Intensity workouts are tricky, you want to run fast, hard and feel strong but at the same time we’re more sensitive to everything, and mostly to eating. Our body is so focused on the running hard part of it that our stomach doesn’t function at 100% some times.
So the best thing to do is to focus on pure fueling and making the task of absorbing the calories as easy as possible to our gut. Luckily in these times this is very easy and there are many products out there and things you can do yourself to optimize fueling on hard runs.
First thing is to eat a good breakfast at least 60 minutes before running, this will help you have a basis of energy in your body. Then during the run keep it simple, the goal should be to ingest between 60 and 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour during the intensity training, this tends to be harder than what we think.
Good ways to do so are:
- Gels, just gels. Extremely easy to digest and well, they’re actually designed for this so go ahead and try it out. One gel every 30 minutes should be enough for most of us, some people go down to one gel every 20 minutes. Just find where you feel comfortable and train yourself for that.
- Carbohydrate drinks, this is an awesome way to get energy and hydrate yourself at the same time, the only thing is that they’re more heavy than a gel, of course, but actually you can pack more calories and carbs on a ½ liter of a drink than on a couple of gels. This also tends to be very very easy to digest since it is just drinking. Here I will recommend you to test different products and find the right for you, I personally prioritize the least sweet possible. This is not a commercial but my favorite drink so far is Roctabe by GU energy labs, Summit tea flavor. But everybody is different, just find your right fit.
- Banana, simple and easy and natural. I love to eat real stuff while I run so I normally do bananas or apples, and they work well for me. They won’t be as efficient as a gel but they’re better for your body than a gel, that’s for sure.
- Fruit purees, this is by far one of my favorite, I do it on training and races, it has less calories and carbs than gels or drinks but it’s more natural and also tastes good. It’s like an in between of gels and fruits, they’re also light to pack. I just get the cheapest one for kids and listo.
Also, one last thing, this may be too obvious but just try to eat on the recovery part of your hard session, not during the hill repeat or the intense part of the fartlek, do it during the recovery downhill or the recovery period. Be smart about it!
What’s your favorite thing to eat during a hard training?