What I found was that my stomach made so many noises I could hear its rumblings over the Rolling Stones in my headphones, and mortals, that is not a good thing. You should not hear your stomach twerking at mile six in broad daylight, in public.
Many endurance athletes love the gels, blocks, and performance beans for sports nutrition. These folks are steel, awesome, and admirable. However, when consumed, for some(!), they may have a tendency to sit in the stomach as sludge or molasses, which does not make her feel light on her foot strike and ready for more interval mad pacing. Experimentation is good. Become your own fuel guinea pig way before race day. Don't be afraid to puke. Go with it. Learn.
The A-La-Natural Fuel. If there is something I know about it is fast-acting sugars, as I have two small children living with Type 1 Diabetes, the insulin dependent kind. I have an entire drawer in my kitchen dedicated to fast-acting sugar options—natural and unnatural kinds--to treat their hypoglycemia. By years of experimentation, we know what works on the spectrum of super fast, medium fast, and slow-long burning.
In many ways, as a long-distance runner, we are doing the same thing with our sugar tank. We have to use our self-indicators—know your body—and fuel before it’s too late, past the point of recovery.
The affable Andrew Loscutoff--a personal trainer, former track star and triathlete, and elite-level mountain bike champion--gave me this advice. "The important thing to do is fuel early, often, and do more than you think you need. I recommend 20g of sugars per hour." (You need to listen to him, too.)
Because I am not a fan of artificial sweet things when on the run or ever, I have experimented with natural products for fuel. The sources that work best for me include:
· fresh medjool dates
· freeze dried bananas
· dried cherries
· fig newtons (ok, these are processed; got me)
All of these are concentrated natural sugars. They add zip and a longer burn, rather than an artificial sugar rush I have found that burn fast, furious, and leave a gross coating in my mouth.
Electrolyte It, Baby. I never realized how good or bad something tasted until I started running long distances and pulled electrolyte fluids out of my pack. Each run for the past five weeks I have tried a new option—flavors, brands, liquids, and dissolvable tablets. This is self-science.