for everybody. So trial and error is definitely of usage here, but I would start with 4-1. I'd recommend bringing a small protein bar or making a quick protein shake as this is an easy way to get this replenishment. If you're away from home, I know many of us do our runs, post work or we do it as we drive to a trail that might be quite a bit away. I would pack a 200 to 300 calorie snack such as a protein bar, fruit and granola or a peanut butter and banana. These are all great options to ingest post run. My personal favorite is to combine my complete body cocoa elite protein mix and I actually mix this with milk and it tastes just like a smoothie, chocolate smoothie.

Um I will then add a regular meal within the next hour or two to supplement my recovery shake. And what this typically looks like for me is oatmeal with a banana and peanut butter or I will make oat flour and I'll throw an egg in there as well. Mix a smashed banana in there, put it on the stove and I'll actually make some pancakes and then I'll put peanut butter on top of it. It's really tasty. And I think it's a great meal to have within that first hour to post run. So you might be asking when do we need to incorporate this 4 to 1 ratio? And I would say it's best only and take this mix or the heavy amount of mix. You know, for example, referring back to that 1 50 50 ratio that I was talking about earlier. That's only, it's important that we only do this after a hard workout or a long run where your body has been put through a physical demand that it's beyond a normal, easy continuous run. And we got to make sure that we get something into your system quick so we can begin that recovery process immediately.

Remember, we want to be in an anabolic state as quickly as possible and this can of course include both liquid and solid forms of recovery as well. We can actually ingest some of that carbohydrate with the sports string post run for runs of less than an hour water typically suffices. But if you're away from home, I recommend bringing a snack, you know, bringing something something smaller that 102 50 calorie range that has a good ratio of carbs to protein. It's always great to have post run and it's always going to kind of kick start that recovery. So I would say that no run is really too short, but I would make sure that we really don't go up and over the top unless we're really working that day on a hard workout or a long run specifically. And if we're really aiming for that hour to an hour and a half, it's kind of like an in between zone, we could really sometimes supplement with water and a light carbohydrate such as sports drink or a small snack, especially if this wasn't a maximal run for us. The larger takeaways from today's question is that the sooner the better when ingesting calories post run or long run.

And I would try to aim for that 4-1 carbohydrates approaching ratio and aim to get another meal within two hours of your run to ultimately give your body the best chance at recovering in the optimal sense. Okay. On to today's question from wrong. I noticed that in long run days, my appetite is not there. I know I need to refuel well, but I just don't feel hungry and not even craving any food. I do still eat normally just like any other day. But wonder if that is normal and what should I do about it? Sometimes the next day or two days after the long run day, my hunger comes suddenly. Should I try to eat more in the long run day or just listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry? So that's a really good question. You, you definitely need the fuel first off. You definitely need the fuel. A long run. Depletes your body significantly more than easy runs and honestly, significantly more than workouts too. If you think about it, let's say you have a even a three times two mile workout. That's a pretty long workout tempo threshold with a two mile, warm up, two mile, cool down. Sure. That's gonna deplete your body but not near as much as an 18 20 mile long run.

That's going to deplete your body significantly. We actually have a calorie calculator on runners connect and I use that just using a basic example of a, let's say 100 £30.05 foot six female. Okay. So running at 60 minutes at nine minute pace that's gonna burn for the day. This is for the entire day. You're gonna burn 2848 calories. Okay. That's 60 minutes at nine minute pace throughout the day. Now you take that for a long run, 2.5 hours at nine minute pace. Okay? You're gonna burn 3683 calories for the day. That's a difference of over 800 calories, which must be replaced. Now, as you mentioned, you may not have a huge appetite, bump. Sometimes it can be a little bit delayed. You know, your body suddenly realizes that it needs more fuel. You want to beat that, you don't want that to come. It's kind of like how they say with hydration that you don't really want to wait until you're thirsty to drink. You want to, you want to beat that. You want to be ahead of the curve. Same thing here. You want to be ahead of the curve on that hunger.

You don't want to wait till your body is just absolutely starving because at that point, it's, it's kind of too late. Your body is in a really cata bolic state. It's, it's just too late to really get the proper benefit. So you want to make sure you're getting those calories in first off. Now, a long run can make your stomach a little bit upset and that can make it tough to eat. That's definitely something that will happen. You'll finish a long run. Your stomach just doesn't feel very good. Got jumbled up a little bit. Just not really feeling like eating and you'll wait several hours before you even eat or maybe even the rest of the day. I've had times where I do a long run the rest of the day. My stomach just does not feel right. So some tips for that first off, drink plenty of water. You want to make sure that you're well hydrated throughout the day, throughout the long run before the long run, the night before day before. You want to make sure that you're very well hydrated. That's extremely important because that will help your digestion overall and just get your stomach feeling a little bit better. Make sure that your last two meals are a very good quality before the long run. Make sure that those last two meals are very, very good quality.

That means let's say you're doing your long run in the morning, that typically is going to mean a pre run meal something before your long run slight breakfast and then also some dinner the night before. Those are your last two meals. You want those to be a pretty good quality. If, if one of those two meals is not good, that's going to have a huge effect. Obviously, every meal is very important, but at the same time, those last two are just the ones that seem to really have an effect on how your stomach is going to feel on the long run. If you eat a very poor quality meal the night before the long run, then it could leave your stomach a little bit inflamed. A little bit upset and make it to where you're not gonna be able to eat properly after the run. So make sure those last two meals are very high quality and don't upset your stomach. You don't eat anything foreign, don't anything, you're not used to those last couple of meals. Another tip is pretty obvious one but still needs to be repeated is make sure you clear the pipes in the morning coffee can definitely help with this. But if you don't clear the pipes, then you're gonna have some trouble. You, it's gonna basically a long run. It's just gonna make everything worse and you're gonna feel, you're not gonna feel good.

Your stomach's not gonna feel good the rest of the day and it's gonna be tough to eat what you need. Now, if you're not hungry after the long run, that's even if your stomach feels great. You, you did everything right. You drink enough water and you're just not hungry after the long run. That's okay. Something to try is definitely liquid foods. So we're talking about, you know, carb protein shakes and Iraq's type drinks, chocolate milk, anything like that, that you can get in really quickly. Even if it's just something that has carbs, that's still better than nothing. Ideally it has, you know, that 4 to 1 carb protein ratio, like something like India Rocks has, but anything you can get in is going to help regardless of what it is. Even if it's a piece of fruit, that's something that a lot of people can handle really well, a banana. But if you struggle with solid foods, if you're really not very hungry, then utilize liquid foods that will really, really help. Now, one thing you could do is you could pretty much make this a cheat day. Okay. So it's, it's tough to always eat the proper foods. That's everyone knows that.

It's, it's hard to always be on your game in terms of eating really well, getting the proper macro nutrient ratios and getting enough vegetables and, and eating good lean meats, all of that. It's very difficult to do that every single day, day, in day out, every meal 100% of the time. So a lot of people do what, you know what they call cheat days or cheat meals. And this could be a great opportunity to do that because you just need the calories. You need them. When, as we mentioned earlier, you're talking about burning 800 plus calories that you weren't on other days, even other days where you're running for an hour, you're still not running, burning even close to that amount of calories. So it could be a good day to have some, some cheap meals just in, ensure those calories and just get them in, get them in, help your body recover because it's better to get the necessary calories in lower quality food than to not get them in at all. I don't want to say that too often because that makes it sound like you should just eat mcdonald's all the time. But at the same time, regardless of what's going on, if, if your body is burning 3700 calories in a day and you're eating 2700, your body is really struggling.

You're not gonna recover, you're not gonna actually absorb the long run. You're gonna, you're not gonna recover from it. You're not gonna improve from it and you're gonna be deploy going into the next week of training. So, regardless of what you do, make sure you hit that calorie number or at least very close to it, even if it takes some, some cheap meals, some, some lower quality food. So make sure your fuel and properly on your long run days. It's extremely important for your recovery. My name is Clay. See, I'm a 25 year old female distance runner and I've been running competitively since middle school. My question is related to sleep and nutrition. I have this annoying tendency to wake up ravenous around one or two a.m. most times I cannot fall back asleep without eating a snack. This happens despite feeling that I've eaten enough throughout the day and feeling full. When I go to bed, I typically eat three meals a day plus two or three snacks pre run afternoon in bed time. My bedtime snack has been cereal and milk for a long time. Although I've been experimenting with different snacks such as baked sweet potato and scoop of peanut butter.

Instead, I have been doing some research and learn that cereal can cause my blood sugar to spike and crash, which would be to blame for the midnight awakenings and hunger pains. I've been working with a nutritionist to include more healthy fats and increase the protein in my diet and make sure I'm eating enough to account for my activity level. We've been focused on moving towards more initiative, eating and listening to my body more. I also find myself restless and having more than usual difficulty sleeping well. And the night after I've done a long run or hard race, even when I run in the morning, any advice would be greatly appreciated. That is a great question, classy. I have been there waking up in the middle of the night, hungry and not being able to sleep. It doesn't happen all the time to me, but it has happened a lot before. And so let's kind of go over some of the simple explanations first and see if any of these apply to you. The first. Most likely possibility is that you simply aren't eating enough.

I know you said you are working with a nutritionist and that is great. I am not a nutritionist. So you should talk with your nutritionist about this issue and see if there's any tweaks that you can make. But it sounds like perhaps you are working a little bit harder for the amount of calories that you're taking in. And I know as a competitive distance runner there is a pressure to stay lean and trim and to do that, you have to restrict calories and there's a very dangerous fine line there and a lot of runners and more often women, but certainly men will kind of push the boundaries on that line just to get a little bit faster. And you know, being lean is really an important part of being fast, but it is not everything and, and it's a really dangerous game to play. So if you are not eating enough, all sorts of things could go wrong that could derail your training. So work with the nutritionist, talk to her really in detail and make sure you are getting enough calories for the amount of activity that you're doing.

You didn't mention any performance decreases or any kind of weight loss. Those are certainly two obvious signs that you're not eating enough and potentially going into an overtraining state. But if neither of those things are happening, there could be some other explanations for it. You talked about cereal before bed and yeah, maybe that isn't the best choice depending on what type of cereal. But if it is a processed white flour kind of cereal, that is a mainly processed carbs and that is processed through your body very quickly. So you do get that spike and then the crash and you wake up in the middle of the night hungry. So, yeah, the sweet potato and nut butter is a better choice. But if that's not working for you, something else might be going on, something to experiment with might be interesting would be either you can or cornstarch. If, if your issue really is a low glucose, blood glucose level at night, you might need something that can sustain you the whole way through.

So let me tell you a little bit of the history of that. There is a disease that some people have. It's a rare disease and it's called glycogen storage disease. And that's where the patients who are mainly Children. They have to have a steady supply of carbohydrate. Otherwise the blood glucose level will drop to dangerous levels in the middle of the night. So parents have to wake up their Children to feed them and they don't get any sleep. The parents don't get any sleep. It's really rough going. So what they figured out in the 1980s was that if you take about 70 g of raw cornstarch, mix it with applesauce or mixed with milk before bed, these Children were able to sleep throughout the entire night without their blood glucose falling to a super dangerous levels. But some patients that didn't work all the way it last a little longer lasting maybe about four hours but wouldn't last the entire night. So some scientists actually discovered by a special process of what they do to corn starch, they could make a modified version of cornstarch and they called it super starch and that kept the blood glucose levels steady throughout the whole night or up to eight hours.

And that has turned into you can, which is a product out there for endurance athletes that many used during races to keep blood glucose levels stable. So you might want to experiment with that before bed. Try some you can or if you want to go this simple and cheap route, try little cornstarch mixed in, don't cook it, that totally changes it. So it has to be raw cornstarch. So some of that could be a solution if glucose, blood glucose levels are really the problem keeping you awake. Another thing that could be a nutrition issue is magnesium. Magnesium is really important for runners. It's, well, it's important for everybody and most people are deficient in magnesium. Our body does not make it on its own and we need to get it from food or supplements. So if you have low levels of magnesium, it could cause your restlessness that you talked about. Difficulty sleeping. It can cause muscle cramps.

You didn't mention if you suffer from those while you are exercising, it'll keep you from staying asleep. And the other thing it does is it helps turn off adrenaline. So you talked about being really amped up after a hard workout or race. Even if it was in the morning, you sweat out magnesium. So athletes might need a little bit more than the general population. So there is a chance that you have a magnesium deficiency and that's something that you'd want to discuss with your doctor and you can get a blood test for that. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is about 300 to 500 mg for women and about 400 to 450 mg for men. And research shows that athletes could benefit from more than the recommended daily allowance. Some good sources of magnesium are seeds and greens, pumpkin seeds, kale spinach, any other kinds of nuts. So if you do wake up in the middle of the night, a good snack would be banana and cashews.

The cashews have the magnesium and a little bit of protein. The banana has the starch to keep the blood glucose level stable. So that would be a good snack. Another thing to do is you can get magnesium through your skin. So if you take a warm bath before you go to bed, the add two cups of Epsom salts and Epsom salt is magnesium, your skin will absorb some of the magnesium into your body that way. And you also get the benefit of having a nice relaxing bath before bed, helps your sore muscles and helps you sleep. Obviously, watch your caffeine intake. Take most racers use caffeine as a very legal and safe performance enhancing drug and it obviously can hurt your sleep. So be careful with that. Figure out if you're caffeine sensitive, maybe you can't have more than a cup or two in the morning. Look out for other sources like tea and chocolate, make sure that caffeine isn't wrecking your sleep. And then the last thing that is more obvious is simply get more sleep.

Everybody needs to get good sleep to repair muscle damage and to grow your body and be healthy, that athletes especially need 7-9 hours or maybe more. There's so many benefits to sleep recovery and just feeling better. Too many to even mention. But one of the benefits of good sleep is that it actually reduces your hunger. First of all, you're not awake to eat, that's, that's a good thing if you're trying to keep your eating under control, but it also has some benefits to help keep you satisfied. So do all the things that you can to establish a good regular sleeping pattern. That means not trying to make up lost sleep on the weekends, go to bed at the same time every night and make sleep an absolute priority. There is no better performance enhancing drug than good sleep. I know that your sleep is suffering because you're waking up in the middle of the night to eat and we got to get you through that rough spot.

So hopefully some of these suggestions can help. But if none of the things that I've mentioned worked and you've talked in your, your nutritionist again and you are eating enough calories. There are some sort of wacky things that could be happening with you that are more rare, but those are some things that you'd want to go to your doctor and get a blood test and just make sure there's nothing else going on. Thanks for listening to the run to the Top podcast. I'm your host, Finn Melanson. As always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on Instagram at Wasatch Finn and the rest of our team at runners connect also consider supporting our chauffeur for with a rating on the Spotify and Apple podcast players. And lastly, if you love the show and want bonus content behind the scenes, experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways, then subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast.

Until next time. Happy training.

Your Fueling Questions Answered
Your Fueling Questions Answered
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