I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time stomaching high-volume foods like bananas, oatmeal, toast, etc. before a long run or a race. This isn’t a huge deal if I am doing a workout or running a race under two hours or so, but after that, I know it’s best for my performance to take in some simple carbs! When I discovered dates, I was floored by how my body reacted!
What’s the difference?
When you look at a typical gel, they usually contain about 100 calories, 20g of carbs, 0g of fat, and 0g of protein. One pitted medjool date has 65 calories, 18g of carbs, 0g of fat, and 0g of protein. See? Their macronutrient profiles are nearly identical!
Medjool dates also have some electrolytes in them! It’s not an overwhelming amount, but it is worth noting! If over the course of a long run you consume 3 pitted medjool dates, you’ll have consumed 501 mg (11% DV) potassium, 38.9 mg (13% DV) magnesium, and 46 mg (5% DV) calcium.
So what’s the real difference between medjool dates and energy gels? The only real difference is one is typically highly processed while the other is a whole, real food!
I have quite the sensitive stomach while I run. In fact, all of my workouts are fasted workouts. I try to experiment with consuming some nutrition for my longer runs (15+ miles) so that I can prepare myself for race morning. As long as I don’t over consume dates, I never experience any digestive issues – it’s a miracle! (Beware, dates are DELICIOUS, so they are easy to over consume!)
There’s nothing better than heading out for a run knowing that you won’t have to stop for the dreaded bathroom break! It’s the same amount of sugar as a piece of fruit, but little-to-no volume so the chances that you’ll experience digestive distress are slim-to-none!
They are really easily to put into a baggie and slip into the pocket of your running shorts or bring with you to a race. Just be sure to remove the pits so you don’t crack a tooth!
P.S. Don’t try anything new on race day. If you’re used to using traditional energy gels or chews, don’t switch to dates on race day! Be sure to test them out during your training cycle so that you know what to expect!