Monthly Archives: March 2013

Fuelling for the big race – carb loading

Are you training for a Spring marathon, or perhaps a slightly shorter race?

As race day approaches you’ll need to think about fuel for your race – how and when to take on the extra carbohydrate fuel that you’ll need.  Don’t leave it to the last minute to make your plans – you’ll need to try out everything before race day.

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Gluten-free baking

One in a hundred people suffers from a true allergy to dietary gluten, known as coeliac disease.  Many more find that they are intolerant to wheat and hence foods such as bread, doughs and cakes make them feel uncomfortable.

Following a gluten-free diet is the solution for both groups.  A wheat-free diet may be sufficient for coping with wheat intolerance but coeliacs will know that there are also other sources of gluten to be avoided.  Larger supermarkets stock ranges of ‘free from’ foods including bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, breakfast cereals, flours and ready made sauces.  When preparing meals from basic ingredients, it is not difficult to avoid wheat or gluten in many dishes, and to substitute other foods such as rice, potatoes and gluten-free oats.

Perhaps the two foods most missed by coeliacs and wheat avoiders are bread and cake.  I’ve tried to make basic gluten-free bread in my bread machine but without great success.  It seems that the dough needs to rise in a warm place in the conventional way and then be baked in an oven to get reasonable results.

I’ve had varying results with cakes.  Whilst a light Victoria sponge totally eludes me, rich fruit cakes and recipes using fresh fruit (such as banana) or grated vegetables (e.g. courgette) work well with gluten free flour such as Dove’s Farm.  These cakes do tend to dry out faster, however, than if they were made with wheat flour. 

If you fancy something very rich and chocolately, try the ultimate beetroot and chocolate cake.  This recipe will work with gluten free flour as the beetroot is very moist and, arguabley, you’ll be getting extra anto-oxidants with your portion of cake!

Recently, I’ve discovered a range of recipes which use some specific ingredients to counter the absence of gluten in producing moist and very tasty cakes.  Glycerine (liquid) keeps moisture in and xanthan gum (a form of powdered starch) binds the ingredients together to give a conventional cake texture.  Relatively small amounts of these ‘magic’ ingredients convert the usually dry gluten-free cake into a really moist delight, which is difficult to distinguish from a conventional wheat-based recipe.

The buttermilk breakfast muffin recipe is the first of these specifically gluten-free recipes to get the Russell-Price ‘tried and tested’ stamp of approval!

Q&A: a sometimes tired runner

Your questions related to sport and exercise nutrition, nutritional health and any other topics covered in Russell-Price Sport and Wellness Nutrition’s website can be posted here.

  Question from Laurie:

Sometimes when I run I feel good, energetic, but other times I feel very tired and I just want to stop and walk. 

What’s going on?  What does “tired” mean in this context?

  Hi Laurie

Feeling tired whilst exercising is something that many of us will identify with!  The feeling of tiredness suggests that we just don’t have enough energy left in our bodies to fuel that exercise any longer.

From your question, I assume that you run regularly, rather than just once in a while.  There are several things to look at when trying to find out what’s going on, as below.

  • Are you getting enough sleep?  Generally, adults need 6-8 hours sleep each night during which our bodies go into repair mode.
  • Are you training very hard or running very frequently?  When we step up our training regime, we can suffer from something called ‘over-training’ which will lead to negative feelings and tiredness.  It would be wise to review your training schedule and your recovery activities.
  • How is your general health and wellbeing?  If your body is fighting low level infections or dealing with other stresses, you will have less energy left to fuel your running and you are likely to need longer to recover from each session.
  • Whether or not any the points above suggests what may be the root cause of this apparent lack of energy for you, your day to day nutrition is key to providing you with the basis for exercising and for successful training.

A balanced diet, with plenty of carbohydrates, adequate protein, vitamins and essential minerals is essential, on a day to day basis, when you are exercising regularly.  Depending upon your schedule, you will need to fuel your body with carbohydrate prior to training sessions and possibly during them too.  Also, don’t forget about recovery; you need to replenish those energy stores with carbohydrate as soon as possible after a run.

Please contact me if you would like to explore these questions further.


Fuelling for the big race

At this time of year you may be training for a Spring race, perhaps a marathon or a shorter distance.  You’ll have a training plan that leads you to increase your mileage and/or put in some speed sessions.  If you are increasing your training mileage you’ll need more energy.  If you are training harder, and for longer, you’ll be increasing the physiological stresses on your body and you need to take precautions against those stresses having adverse effects on your overall health.

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