Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sports nutrition on the cheap PSA

I've been meaning to share some things I've dug up. These are things Baboo ate during his 100 mile ultra run. Recall, if you will, that the only problem of note that he had was blisters.

Solid food: How about this for a pre-race snack or cycling meal? Per serving, it has 210-220 calories, 32 g. carbs, 9-10 g. fat, and 3 g. protein, along with 214 mg. sodium and 20 mg of calcium. It's also as little as $1 for a box of six to eight of them. What do you think it is?

Wait for it....

It's a Pop-tart. A serving is one pastry. Not quite as nutritious as a power bar, but it has less fiber (which you don't need for running) is way yummier. Not sure which kind to buy? Taste review here. Remember, if you're running at a moderate or fast pace, no solid food within 2 hours before you start your run.

"Oh, but Misty, what about nastry artificial ingredients and transfat?"... for one event, a little transfat isn't going to hurt. But if you insist; do crazy: Even the organic ones from Whole Paycheck are still cheaper than a power-bar. Remember, if you eat this on an ultra, you need to drink a lot of water. The key is to create a slurry of carbs and water in your stomach. Your body needs a lot if water to process carbohydrates.
Here's another one: Fig Newtons. Per serving (2 cookies) is 116 calories, (100 for the fat-free ones) 22 g. carbs, 130 mg. sodium, 65 mg potassium, 20 mg calcium, small amount of protein.

Okay. Moving on:

Energy drink
12 ounces of brewed coffee + 1 packet of the cheapest instant cocoa mix you can find. Or even the most "expensive" instant cocoa you can find. It's stil cheaper than a red bull.
results: 120 calories, 170 g. sodium, 1120-179 mg caffeine, small amount of fat, protein, and calcium.

Liquid nourishment: Your favorite flavor of Slimfast-in-a-can is actually easier for many to digest than Ensure because it has less fat, and is way cheaper. You can get them for about $1 a can on sale. There are generic versions, too. Sweet Baboo likes the cappacino ones. Yuck. My favorites so far are Vanilla.
Concentrated calories: Forget shot blocks. Instead try "Great Value Fruit Slices" candy from Wal-mart. I ate these at the Colorado relay. For three pieces you have 130 calories (33g carbs) and a small amount of sodium, no fat, no protein. There are eleven 3-piece servings per $1 bag.

Good post-race drink: Chocolate or other flavored soy milk. My favorite is silk spice, it tastes like egg nog. You've got protein, potassium, and lovely soy protein for those hot flashes. Okay, that's just the chicks among us. The, ahem, mature ones.

Now, everyone's stomach is not the same, so you might have to experiment. I am not a doctor or sports nutritionist nor do I play on on TV, so don't sue me if any of these make you puke. As always, you choose to follow my dumb advice at your peril.

Why all this matters. On a long run, like marathons and ultras, you can get mighty sick of one food or another. Variety is the key. But you don't really need to spend a fortune to feed yourself.

It's worth a shot, anyway. And if it works, you'll have more money leftover for lovely triathlon gear. Plus, now you have and excuse to eat cookies and candy while you run.



  1. Fig newtons, yes indeed. The favorite snack of bird-a-thoners, who get up at midnight to be at some swamp an hour before dawn to listen for owls and rails and I forget what-all. (My first date 20 years ago with my husband was on one of these!) Then you carry on till 6 or 7pm, downing coffee, lugging heavy scopes and binoculars through waist-high weeds (it's a GREAT workout!)and eating fig newtons for all the same reasons they work for endurance athletes!

  2. You had me at pop tarts, and then your threw in the fruit slices for god measure.
    I think you may have slept at a Holiday Inn last night from the sounds of things.

  3. I'm all over the pop tarts and fruit slices. Perfect. *clap*

  4. Good post! I can eat a PopTart prerace, but too try for me during the race.
    Jelly Beans or Gummi Bears are also a good choice-cheaper than ClifBlok Shots or the Sport Jelly Beans.

  5. my love affair with fig newtons and pop tarts is well documented. mmmmmmmm.....pop tarts......

  6. Stuff we used to eat on long trail runs before people started making big bucks with the replacement gus and such.
    They work if you train your body to use them!

  7. Those certainly fit into my single mom budget! Now I don't feel so bad when instead of buying more of those kid ZBars for a pre Lacrosse practice snack... I can just give him a pop tart.



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