Paleo Fuel for Runners

Paleo Fuel for Runners

As most of you know I’ve been training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon which happens to be next weekend. Woo hoo!
Most of you also know that I eat as close to paleo as possible. No grains, legumes, diary, soy, sugar or processed foods. in the past when I trained for half marathons I still ate very clean but I also ate some processed foods, some grains and some dairy. So my fueling procedure was a little bit different back then than it is now.

I’ve touched on paleo for athletes before but wanted to go into a lithe more depth about some great paleo foods specifically for running. Which have been helping me to get through my long runs as well as recover after 🙂

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Pre-running fuel –

Before a run, especially a long one, I always like to make sure I have a little something in my tummy. This can be hard because I usually start my long run at 6:00 am. However, I’ve learned that if I don’t have something to give me some energy I’ll crash hard half way through then hate life after. I try to stick with proteins and fats to fuel my runs and workouts.

So here’s my top pre-run foods,

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  • Hard boiled egg and turkey or canadian bacon (typically half the above picture minus the plum)
  • Handful of macadamia nuts and organic raisins
  • Egg frittata cup
  • Scotch egg
  • Chia seed energy bites
  • Pumpkin energy bites
  • Banana and almond butter
  • Bulletproof coffee and a hard boiled egg or banana

During –

Most runs or workouts I stick to water during for endurance.  However, I’ve done a few longer runs where I needed a little something midway through to push me over that hump and keep me going.  I try to rely on more natural sources of energy but occasionally use something non Paleo friendly.

Here’s a few Paleo friendly natural energizers and a few not so Paleo friendly ones that I use as well.

  • Dried fruit unsweetened – raisins, mangoes, unsweetened cranberries or dates.
  • Applesauce squeeze pouch
  • DIY endurance gels – I haven’t made these but have been wanting to try!
  • Not 100% Paleo –
  • NUUNS
  • Vega Energy Gel – although this made me feel a bit sick due to the sweetness it definitely gave me energy.

Post –

Post running is a bit easier to comply with for me at least. I typically try to eat a good carbohydrate and protein ratio meal of 4:1. Meaning mostly carbs with some protein. Here’s some of my favorites;

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  • Plantain protein pancakesBaked Sweet potatoes and apples with some chicken breast
  • Sautéed plantains in coconut oil and cinnamon
  • A smoothie like this one, this one, or this one 🙂
  • Spaghetti squash and turkey meat
  • Kabocha and chicken
  • Sweet potatoes and hard boiled eggs
  • When desperate, a pouch with sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, pumpkin etc.

I also rehydrate with coconut water (sometimes added to my smoothie) or sometimes a vega recovery powder that I add to a Smart Water.  The added electrolytes in  Smart water really do help.

That’s what I use to help me prepare, sustain and recover after my long runs and tough workouts.  What do you use?

Even though this isn’t a play by play of what I ate in a day, it’s definitely some of what I’ve been eating lately.  So I’m linking up with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday 🙂

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QUESTIONS – 

  • What are your favorite natural ways to help you fuel your body?  
  • What’s your go to pre-workout meal?  Post?
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Comments

  1. Great list of meals. Those plantain pancakes just look so fluffy & filling!!

  2. Great ideas – definitely some that I use/eat too! I have been loving baby food pouches for my long runs – totally real food friendly 🙂

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Baby food pouches are the best! The sweet potato, apple, carrot and cinnamon is my favorite 🙂

  3. As I have started to adapt to more paleo eating I have struggled with what to eat before I run. A banana and almond butter doesn’t seem to be enough for runs longer than 2 hours. I haven’t tried eggs yet but I might try them a few hours before I run. I’m just worried about the marathon because we are staying in a hotel and I don’t know if I will have a refrigerator or microwave!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Running and Paleo eating is definitely a hard thing to combine at first. It took me awhile to figure out how to best fuel my body when training and to be honest I’m still experimenting here and there since my body isn’t 100% healed yet. For this race I called the hotel and asked if there was a fridge in room. A lot of times if they don’t they’ll bring one up for you. Also, if there is no microwave they might have one in the main room where they serve coffee etc. On race day this hotel started coffee at 4:30 for racers which was awesome!

  4. I’m loving all these ideas! Protein pancakes are always a good choice. I love to rehydrate with coconut water as well. I’ve even been drinking it all throughout my pregnancy because I need the extra electrolytes. It’s so refreshing!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Isn’t coconut water the best? I wish they had it when I was in high school playing sports so I would have drank that instead of all the sugary sports drinks I drank 🙁

  5. I keep saying I need to try those plantain pancakes, yum.

    Pre workout I do some sort of protein and carbs, like Grilled Chicken & Sweet potatoes. Post workout I have been loving the AMRAP bars, sometimes I do a whey protein shake or plantains!!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Yes! The plantain pancakes are so good! Speaking of, I think I’ll make some tomorrow morning! AMRAP bars are the best!

  6. Great ideas! We do hard boiled eggs, turkey rolls, roasted almonds, banana and almond butter a lot for pre-workouts around here!

  7. Great ideas. I ran a half marathon earlier this month here in Sac and I wish I had fueled better for it. Good luck on your half! I wouldn’t be able to stand the hills of SF!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      I’ve definitely had long runs where I haven’t fueled good and felt horrible not only during but hours even days after. Fueling properly is now hugely important to me!

  8. Those eggs and ham/bacon, so simple but it looks so good!

  9. great post! gonna try to follow what you eat so that i can have more energy when i run!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      I definitely notice a difference when I eat these foods compared to others or not enough. Food is fuel!