Search This Blog

Friday, October 22, 2010


Hey everyone! I know this post may be coming late since we're nearing the end of marathon season and all, but let me just quickly talk about nutrition during your marathon (or long training runs or any other endurance event. . .)

Lately it has become popular to ingest a "quick energy" product (Gu, Gu chomps, Sport Beans, Accel Gel, Hammer Gel, Clif Shot Blocks, Power Bar Blasts, Roctane, and the list goes on. . . ). These products are AWESOME! They take most of the thinking out of refueling on the go. But (and please hear me out) sometimes we don't think enough when it comes to these products.

First of all, energy = Calories. Calories = energy. Okay, duh. . . but follow my train of thought here. You need the energy to continue so that you don't 'hit the wall' or whatever. That's why these products were made. However, if your goal for running is to lose weight then you need to be careful about the energy you take in. You need enough to get you through your workout / race, but not so much that you are replacing EVERYTHING you are working for!

Secondly, scientists (food and exercise geeks) have spent time, money and calories ( calories = energy) figuring this all out for you, so follow their recommendations! Most quick energy products suggest use every 45 min (with water! Don't forget the Water. . . ). Of course every person is different, and you will need to test out what works for you, but if you are taking a gel twice or three times as often as recommended, you may be (are definitely) overdoing it.

And third, you need to know which training runs require some extra energy. I hate to say it, but sometimes we just need to suck it up and suffer through a run. The usual rule is that any workout under an hour can be adequately fueled by eating before and then after. Just take in some water (see my previous post about hydration) and maybe some electrolytes and you should be fine. If you are going to be working out over an hour (61 min doesn't count) you need to start your refueling process early (at the 45 min mark). Once you run out of energy it is too late!

Also keep in mind that not all marathon runners are equal. The calories that you burn (and therefore need to replace) depend on a lot of things including - but not limited to - age, sex, BMI, and pace. (I created a rough table below to show some different paces and some different weights and the calories that would be burned during a marathon - just for reference!) However, the guy up front winning the marathon does not have as much energy stored within his body as someone who has recently taken up running to lose some weight. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, think about what your goals are, and then think about what your body really NEEDS. Let's face it, it's a marathon. You WILL be tired whether you take 50 gels or none (50 gels is not recommended. . .). So check out my chart (it will make you smarter! Also I spent some time on it, so if you could just humor me and look, that would be great) and then get out there and run!

min per mile - Approximate calories burned at 108 lbs - at 150 lbs
10 (4:22 marathon) - 2143 - 2977
08 (3:29 marathon) - 2129 - 2957
06 (2:37 marathon) - 2045 - 2841

So as always, Happy Running!

Monday, October 18, 2010

a personal step

Hello everyone! I just wanted to update and let everyone know that I have begun work on my sport nutrition counseling certification. That means I will officially know what I'm talking about (okay well I might already know what I'm talking about, but I will officially be able to give you sound advice). Through this certification I will be focusing on nutrition before, during, and after activity, as well as maintaining a healthy weight (losing as well as gaining), and more importantly, how to guide someone to be as healthy as they can be through nutrition and exercise. Thanks everyone for sticking this out with me. I am very excited about this opportunity, and I can't wait to meet with people one-on-one to spread a "wealth of health" (can you believe that just came to me?).

Happy Running!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Carbohydrates and proteins and lipids - oh my!

Let's get back to the basics! As I talk with runners on a daily basis about running and nutrition, I've found that not everyone (0r anyone) understands the difference between / importance of carbs, proteins and fats. So what I've done is lay out a comparison and also highlight some of the important things to remember about each of these macronutrients. There is so much to say about each macronutrient (just ask my BioChem professor), but I tried to keep this brief and just hit the most important parts! If you have any other questions, please ask!! Also I'll try to follow up with more information in the weeks to come!


  • DAILY NEED: 50-50% of your daily Calories (including 25 g fiber every day)

  • BUILDING BLOCKS: strings of monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose, mannose). Monosaccharides are made up of carbon and hydrogen (hence carbo + hydrate!)

  • ENERGY YIELD: 4 Calories per gram

  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Carbs are your main source of energy as an endurance athlete. When you run out of carbs you begin to burn fat (but you have to have carbs in your system to get the that point. PLEASE don't try to skip out on your carbs to get to your fat faster. . . It doesn't work like that! And, you don't want to get to the point where you start burning protein - muscle!).


  • DAILY NEED: 0.8 g/kg body weight (1kg=2.2lbs) or about 10-15% of your daily Calories

  • BUILDING BLOCKS: amino acids. Amino acids are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen.

  • ENERGY YIELD: 4 Calories per Gram

  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Proteins make muscles. Amino acids also serve other functions in the body such as catalyzing important processes (enzymes). While proteins are super important, it is actually very easy to get your daily recommended amount by just eating your calories for the day! Also, by eating protein in your diet (rather than supplementing with a protein shake or something like that) you get the benefits of other nutrients that come with protein- think zinc and iron!


  • DAILY NEED: Up to 30% of your daily Calories or less than 90g per day (and less than 30% of that should be saturated fat)

  • BUILDING BLOCKS: fatty acids and glycerol

  • ENERGY YIELD: 9 Calories per Gram

  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Fats are not the enemy! I know fats sound scary, and look, they are more calories per gram than the other macronutrients. . . but fats also come with a slew of good vitamins. Certain vitamins (fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E, and K) can only be absorbed and used by your body in the presence of Fats. Also fatty acids are cushion for your joints and fuel at the end of a long race or work out!

(To get more information about macronutrients specific to your activity level, age, gender, and body type visit this macronutrient calculator)

Sooo. . . Try to take that all in. I know there is a lot of information, but it really is basic. Think moderation. There is NOT one magical nutrient that makes you leaner, faster, more competitive or even funnier (sorry). Just keep at it, and Happy Running!