Food Training

Training is really starting to ramp up heading into the Keys 100. I’m very surprised how quickly I recovered after my 50 mile race two weeks ago. I took 3 days completely off afterwards and felt great going into my last phase of training.

I have a lot of long runs this month and aside from covering the distances there are a few things I want to focus on. Since the Keys will be flat and all on the road, I want to do most of my long runs on a similar profile.

Atlanta, has the Silver Comet Trail. Not sure why it’s called a trail because the whole thing is paved. But the cool thing about it is that it stretches for about 62 miles. Even though a lot of it is shaded, unlike what I’ll experience in Key West, it is flat. Most of my remaining long runs will be there to get my legs use to running on pancake flat roads.

This past weekend I did 4 hours there. I did about 28 miles. This run was the first time I ate real food on a training run. Which is the other thing I want to really focus on this month, eating during my training runs. I brought a few PB&Js, trail mix and bananas, in addition to the gels and salt pills that I always have.

I did a bunch of out and backs and used my car as my aid station. I could tell the food was helping keep my energy up and my stomach full, but I will need to change up what I eat. By my third stop, it was hard to get the sandwiches down. Probably won’t a good thing when I’m already forcing things down just a few hours into a race that will take me close to 24 hours to do.

I think I’ll experiment with bean burritos and maybe some chicken broth this upcoming weekend. I have back to back long runs, 32 and 26 miles. Hopefully I’ll find something that really works for me and can be a go-to during my race.

Anyone else eat solid foods during a training run? What works best for you?

28 thoughts on “Food Training

  1. rxnickrun

    Joey, If I am going to eat real foods on a run I keep it simple to PB&J and Bananas since they are very accessible at most ultras. I know others go for gummy bears, potatoes, pizza and much more but to each their own.

  2. Jason

    That’s pretty neat! I lived in Atlanta for three years and I’d never heard of the Silver Comet Trail until just now! I’m training for my first 50 and I’ve been eating Picky Bars and Honey Stinger Wafers – I haven’t been able to stomach much else, but I’m going to keep trying!

    1. Joey Post author

      Not sure exactly, but I think the Silver Comet is about 10 years old. Those Stinger Wafers are sweet as hell. Can barely eat those when I’m not exercising! Haha. When’s you’re race? How’s training going for you?

  3. Girl Runs Wild

    I’m currently going through exactly the same phase, although I’m training for “only” a 55 mile race – it’s all in the mountains though. I use gels for marathons, but am also experimenting for real foods for the trail. So far, I’ve found that if I carry a bag of salted nuts, some winegums/jelly beans and some small crackers with me, it helps me snack little and often. I’m learning to just go with my cravings, and with these three things, I’ve got the main carbs/protein/salt as well as sweet and savoury covered. I still top up with a gel here and there, and I’m told that there will be chocolate at the aid stations, but this works well for me as a “foundation”. There will be three very long ascends during my ultra, and my current plan is to walk them during the race and try to eat something bigger as I do. I’m also going trying burritos, but filled with humous, guacamole and falafel. I’ll let you know how that goes. I know that spinach and feta wraps work for me too, but I’m trying to find something with more calories (said no girl, ever!). 😉 Best of luck, it’ll be great to hear what you come up with!

    1. Joey Post author

      When you said salted nuts I thought about wasabi almonds. Mmmm! Might give those a shot but it might suck with my mouth on fire. I’m still learning to eat by craving as opposed to time. Where do you carry these things? Do you have a pack? Maybe I should get one just so I have access at all times if and when I need something. And definitely let me know how your burritos work for you

      1. Girl Runs Wild

        I am definitely one to eat by craving and how I feel. Between the crackers, nuts and sweets I usually feel like eating something, or at least feel that I can stomach it. 😉 The nuts are great, I think the protein and especially the fat really help on the long, slow runs. On training runs, I carry everything with me: either in a hip pack, if I stay somewhere near civilisations, or in a little hydration backpack if I venture further afield and into the mountains. The latter is for carrying basic safety gear, like waterproofs, maps, compass, whistle, etc. in case I run into trouble. With the three staple foods (nuts, crackers, winegums), I put them into little resealable freezer bags and carry them on my waist, either i the hip pack or on a marathon belt (when I use the backpack). That way I can reach them easily whenever I feel like it. Now let the burrito experimentation begin!

  4. Trails and Ultras

    Keep it simple if possible, with food that’s easy to carry. I like mixed dried fruit and nuts, banana loaf. Do you get the soreen fruit loaves in the US? They come packaged as whole or lunchbox sized. I like the banana loaf best, then the apple. The malt loaf they do is lush, and I know a lot of endurance runners swear by it but I find it makes my stomach feel ‘foamy’ if I eat it while running. If that makes sense 🙂

    1. Joey Post author

      Never heard of the soreen loaves. I’ll look into it. I was craving banana bread the other day, so maybe it would be perfect.

  5. nolongernakedrunning

    I use Tailwind so not solid food but it stopped the energy ups and downs. At about mile 20 I always start to crave solid food even though I don’t need the calories so sometimes munch a pb&j. My stomach hasn’t been upset and no cramping issues since I started the Tailwind. It was nice to ditch the gels and s-caps as it meant less stuff to carry. I’ll be using it for the 12 hour I have coming up and a 50 mile out in Yellowstone. Prob not what you’re looking for, but in case you want to give something else a try, it’s pretty awesome stuff and has been good for 36 miles (I haven’t tested it any further than that)

  6. bpangie

    Just did my first 50 last Sunday, and my legs are finally back. Hooray… I stuck with a homemade mixture of sweet potato, honey, coconut oil, and dried rabbit meat (I raise rabbits, another protein source would work too…). It felt pretty good, but by mile 50 I was getting hungry and I know I’ll have to find a way to pack in more calories for my 100 in July.. Love to hear what you decide to go with. Don’t think I could personally stomach PB+J on the run… Too dry.

    1. Joey Post author

      How did the 50 go man? Congrats on it! How did you prepare the sweet potatoes? Seems like I’ve been reading a lot of people going with potatoes.

      1. bpangie

        As well as it could. Totally expected to blow up, and I didn’t. I just baked the sweet potato and skinned it. Nothing fancy. Definitely have to boost the calories in it though – maybe more protein…

  7. progressbyaccident

    I’ve tried a few things on runs since trying a goo gave me stomach problems. That and the fact that it was horrible!? I’ve found crispy bacon to be absolutely amazing, especially followed closely by some chocolate wafers!?! I seem to hit lucky with simple and not massively carb dense. Too much carbs and I regret it later with heart burn or the ridiculous need for the loo 😦 The other thing I found was high sugar foods usually thanks me later with a bonk. Have fun working out your food, but if takes a while to give in to the run slow so you can digest ;). And good luck in your 100! I’m still building up to that length but have a UK classic (bob graham round) in sight this summer

    1. Joey Post author

      Bacon sounds awesome…but I’ve been vegetarian for a few months now. I do want to find more substantial food instead of sugary stuff to avoid a hard sugar crash, so thanks for the tip.

      1. progressbyaccident

        Try making a savoury Pinole type biscuit. Just substitute honey for a vegetable stock cube. I’ve heard pulses can be good but never tried em. Good luck experimenting 😉

  8. Clay Vick

    Almond Joys always work for me but they get a bit messy to transport after it warms up. If you are crewed or have moderately short loops you can keep them in a cooler. My base fuel is liquid Accelerade. I carry pre measured amounts of powder in small zip top bags. I look like a drug dealer at the aid stations with my baggies of powder to mix with water. I carry some gels mostly just for backup. My Tuesday and Thursday evening routine is to pick up a Subway Footlong that I eat during a 7.5 m run/walk. That is mostly just for convenience but it gets my stomach accustomed to handling food on the run… don’t find too many Subways along the trail 🙂

    1. Joey Post author

      I will have a crew for my race, so I will have a cooler to use. Snickers and Twix are my favorite that I can bring along. Thanks for the idea! I’m a huge fan of Pacific Labs. I use Endurox after long runs and hard workouts. I plan on using Accelerade this weekend to test out.

      As long as you aren’t selling your “powders” you don’t have much to worry about…

  9. becelisa

    food is such a personal thing it’s hard to make suggestions. pb&j or french fries work great for me but when i paced a friend in a 100 miler who had trained with both of those all he could stomach race day was ramen noodles and i have to say they were awesome! another friend makes salt dipper oreos (best if you can find the white chocolate covered ones. YUM!) and yet another carries a baggie of roasted potatoes. give yourself as many options as you think might work and have them all readily available race day along with a few other random things … just in case!

    1. Joey Post author

      The first time I had Oreos at a race was Crooms and loved them! I hope o have a full buffet at all times during my race.

      What kind of French fries? Mcdonalds?

      1. becelisa

        seriously try putting oreos in salt! let it stick to the edges of the cream filling. it sounds disgusting but if you like the sweet/salty combination at all, these will quickly become a favorite!

        i refuse to eat anything from mcdonalds EXCEPT their french fries 🙂 no others even come close to comparing.

  10. Stefan

    Just how many sandwiches did you eat? 🙂

    I ate peanut butter sandwiches (whole wheat, peanut butter, honey, banana, …no jelly), but I usually ate just a quarter/half of a sandwich every ten miles. Eating any more was counter productive to running. I normally ate only enough to be used as a catalyst to burning fat for energy.

    I didn’t use salt tablets because they caused me to over drink and feel bloated. Over drinking was normally more detrimental to me than under drinking.

    As for liquids, my preference was a cool, watered-down, sports drink. This concoction replaced just enough minerals/electrolytes for completing the race without affecting performance.

    All this allowed me to run lean and mean, …and finish faster.

    1. Joey Post author

      I had half a sandwich every hour, about 7 miles. I think it was more the dryness that made it so hard to get down. I got connected with a lady that has ran it before (went under the female course record a few years ago) and she recommended that I get use to running with a full stomach.

      I do plan on bringing a sports drink this weekend. I’m a big fan of honey so I’ll try that on a banana or something.

      Still plenty of time for me to experiment.


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