How to Fuel for Fall Training RunsWhat to eat to support fall training
July 26,2012 12:00 PM
Running in the fall is no different than any other time of year in that you need to fuel your body for the miles you will be running, while also making sure that the food you consume is nutrient-rich. Fall training also requires runners to continue to focus on hydration needs, because even though the temperatures have dropped, staying hydrated is still a key component of running fuel. If you are training this fall, you still need to focus closely on the foods and fluids that you are taking in.
So, what's different about fall training fuel? There are actually a number of differences between fall fueling and hydration strategies and the tactics you employ while training throughout other times of the year. For many people, cooler weather brings on an increase in appetite. While you may have been satisfied with a salad for dinner during the hot summer, in the fall you may crave a more “stick to your bones” type of meal. When training heavily in the fall, try to incorporate meals and snacks that are served warm to satiate you, while not filling you up too much. Some to try:
- Oatmeal – A steaming bowl of oatmeal is a staple for any runner year round, but throughout the fall and into the cold winter months, it becomes a true rock star. It offers filling fiber and inviting warmth and texture that will power you through your runs. For more information on oatmeal and how to make a unique bowl of oats that hits the spot, click here.
- Stews and soups – Rich soups and stews filled with vegetables, beans, and even lean meats are great for the chillier fall temperatures.
If you are looking for a warm breakfast on the go, but don’t have enough time for oatmeal or other hot cereal, heating up an organic energy bar, such as Clif Bar Oatmeal Raisin bars, is a great option. The warmed-up bar will be soft and chewy, with the consistency of a fresh baked cookie. This gives you the perfect, on-the-go breakfast to fuel your workouts.
Secondly, the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available in the fall vary from those of other times throughout the year. Incorporating Nature’s fall bounty into your eating can naturally support your training. Foods that are in-season are fresher and are bursting with nutrients that they simply lack if they are not ripe. Look for these autumn superstars at your farmer’s market or local grocery and incorporate them into your diet to fuel your fall training:
Next, hydration needs vary as well and this is where many runners stumble into trouble. In the warmer months, hydration is obviously a huge component of training and because of the heat a runner responds by feeling thirsty. With increased thirst comes an increase in drinking water and other essential beverages. In the fall, however, a runner may not feel as thirsty because it is cooler outside, yet they do not drink as much fluids because they do not crave them. Sweat rates will be down because of cooler temperatures, but that does not mean you should skimp on hydration. Your focus should be on drinking throughout your runs, about 12-16 ounces per hour, or more if you feel thirstier.
In the fall months, many parks and outdoor areas that have water fountains will shut the water off once the first frost occurs. This can seriously affect how much water you are able to drink. In order to be prepared, bring your own hydration system. A handheld bottle, such as the Nathan Quickdraw Plus Water Bottle, is a great way to carry water with you. It also features a pocket to carry an energy gel, chomps or Sport Beans Cherry Energizing Jelly Beans, along with your ID. You can also wear a fuel belt or backpack hydration system. Regardless of the option that you choose, make sure you are bringing fluids so that you avoid dehydration and exhaustion.
Support your fall training with the proper hydration and fueling from fresh, seasonal foods, warm hearty dishes and by ensuring that you always have a way to get your fluids even when the water fountains are off.