I want only the best for our run club and that’s why I’ve recruited a team of professionals to be our support crew. This week I’m introducing our resident Registered Dietitian, Melissa O’Shea.
Melissa completed her master’s degree in nutrition education at Columbia University. Throughout her career, Melissa has gained experience in several nutrition specialty areas including weight management, cardiac health, diabetes, sports nutrition and pre and postnatal nutrition. Melissa is the National Director of Nutrition at exhale spa, as well as an adjunct professor at a local college. She also works extensively in corporate wellness, presenting lectures and health fairs at numerous corporations throughout the New York City area. Melissa is a runner herself and enjoys helping Race Pace Runners effectively fuel their workouts and feel their best while meeting their training goals.
Fun fact: In 2013 Melissa and I ran the New York City Marathon together!
Keep scrolling down to get this week’s assignment from Melissa.
When a client tells me they’re struggling on their runs, the first thing I want to know is what they’re eating beforehand. More often than not, I find they aren’t eating anything, or when it comes to long runs, they aren’t eating enough. So before you lace up your sneakers, keep these fueling tips in mind to maximize your time out on the road.
If you try getting into a car without any gas, you won’t go very far. The same holds true for running. If you set out on empty, chances are you are going to break down. The right fuel will prevent you from feeling fatigued and lethargic during your run so you get the best workout possible.
How much fuel you’ll need will depend on how long and also how intense your training run will be. Pre-workout, the focus is on carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 15g of carbohydrates for a run less than 60 minutes and at least 30g if going longer than an hour.
As with any aspect of training, what works for one person may not work for another. This is where a little experimenting comes into play to figure out which type of food works best for you. You want to stick to easily digestible food that’s low in fat and fiber and provides you with a good source of carbohydrates. Here are some ideas that I have found work for most:
Runs under an hour
Runs longer than 1 hour
1 medium cooked sweet potato
1 cup cooked oatmeal or ½ cup + ½ medium banana
2 slices whole grain bread with 2 teaspoons all natural nut butter
Ideally, it’s best to eat something 30-90 minutes before you head out the door. This means if you run after work, you’ll need a snack at some point after lunch. The goal is to avoid feeling starved or stuffed when you start your run. For longer runs or if eating a bigger meal, I suggest giving yourself at least 1 hour, whereas juice can work minutes before. This is another place where a little trial and error will help you pinpoint your sweet spot.
Take a picture of your pre-run fuel (between Monday, September 7th and Sunday, September 13th and post it to twitter or instagram. Tag me @MOSheaRD and include the hashtag #racepacerunner.