The Friday 5: Favorite Nutrition for the Long Haul
I am participating in the Trifecta Friday Five link-up hosted by Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run DC, and Mar at Mar on the Run. Food & drink is the theme this week & endurance nutrition is on my mind! I am heavily into my Half Ironman training, so it is a perfect time for me to share my favorite fuel for the long haul.
It took a lot of trial and error for me to find the right foods to put in my sensitive stomach while training for long distance events. Fortunately, I had my running nutrition pretty much dialed in before I started Ironman training last year. However, I did have to play around with the right fluids & nourishment for cycling. Here are my top 5 favorite items:
1. Bananas: Yup! The tried & true, good old fashioned whole food banana. I love having a banana, usually with a little bit of peanut butter pre-race, typically about 45 minutes to an hour before the event. They settle in my stomach easily and provide some calories to get me moving!
2. Skratch Labs Lemon + Lime Exercise Hydration Mix: I had tried a number of different sports drinks over the years for running and cycling and just could not find one that felt good in my gut. Then, I read about Skratch Labs, which is an all-natural sports drink. It replaces both fluid & electrolytes & also provides fuel for the muscles. The best part is that it is flavored with real Lemons & Limes, & there are no artificial colors or ingredients. This was a game changer for me with cycling & running!
3. Picky Bars: These bars were created by Endurance Athletes: Lauren Fleshman, Jesse Thomas, & Steph Bruce. They are all natural, gluten-free energy bars with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, which is considered ideal for endurance training and nutrition. I discovered these on my quest for a nutrition bar that I could easily digest while biking for 4 to 6 hours at a time. My favorite flavor is the "Need for Seed Sunflower Butter Sensation" Bar.
4. Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets: Some people laugh when I tell them this, but all the sweetness of gels & drinks & bars gets to my palate, so this is my method of balancing it out. I like to pack a snack bag of 5 to 10 pretzel nuggets in my Bento box on my bike for rides longer than 50+ miles. Also, I usually put 3 to 5 of the nuggets in my fuel belt for long runs over 14-15 miles. The salty flavor drowns out the sugar and is a nice treat because I Love all things Peanut Butter :-)
5. Honey Stinger Chews & Gels: I have tried a number of gels & chews over the years, some were ok, but my favorite is Honey Stingers. The gels & chews are organic and made from real Honey! They also include some potassium & sodium for electrolyte replacement and are gentle on the tummy! There are many different flavors to choose from, my faves are: the Fruit Smoothie Gels & the Orange Blossom Chews.
What is your favorite nutrition for the Long Haul? Have you tried any of the items I mentioned above? Endurance nutrition is specific to each individual and what works for one person might be a disaster for someone else, so it is very important to trial it all during training. I would love to hear what has worked for you!