I’ve been experimenting with food that has not been “designed” for athletes. For many years, I took only Clif Bars with me on walks longer than 90 minutes. Two years ago I discovered Clif Blok Shots and switched to those as I found the energy boost happened faster than with the Clif Bar and with less heaviness in my stomach. This makes sense considering the Bloks likely have a higher glycemic index than the bar.
Then, this past fall for some reason nothing that resembled a “designed” sports supplement was appealing to my taste buds. So, I have been experimenting with substitutes.
Knowing that I need to ingest electrolytes, I have been taking orange juice cut with some water and a touch of salt added. I like it.
Three weeks ago, I researched figs (since I love Barbara’s fig with blueberry bars) and discovered that dried figs are high in potassium. So, for my most recent two long training walks of 18k and 20k I have taken two fig bars. I like these too.
If anyone has suggestions, it’s always interesting, educational, and fun to know what works for others. Let’s spread the experimentation around!
At the Ottawa marathon last year, we met a man who had ran the event every year since it started and he said he always brought date squares for a long run. I have yet to try it…..
Yes, I have heard that Fig Newtons are great……I believe a WOW alumni use to use those. My husband, who was a big marathoner in the 80’s and 90’s had a friend make up his own sports drink 1 L. water; 1/3 cup sugar; 1/4 tsp. salt and flavouring to taste (oj;lemon j; etc) Also a great thing I used in my first BIG SUR was a Basic Trail Mix of 1 cup salted peanuts/1 cup raisins/1cup M&Ms (portioned out as 1 oz is about 140 calories!)
You can add salty stuff (pretzels/sesame sticks(WHICH I LOVE) and dried fruit; date nuggets; cranberries…..just have fun with your taste buds. This mixture of course is not as easy to just grab since it is not ‘one’ piece but it does the work.
I have also taken along cliff shot bloks and sport beans, but i’ve grown tired of Cliff Bars. For a change i often take along apricots and orange slices. I like the suggestion of diluted orange juice with a bit of salt, which I will definitely try tomorrow. Last year at the Mississauga half marathon i was walking along side a runner (!) who whipped out a little baggie of potato chips! This was at about 14-15km and boy did it look appealing. I know that potatoes are relatively high glycemic index, and chips probably have a healthy dose of salt….which we might be needing to replace midway into a race. I have yet to try this. Any thoughts on potato chips, Lee?
Potato chips? I have my doubts. While I salivate over salty treats after a challenging walk – I could jump into a barrel of pretzels after race – I can’t imagine the fat content in fried chips could do anything to promote performance before, during or after a walk. Fat is not readily available as fuel for our bodies in the way carbohydrates are and the fat to carb ratio of potato chips is high. Also, I like my fat with nutrients (think nuts, seeds, avocadoes) and potato chips are not high in nutrients.
I have used fig newtons off and on since I started. I have also used GROP, good old raisins and peanuts, dried fruit, as well as Cliff blocks. While the blocks are the easiest to use I prefer the fig newtons or the dried fruit. They seem to keep me going the best.
Due to allergies,I have never used Cliff bars or any other related products so I can’t comment on the energy, etc that they provide in comparison to my suggestions.
I eat three different items that work well for me.
The first is Sun-Rype’s Fruit Source bar (similar to a thicker version of Sun-Rype’s Fruit To Go). They are easy to chew, come in different flavours and because they are 100% fruit, they taste great.
I cut the bar up into small cubes, put them in a ‘baggie’ and pop a piece in my mouth when I need a pick me up. Each 37gm bar is 100% fruit, has 130 calories; 10 mg sodium; 280 mg potassium; 33 g Glucides; 2 g fibre; 29 g Sugars; etc. I buy them by the box at Costco.
My next suggestion is a bar I make that uses Corn Flakes cereal, dried fruits, corn syrup and brown sugar.
My treat and real booster on a long walk and is a snack that I leave for the 15 k mark onwards. It is a baked bar prepared with a layered mixture of margarine, crushed graham crackers, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, condensed milk, walnuts and rolled oats.
I don’t have the nutrition breakdown of either of those bars but can attest that they do the energy trick for me each and every time.
With Lee’s okay I can provide the recipes in this blog or elsewhere on the website.
Happy trails everyone!
Last year I used salted mixed nuts with dried raisins/cranberries/apricots mixed with M&M’s. It tastes great. I did approx. 24K every week starting June until Chicago.