Thanks for all your responses lately!
I myself have a hard time balancing the fuel intake pre-workout, and I’m no where NEAR even mid-distance yet, let alone long distance! I have had a few “long activity” workouts (intervals for 6 miles, for example) and I always feel like I have either fueled TOO much, or NOT ENOUGH for the long workouts. How do you find a balance?
I find that eating intuitively makes a big difference. Check out “Intuitive Eating” (by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch). If you want a more “numbers-based” approach, you might want to check out a Go Wear Fit or a Bodybugg – they’ll give you a good ballpark number for how many calories you’re actually burning every day. Then you can use something like The Daily Plate or Sparkpeople to keep track of your calorie intake (I use The Daily Plate).
I’m currently combining those two approaches. I keep track of my food intake, but that’s mostly to see my fat/protein/carb ratios. Since switching over to vegetarianism, I find my fat intake has gone through the roof – although nuts are a good source of protein, they are also very high in fats. I use my Bodybugg to see how many calories I’m burning on a daily basis, and I try to stay somewhere in that general vicinity with my calorie intake. I try not to obsess about it, and just use my hunger cues (intuitive eating). But then I log it afterwards to see how things are adding up. It’s a strange combination, but it seems to work pretty well for me.
Also remember, it’s a process. Some foods will work well for you and others won’t. The more you pay attention to how different foods make you feel (eating intuitively), the better you will be able to plan your meals and your runs. I’ve found certain foods that make me feel great, and others that just destroy my runs. But now I know what to stay away from for a day or two before my long runs.