Today's National Running Safety Month post comes to you from Amanda Shannon-Verrengia, a certified personal trainer, track and field coach and avid runner. Later this month we're going to hear from Amanda on what personal safety tips she recommends for running with pets. But with this post, we're switching things up a bit and approaching safety from a different angle.
Gluten Free Fuel
By. Amanda Shannon-Verrengia
When a conversation about safety for runners comes up, we tend to automatically think about the obvious: knowing your surroundings, being alert and attentive on your run, wearing reflective gear and the like.
What about safety when it comes to our nutritional health? Sure, you can carry pepper spray, take a stellar self-defense class and make sure you're visible during those early morning and late night runs. But none of those important safety measures will prepare you for the deficit that can be experienced if you are lacking nutritionally. The amount of people who end up in medical tents or sitting in a daze on the curb during a race is often due to improper fueling, so there is no doubt that it's an important part of your personal safety routine.
I've been a runner since childhood and have always been in tune with the importance of nutrition thanks to parents who taught me all about green smoothies, pre-race dinners and the importance of carb-filled snacks before a run or a tough workout. A little over two years ago, I started eating a gluten-free diet in the hope of combating my autoimmune condition, alopecia aerata, so it was a whole new ballgame for me in the nutritional department. I know, I know... "HOW do you fuel for those long runs without pasta?" right?
When I started my gluten-free runner journey, I was lucky enough to have my super smart gluten-free sister by my side. She's a health coach and author of The Gluten Free Revolution,
so I'm never lacking when it comes to ideas for fueling my runs. And here's the truth: being a gluten-free runner is the same as being a gluten eating runner. You need to prepare nutrient dense meals and snacks that will get you to the finish line of your next work out or race.
Here are some gluten-free fuel ideas to get you started:
1. Gluten-Free Pasta
Don't worry, you don't have to sacrifice pasta as a gluten-free runner! The night before a tough run or race, I like to stick to the runner ritual of pasta for dinner. My favorites? The Ancient Harvest Quinoa
pasta is amazing. Tinkyada
makes some great rice based pastas. Even big brands like Delallo
have gluten-free pastas and they are AMAZING. I don't like to overdo the pasta eating pre-race, but I love a bowl of simple noodles with a red sauce and some Parmesan.
2. A Baked Potato
Another awesome and easy meal to fuel you for your run. I LOVE baked sweet potatoes, but the russet potatoes will do just fine too! Keep it simple with the veggies before a race and just put a bit of broccoli in there so your stomach doesn't disagree in the morning. Top it with some cheddar, and if you love it like I do, some sour cream and - YUM!
Nuun Active Hydration
is such an excellent source of electrolytes. A simple tablet that you drop in your water, Nuun is not only a fantastic way to quickly absorb electrolytes, it is also an all natural, good for the earth product that tastes GREAT!
4. Picky Bars
Can I get a HECK YES for Picky Bars
?! They are phenomenal as a pre-run snack or a post run replenishment. All of the bars are gluten-free and totally amazing. Sign up for the Picky Club and you'll have a box of bars delivered to your doorstep each month - WOOT!
5. Honey Stinger Chews
Great for right before or during a long run or race. Honey Stinger
chews are made from 100% organic tapioca syrup and honey. They taste great and can make all the difference in whether or not you stay strong till the finish.
6. Pure Honey
The simplest and one of my favorites. Grab some honey and take a tablespoon before your head out on your next long run. The simple carbohydrates and unrefined sugar make it the perfect run fuel before, during and after a hard effort.
I know you're super in love with all of these gluten-free products (how couldn't you be?!) but, do yourself a favor and never try anything new before a race. Your body may not like it! So, give some of these a try during your next workout and see how it makes your gluten-free self feel!
What do you do to fuel your run? Do you have any stellar gluten-free fueling traditions that you swear by? Share them with us!
About Amanda: Amanda Shannon-Verrengia is the creator and voice behind the RUN INTENDED site and blog. In addition to being a certified ACE personal trainer and USATF Track and Field Coach, Amanda has been a runner since childhood, earning experience both personally and professionally in the running industry. Amanda lives with her husband, Anthony, and her four cats and two dogs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Like what you've read? Check out more from Amanda on her social media platforms: