Being part of a running, cycling and triathlon club this is a question that is discussed frequently with many different opinions and answers and my honest response is that it is totally personal preference and there is no right or wrong answer. I would say be sensible, however, and don’t get me wrong you won’t see many people using pizza as their nutrition BUT you’d be surprised as this was handed out during the Ironman Austria event my husband and friends completed last year and is also eaten by ultra marathon runner Dean Karnazes (in a previous interview with Dean he mentioned how he had pizza delivered to him mid run before) and he has run 350 miles in 80 hours before so as I said each to their own!
It is something that takes time to work out and is really a bit of trial and error. I would suggest trying out different nutrition on shorter distances when training rather than using in an event without any previous experience. You’ve heard of ‘runner’s tummy’ right? That would never be a good thing!
For me, I am perfectly happy to admit I am a food snob and I like to know what is in the food I am eating including my nutrition for events. So it would be no surprise when I say that I much prefer to eat ‘real food’ rather than sports food. I want to know what the nutritional value is and for me if the list of ingredients takes too long to read I probably won’t be buying or using it! I have no qualification in nutrition but I have found that if a food item contains that many ingredients you will more than likely find that it is because there could be a lot of processed/poor quality/high sugar or salt and this, for me, does not affect my performance in a way I want – these chemical filled foods will often have a laxative effect and I will pass on that thank you very much!
I am currently working with Kate Percy and Sophie Heath from Go Faster Food to work on my nutrition and fuelling for the events I have planned. I was intrigued from the outset as the Go Bites range dealt with fuelling your workout before, during and after. They are gluten, wheat and dairy free and 1 of your 5 a day – and they taste great so what’s not to like? I had tried similar products before and found they were not as palatable and actually quite hard to digest whilst on the move but found these to be great! They are packaged great including three individual balls that are just the right size for having whilst on the move. So far I have used for running and cycling and even shared with my husband who is training for Ironman events and he too was impressed so this could very easily be our new go to food for events!
I have even made some of my own from Kate’s Go Faster Food for Your Active Family book and they are great – I will admit I substituted some ingredients with what I had in the cupboard – I am terrible for amending recipes but the gist is the same just maybe a different seed or dried fruit! The book contains loads of recipes and I will be enjoying making some over the coming weeks whilst continuing with my training.