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kjg's picture

During my (running) marathon training I have become quite interested in nutrition. I am talking about general nutrition more than what to eat during extended periods of exercise – that is getting enough calories into me to sustain the long runs and fuel the adequate muscle recoveries (before doing it all over again!) without eating high fat or inadvertently putting on a whole bunch of weight.

First of all I don’t claim to have any qualifications as a Nutritionist and based on my conversations with one, with all the misconceptions and pitfalls around eating (and disordered eating, especially in athletes) one of the most common issues is unqualified people giving advice to others on eating (the coach telling his team they only need a handful of protein every day.)

Having said that I am not going to give out any advice just tell you about foods I love and why (some of them are relatively new found loves ;-)


Kefir – this low fat dairy smoothie is great as a source of calcium,, protein and lactose (which is a  simple sugar - great for replenishing your muscles glycogen supplies post extended exercise) comes in different flavors and is sweetened with natural cane juice. I love the plain or vanilla with fruit and granola or cereal, or whipping it up with some fresh or frozen fruit.


Kashi Go Lean Crunch – Speaking of cereal this is the best. Clusters of whole grains. Crunchy and good for you!


Kashi Go Lean Roll Bars – My favorite flavor is Chocolate turtle. These as cylinders of chocolatey yumminess wrapped in chocolate and whole grains. They don’t even taste good for you! Tip – if you go to there website you can get a great deal on there sampler boxes.


Bear Naked Granola – This has to be the best granola around and has nothing added! My favorite is the Fruit and Nut. I love the 2oz  packets for a snack on the go. I just eat it right out of the packet!


Lärabars – these fruit and nut bars are awesome for being squished up fruits and nuts! There are so many flavors it is impossible to choose a favorite but the sampler box from there website lets you go ahead and try!


Nancy’s non fat yogurts – these non-fat yogurts have a separate compartment on the top with fruit and honey. Once you stir in the fruit these taste so good!


Fage yogurts – these greek yogurts are available in 0% and 2% and with honey in a separate compartment. Even the non-fat taste so creamy!


Edys Slow Churn ice cream – Ice cream continues to be one of my major weaknesses but this is lower fat and lower calorie. They brought out limited addition American Idol flavors – my favorite is the Choc ‘n’ Roll Caramel!

Have any to add – let me know what your favorite healthy foods are!



eebee's picture

Favorite long-term training foods

Thanks for the list KJG. I am now curious about the kefir. That sounds good.


Larabars are an excellent, unadulterated 'energy' bar. I found some in the Borders' cafe on Holden Rd. in Greensboro once, strangely enough. A very good alternative when you can't or won't eat rice or wheat.


2 of my favorite snacks these days instead of bread or wheaty products, are:


Baby carrots dipped in natural peanut butter (I get funny looks at work but they can just get over it)


Green, red or yellow bell peppers sliced into 1 inch sections then halved to make 'scoop' shapes, dipped into low fat cottage cheese. Very refreshing and full of protein + vit C!


Sliced up banana, dipped with a fork, fondue-style into natural peanut butter and honey.


Raw pumpkin seeds.


I'm not trying to be all home-madey here, it's just that I've found that there are very few natural, pre-fabricated foods in supermarkets, so I have the best success with fresh foods.


The EAS and Body-For-Life protein shakes seem to be the best ready-to-drink shakes regarding protein-carb-fat ratio. Good because they are in individual sealed portions rather than a huge gallon jug like low-fat chocolate soy milk, which also provides low fat protein. Unfortunately my moderation button seems to be broken so I have to steer away from stuff that tastes too good, even if it's low fat. 

Nutrition Tips

As some of you know, I'm currently training for the 24-hour inline in Montreal in July.  The more I train, the more I realize how important correct nutrition is for optimum performance, as well as optimum recovery.


And as others of you know, I'm vegan.  The prospect of regular training followed by a very long endurance race is conceptually daunting, but I'm convinced that my diet is neither hindering my training, nor will hinder my performance in July; quite the contrary, I've noticed an improvement in my post-training recovery times, and a rise to my general daily energy level since converting from just vegetarianism this past Autumn.


This is not a pitch for veganism.  I could not do that justice.  You need only read up on the performances of trailblazers like Erica O'Connor, last year's winner of A2A, or Brendan Brazier, an accomplished, professional triathlete, or Carl Lewis.


With that said, I now offer you two sources of information -- one I agree with, another I completely disagree with.  The first is a set of articles over at Ultra Cycling: http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/nutrition.html   I find these to be an excellent read, and well worth considering, whatever your diet.


The second is the set of articles that have recently appeared on Inline Planet.  http://www.inlineplanet.com/2007-03/tips/race_food.html   Notice the difference in quality between the first set of articles at Ultra Cycling, compared with the articles on Inline Planet from Westy Bell.  While I appreciate the difficulty in writing for a mass audience, I'm a best-of-breed guy, and the recently articles on Inline Planet are definitely not.  But as was said in 'Reading Rainbow', don't take my word for it... :)

skart's picture


Hey, Brian! I am just wondering why do completely disagree with the IP article? Yes, it is shorter than the utracycling ones and, therefore, does not have much reasoning behind its suggestions. However, both sources try to convey almost the same set of messages:

- You need to eat to fuel your muscles;
- Carbohydrates are not your enemy;
- You need to support muscle recovery by giving your body protein which you need only so much. You don't have to be afraid of fat.

Am I missing something that is terribly wrong with the IP article?

eebee's picture

Great Ultra-Distance Training Nutrition Articles!

I'm finding those ultracycling.com articles very helpful. Such info is probably out there in many other places but I'm too lazy to find them. Recovery for Long-Distance Cyclists - Part 1 has answered several questions I had either given up on, or was too much of a schwachkopf to pursue.


I'm hopeful that this point may provide valuable clues to my post-strenuous long-distance-skate migraine problem (no, it's not dehydration):


"...The branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) isoleucine, leucine, and valine can take the place of glucose in the production of energy. However, using protein for energy is not desirable because amino acids that would have been available for muscle repair are diverted for energy. Further, when the level of BCAAs drops, then tryptophan can enter the brain, causing central nervous system fatigue...". For more info on the role of Tryptophan in migraines, I recommend reading Johns Hopkins Neurologist, Dr. David Buchholz's 'Heal Your Headache'. His method works.


Especially helpful and conveniently on one page are the recommended amounts of protein and carbs to be replenished within the hours after your ultra-distance workout. Although if I ever have to go on a no wheat diet again it'll be a challenge to eat 4,200 calories worth of fruit and veg! The protein intake was less than I had thought, but now my post-long-skate cravings make perfect sense. Great articles!

profjb2000's picture


     Thanks for the ideas. I am always hoping to add some variety to my diet.

     I have been going through a nutrition "kick" lately too, which is very unlike me. Keeping a three week food log made me realize that I had to make some changes.

     I picked up Chris Carmichael's book Food for Fitness at the library a couple weeks ago. It does a reasonably good job explaining the better foods, meal planning, and adapting intake to your training cycles (my favorite part so far). I am having some success with improved energy levels for training while improving my nutrition. Hopefully, more energy for training means I can do more intense workouts and deliver a better performance on race days.

eebee's picture

Carbs 30-60 mins after <1 hr workout

I just reread something I'd been told since first training for A2A back in 1999...that it's essential to your body's repair and recovery in time for your next workout, to consume ample carbs within 30 - 60 mins of finishing a workout greater than one hour.  Sometimes I still have exercise-induced appetite suppressant, if I skated hard for just one hour, and don't get around to bananas until 1.25 hrs afterward. It's important for me to just take something with me, and eat it (or drink it) afterward, driving home again perhaps, even if I'm not hungry. For that reason it's worth throwing some pre-packaged carbs in my car.

kjg's picture

immediately post exercise snack

After talking to a nutritionist I have started mixing up a yogurt based smoothie - non fat yogurt of Kefir with frozen or fresh fruit, and optionally a little honey and/or protein powder. I bought some thermos bottles and leave it in the car so it is ready for me as soon as I am done. Her explanation was that the lactose (in the yogurt) and fruit both  the simple sugars needed for muscle glycogen restoration (required within 30 mins) and the yogurt is also a good source of protein needed by the muscles 2 hours post exercise but requiring 2 hours to be broken down and get to the muscles there also required a.s.a.p into the stomach ;-)

I think the smoothie form gets around the hunger issue because it is more like a drink. I haven;t had any issues with keeping it cool in the thermos but she did suggest you could pre-freeze it and let it defrost while you workout - the one time I tried this it was still frozen when I came to try to consume it!

eebee's picture

Larabars now available at Kroger

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to find Lärabars for sale in my local Kroger (Georgia). They weren't super cheap but the same price as the Zone bars.

Not sure what's up with the redundant Umlaut over the 'a' (ä) because Lara herself apparently doesn't use it in her name, unless her name is pronounced Lare-ah. Maybe it's like Sarah. It's sörtä like thät pöpulär gym, BödyPlex, or Mötley Crüe, etc.

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