I'll be running my first marathon this year (Chicago) and I have two questions:
1) Which foods are considered complex-carbohydrates?
2) Can you suggest some "light" but powerfull breakfast for the day of the race?
Complex carbohydrates are those that take a longer time for the body to
digest, and generally have more nutrients. My favorite is Grape Nuts
cereal. By putting some fruit and yogurt into a bowl of these, you'll
receive a variety of nutrients and feel satisfied for about 4 times as long
as a bowl of "sugar flake" cereal with a very limited variety of nutrients,
which leaves you hungry in a short period of time.
The most common pre run meal is a performance product that can keep your
blood sugar managed for 6-9 miles into the race. The two that have worked
best for the largest number of runners that have worked with are PowerBar
and Gu. The other common and effective breakfast is oatmeal, which doesn't
last as long as the others.
Be sure to practice taking the breakfast foods before your long runs, to
determine the amount and schedule of consumption. A few sips of water
should be taken with each "bite" of the food.
On runs longer than 12 miles or so, you'll still need to take some of the
blood sugar booster, after 6-9 miles. Most runners I've worked with find it
better to take a third or fourth of a Gu packet every 1-2 miles, with a sip
or two of water.
- Jeff Galloway
Olympian and RUNNER'S WORLD columnist Jeff Galloway has helped over 100,000 runners in his clinics and training programs. For more running information you may see his books Galloway's Book on Running (2nd ed.) and Marathon: You Can Do It. Jeff conducts one day running schools (Chicago Aug 16, NYC Sep 6), Florida Beach Retreats (Aug 1-3 & Sep 12-14), and offers more info on his website: www.RunInjuryFree.com