Fuel experiment

For my second 50k, I’m going to get a little more experimenty during training in pursuit of the most effective fuel strategy. My strategy for Gnaw Bone wasn’t bad, but I want to find a strategy that’s even better – yields more energy and provides optimal recovery.

I’m looking for the answers to these questions:
– What are the best ways to fuel before and during a long run?
– What is the best food for recovery?

For my first fuel experiment, I kinda dove right in.

Fruit-only day!

I decided this past Friday to eat only fruit for the entire day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks. Here’s what that looked like to the best of my recollection. I started a food log for the day, but I have no idea what happened to it. I probably deleted it. I guess that means it’s available for anyone on the Internet to see? So, if you see a weird, fruit-laden food log floating around somewhere, please forward it to me.

Friday is typically a rest day, followed by my long run on Saturday. But, this what my fruit-only day would support this Friday (through Saturday):
– Full Moon Fever Race #2 (5k trail run)
– 13-mile long run with pace progression (first thing Saturday)
– Short, moderate hike (mid-morning Saturday)

– Mango, pineapple smoothie with coconut water
– Strawberry banana smoothie
– A banana

Large tray of fruit (including melons, honeydew, strawberries, and grapes)
– Several bananas
– Coconut water

– Mixed fruit smoothie (pineapple, mangos, peaches, some other fruits I can’t recall)

– Pre-race: Two medjool dates, bananas maybe? (standard pre-5k snack)
– Post-race: Another smoothie!

That’s pretty much it, as far as I can recall. I ate a lot of fruit. Oh, well, I had a cup of coffee and a lot of water. Full disclosure I guess.

Bear in mind, these results are based on a one-time, one-day experiment. More testing is required before I say “I’ma do this all the time,” but preliminarily, things are looking good.

First of all, I had tons of energy all day. Never felt bloated, and I did not have an afternoon crash.

Second, I PRd hard and heavy at my race.
– Previous 5k PR: 24:36 (2013)
– Last month’s FMF: 25:00
– Friday night’s FMF: 23:54!

So, I shaved a minute off last month’s time, and 32 seconds off my PR. I’ll take it! If I can take a minute off my time per month, it’s looking really good for a 20-minute 5k by the end of the year. Is this because of fruit? It certainly didn’t hurt! But I won’t pin all my hopes and dreams on a bunch of fruit just yet.

Saturday morning, I got up at 4:45 a.m. to hit the road for 13 miles. My longest run in a while, and my longest run on the road in even more of a while(?). I did pace progressions, which means I increased my pace by about 30 sec/mi every four miles, finishing at a pretty good tempo pace. It’s a challenging run, made more challenging because the last five or six miles were quite hilly.

It went perfectly! I was able to keep pace the whole time, and stayed on track to finish my third fastest half marathon distance (which includes seven half marathon races).

During my run, I ate three medjool dates. I may have had a banana before running, but I don’t remember. It was very early in the morning.

My first fruit-only day was quite a success, all things considered. I know that the next time I do it, things could go wildly different, and that would be okay. I wasn’t totally surprised by the positive results I achieved this time. I’ve used smoothies and lots of fruit as recovery for a while, and medjool dates have fueled many of my long runs. It was interesting to see how my body responded to eating only fruit before a long run, and especially before a race.

Stay tuned for more food experiments! Also, I’ll probably talk about how Ashley and I aren’t watching TV throughout the month of September.

Also, the Rugged Red is in 11 days. I may have a thing or two to say about that when it’s all over.


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