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Pre-Run Fuel?
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Hello all! I'm very new to this world and have gotten SO MUCH information from this and other forums so far. This is my first week of a gluten free diet so I'm trying to figure out exactly how it is going to fit into my life. One of the bigger problems I'm having is figuring out how to fuel my runs. I currently run 25+ miles per week (with some cross-training thrown in) and will begin really training for my next half marathon in the next few weeks. Prior to cutting gluten out of my diet, I relied on animal crackers and PowerBar energy bars for pre-run fuel. Unfortunately, both of those are out now. I tried running 10 miles today on a gluten free waffle with peanut butter, but it was rough going and I felt very fatigued. I'm not sure if the fatigue was due to the general tiredness I've felt this week, the heaviness of what I ate, or the decreased carbs compared to what I'm used to.

I'm at a loss as to how to effectively and healthily fuel my runs. Any runners or other athletes out there have suggestions? It took me some time to find that PowerBars were the best option for me... I find that I can't run with a lot of food on my stomach, but obviously have to have enough energy to complete 13.1 miles. (If it matters, I'm a 27-year-old female grad student and am also lactose intolerant.) Thanks for any help at all!!!

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For energy bars, I'm a fan of Prana bars - fruit, nuts, coconut, puffed millet. They're easy to eat. and remind me of power bars a bit. My favorite flavor is coconut acai. I don't like the others as well. Lara bars are pretty good, too and made of fruit and nuts.

If you figure out what you like, you can make your own. Sounds more complicated than it is. Stick you favorite nuts and dried fruits (raisins and dates work the best -dried cranberries are good too) in a food processor, mold into bars in saran wrap and stick them in the fridge. You can add coconut, df chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, etc. You can even make them bite size and put a couple in a baggie if you need something while you're out.

Good luck.

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Hi Sam,

I found when I first went gluten-free I was ravenous all the time and very weak and fatigued. Part of that was due to vitamin deficiency as a result of malabsorption, but there is also a lot of discussion on this forum about gluten-withdrawal. I found my work-outs (especially playing hockey and soccer) took a LOT out of me, a lot more than prior to going gluten-free, at first. It took a while to find the right pre- and post- workout diets, but I think part of it was just allowing my body time to adjust to the change. On game days I have rice pasta and tomato sauce with veggies for lunch, and then a gluten-free english muffin with peanut butter and some fruit for dinner. (As I'm sure you know) every one's metabolism is different and it also took some tweaking to figure out how long before a game I should eat. If I ate too early, I'd get weak and dizzy half-way through, and if I ate too late, it would feel like there was a rock in my stomach.

Good luck to you! :) It's difficult, but try to be patient while your body adjusts. Once you start seeing results, you'll likely see that you exceed your previous bests as your body becomes healthier than before!

Hope that helps,

Jillian

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I am also a runner and have been doing half marathons. The nights before races I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. In the mornings before long runs/races I will eat bananas and a Larabar. I also carry Gu gels with me while I run, all flavors are gluten free. Gatorade is safe for celiacs, but some Powerades do have gluten in them (not sure which ones because I avoid them). I snack a lot on nuts, fresh fruits, gluten free granola, and Lundberg gluten-free rice cakes smeared with peanut butter and/or Nutella.

Good luck! You should start to feel stronger as your body adjusts to being gluten free.

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Make sure that your iron storage (ferritin) levels are good, too. Often, doctors only check hematocrit and hemoglobin but there is sub-clinical iron deficiency that can increase your risk of injury.

Sliced boiled potato and a hard boiled egg is surprisingly good pre-run. If that's too much, try just the egg white and potato. Midel makes some arrowroot cookies which might be similar enough to animal crackers to work for a while. Fruit snacks are also often safe, and a good option. Straight raisins also work for me, but they are really easy to drop mid-run. Clif shots are safe (thank heavens), and luna bar protein bars are going gluten free currently (check labeling before you buy).

I make my own "larabars" regularly, but generally I find that I'm better off leaving the protein intake for post exercise. It does take a lot of people a while to recover energy levels, so don't be surprised if you drag on times more than you would expect. The diet is new, stressful, and your body is adapting and healing. I only really started to have energy levels for performance after about 6-8 months... and then I twisted a knee. Sigh. I was pretty sick though, and had been struggling with injuries and anemia.

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Hi there,

Another runner here, just completed my first full marathon one week ago. During training I'll drink a glass of chocolate milk and eat half a Lara bar before heading out for a run. Depending on the length of the run, I'll bring gels to take every 30 minutes. Pretty much all gels I've seen do not have any gluten, but they really vary in amounts of electrolytes. If you're a heavy sweater go for one with more sodium especially with the warmer weather.

One waffle with peanut butter just ain't going to cut it for a 10 mile run. I always eat a good breakfast about an hour before I'm ready to head out, and then top up with the chocolate milk/larabar combo, and eat gels during the run. Energy levels stay up and fatigue is less of an issue. I know you're lactose intolerant, but there's probably a decent substitute for choc milk out there.

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Thank you so much for all the advice! It's nice to hear that it's not just me and that it will get better as I adjust to the diet, generally feel better, and figure out what works for me.

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Eggs are fantastic!

Sliced boiled potato and a hard boiled egg is surprisingly good pre-run. If that's too much, try just the egg white and potato.

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