17 June 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

London Marathon Blog: Peshwari naan – the food of champions?

March 2, 2017
LM-food

With about 6 weeks to go until the Virgin Money London Marathon, I’ve been starting to test how, what and when to eat during my longer runs. Over the years of running Sportsister, we’ve tested pretty much every gel and bar out there and tried to make sense of the confusing array of advice. In the end it all comes down to what works for you. But my advice is to test, test and test again. You will run out of steam if you don’t refuel – it’s very simple science.

LM-food

I am a bit unorthodox in my approach, I guess you could say old-school and that’s maybe because I am older! In my days as a competing athlete (canoeing) we drank diluted orange juice or flat cola and ate fig rolls and bananas mostly – this was because the market for sports nutrition was only just emerging, however it served me well, so I am now re-visiting the simple approach. In my last two long runs (15 and 18 miles) I have put aside the bars and gels and eaten a peshwari naan bread and brown pitta bread with nut butter and honey respectively – both were easy to eat, delicious and cheap!

If this sounds a bit flippant – it’s really not. I’ve struggled with depletion issues for years, mainly after longer events, where I have been so low on reserves I’ve had to lie down, snooze and slowly nibble food (despite feeling sick) for a couple of hours. I’ve really struggled to avoid this happening, despite using all the nutritional recommendations out there.

However, in the past I was able to compete in events that lasted over 17 hours, and at a high level, so what did I do right then? I ate well before and I ate well during and I think that’s the key for me, eating during the event. In my past two long runs I’ve got up early, had porridge with honey and nut butter and a glass of slightly diluted orange and then waited an hour. Then I start eating at around 6 miles and continued to eat regularly throughout – at the end, I refueled immediately (see my separate post on Huel) and hey presto, no crash – I am feeling encouraged and excited because it’s really no fun being ill at the end of a race.

It’s worth pointing out that I am not running fast, for me, it’s a lot easier to eat at around 10 minute mile pace, than say 9 minute mile pace. I haven’t found the solution for eating while going fast yet…but I’ll let you know if I do!

This weeks training:
1. Steady, flat 28.9km. 6.37/km pace
2. Parkrun. Total 5km
3. Steady, flat 10km. 5.42/km pace

Conditions:
Generally mild and fine, big puddles though!

Smile factor: 90%

Read the first in this series here

Read the second in this series here

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

The Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on April 23 – find out more here

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