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Natural Nutrition For Runners: Conclusions

Several of you have said you have enjoyed my posts about race-day fueling strategy. So I thought I'd offer a bit of a wrap-up with what I've settled into.

I looked at my training calendar last night and realized that after I return from our trip to Ohio there will be 8 weeks left until Race Week. Halfway there!

And I'm feeling good. I think it's a combination of many causes. The cross-training on the bike. The new nutrition plan. More experience in knowing when/how to push myself during workouts...and when to back off.

I loved the granola. There was even a sale on the half-bars I would have wanted to use. In the end, they're not for Race Day, I've decided. The North Shore Half was a nice, fair test drive for them and they proved to be too sticky, too crumbly, and hard to get down on a hot day. Granted, I hope the Chicago Marathon doesn't have a finish line high temp of 91, but you have to be prepared for anything.

Lately, on my long runs I've been taking a bag of dried fruit that has been working well. So far strawberries and dried apricots. And I've been sticking with the Nuun as my "sports drink" but a word about that in a second. I'm going to make a major late-season shopping trip for nutrition (I think I'm ok on hydration) this weekend and I think I'm doing an about-face on Honey Stinger. Especially the waffles. But I may do some gels, too, since they fit easily on my race belt.

The Nuun has been working out great and I'm a huge fan. I feel like I need to come up with a salt strategy since it doesn't supply that, but everything else leaves me feeling great. One thing I'd note to potential future Nuun-users is that, for me, it leaves me thirstier. Let me clarify...I find myself on my bikes and runs drinking the Nuun I've prepared when I leave the house and I go through it faster than I would go through plain water. I can't explain it, just describing. So I've been planning more water stops and/or will be adding another bottle cage to my bike soon. My theory is actually that when I'm thirsty it is quenching my thirst BETTER than other products or water. If you believe in the "hydrate to thirst" mantra of endurance sports, I think for me it has to do with that slushy, bloated, sick feeling that too much water or sugary sports drink can give you. The only drawback is the time it takes for the tablets to fizz at an aid station. For the half marathon in June, I had a plastic bag on my belt with multiple tablets and was dropping them into cups from the race course. Though I may have to reconsider that for my Fuel Belt. Still thinking that one over.

Again, everybody is unique, but this is what's working for me and allows me to rely less on the usual artificial products.