Baby Food for Distance Runners?

Do you use energy gels for your long distances runs and races?

I do but I tend to find them a little too sweet and sickly.  I use Science in Sport gels and like the fact that they can be taken without a drink making them easy to swallow; particularly important when racing as I don’t like chewing things when I’m breathing hard.  However, sometimes I would prefer something that gave me the energy but with a less sugary taste. Also some people find that gels have a tendency to upset their stomach – ever seen people disappearing into the bushes or diving behind a wall on a long race? Not ideal is it!

So, is there an alternative to energy gels?

One thing that I have found to work quite well is baby food!  Yes those little pouches of mushed up food that I always thought must taste disgusting.  Well a little bit of trial and error with the flavours has led me to one that is actually quite pleasant!

baby food for runners

baby food for runners!

I have tried several brands and prefer Ella’s Kitchen; I particularly like the mango, yoghurt and rice baby brekkie. The mix of fruit and yoghurt gives a tangy rather than sweet taste and the rice means that is slightly thicker than a SiS gel (which is designed to be taken without water) although they are still easy to swallow. It has no added sugar and the 100g pouch contains 112 kcal compared to 87 kcal in a 60ml gel.  They cost around £1, the same as a gel and the twist top means that you can reseal the pouch if you don’t want to swallow it all in one go.  This also prevents the remnants leaking out into your bag when you’ve finished it.

baby food for runners

baby food: 112 calories and 20g of carbohydrate

SiS gel

Gel: 87 calories and 22g of carbohydrate

I use baby food as fuel on long training runs and also on very long races such as the High Peak Marathon whilst on both the Paddy Buckley and Ramsay rounds I carried baby food pouches as an essential part of my nutrition strategy. There are other flavours and other brands, I suggest you check which has the most calories per 100g.

High Peak Marathon equipment

essentials for the High Peak Marathon include baby food pouches

I put the baby food to the test on a long run, you can see what I found in the video.  Before you go though, a quick word of warning – give the fish pie and mashed potato pouches a miss – YUK!!

 

Click the logo to see what else I do:

fell running guide

Blizzard Bags

Winter fell and trail running in remote areas can be hazardous.

Have you ever had to stop running whilst wearing only a thin base layer and waterproof top? If so you will have realised that it doesn’t take long to get cold.  Although you might not feel too cold whilst running, even in wet and windy weather, as soon as you stop exercising and thus producing heat you begin to cool down rapidly.

Descending White Side

remote running in bad weather

An enforced stop, a sprained ankle for example, can easily lead to the onset of hypothermia in such conditions.

One great piece of kit that I carry on remote runs is a Blizzard Survival Bag.  This is made of a highly thermally efficient material with a warmth to weight ratio exceeding even goose down.  What’s more it is durable and efficient even when wet.

Blizzard Bag

Blizzard Bag

The Active Range version weighs only 280 grams and is small enough to fit into a bumbag.  It comes vacuum packed for ease of transport and once opened unfolds into a full length sleeping bag.

Blizzard Survival Bag for running

lightweight and easy to carry

Blizzard Bag for runners

easily opens to sleeping bag size

It works by trapping a layer of air between two layers of thermally reflective material.  Once inside, the draw cord can be pulled tight around your head leaving a small breathing space and keeping you out of the wind and rain.  Any heat your body gives off is retained within the bag rather than being lost to the elements.

Sat in a Blizzard Bag

snug inside the bag

At a little over £20 Blizzard Bags are a really good investment.  It’s the first thing that goes into my bag when I’m off running or walking in remote areas.

Next time you’re out on a remote run think about what would happen if you or one of your group had to stop for a length of time.  What state would you be in by the time help arrived?  This bag might be the difference between an uncomfortable wait and something much more serious.

So get out there, run and enjoy the worst that the winter can throw at us, but stay safe.

 

Running on Ice

Icy conditions have made fell running training a little difficult recently.

Although deep snow is difficult to run through it is actually great for training.  You have to work harder as the snow provides resistance to your forwards movement, you have to lift your knees higher and so bring into play muscles that you don’t normally use and if you do fall over (which is inevitable) you usually end up with a soft landing.

The problems start when conditions underfoot are icy such as when the snow melts during the day then refreezes at night or where it gets compressed into a hard, frozen layer.  I have been asked by several people recently how I continue training when it gets icy.

One way is to use Micro-spikes.  I use Kahtoola. These are basically scaled down walking crampons that simply attach to your shoe and are held in place by stretchy rubber. They can be put on in around 10 seconds per foot and taken off in a fraction of that.  Reasonably small and light I simply carry them in my bum bag or rucksack and put them on when needed.

I find them a really great piece of kit which allow me to keep training on terrain that might otherwise be too difficult to run on.

The video shows you how easy they are to use:

To book a Peak District guided run, coaching or navigation training session visit:

logo www coaching