Tips from our Experts

If you have questions about running, training, nutrition, etc. please feel free to contact the Fiddlers Run experts: Dr. Chris Milburn (Physician) and Kim Boudreau (Nutritionist). They can point you in the right direction and help you achieve your goals.

Ask an Expert Physician: Dr. Chris Milburn

Dr. Milburn has been running for 24 years. He participated in his first race in 1984 and since has run at least one race every year. In total, he has participated in approximately 250 races.

When Dr. Milburn was asked his favorite part about running, he replied:

“I love a sport where everyone is a winner. Everyone who crosses the line has won. Just by showing up and racing, you are doing something that 99% of the population is unable or unwilling to try. I also love running because there’s nobody to blame but yourself when you don’t do well. Another great aspect about running is the flexibility – all you need is sneakers, and off you go out the door. No driving, fussing, complex equipment, or fixed times. It’s great for someone with a busy life.”

Dr. Milburn’s Advice for Beginners:

“Running isn’t like other sports. You can go out on a bike for the first time and have fun. You can swim for the first time and have fun. But with running, there is a minimum fitness level that you have to achieve before it becomes enjoyable. So the first 1-3 months--depending on your initial fitness level--is hard. Most people never push through that hump, and end up giving up. If you can stick through it, running (more than any other sport) becomes a great method of stress reduction, fitness and weight maintenance, competition (if you’re into that), and gives the best endorphin rush (“high”) of any sport. So, expect to feel bad the first few times you run. Expect some aches and pains; they’re normal as your body adjusts. Get a running buddy because that makes it harder to skip runs. Sign up for a 5K race, and stick to your goal. A walk-run program is a great way to get over the hump.”

Ask an Expert Nutritionist: Kim Boudreau

Kim Boudreau is the "Ask an Expert" Nutritionist for the Cape Breton Fiddlers Run. She is a registered dietitian working for the Cape Breton District Health Authority.

Kim is a runner herself. She enjoys running indoors; you will usually find her running on the treadmill at the Y. When Kim is outdoors, one of her favorite places to run is Kings Road. This is a convenient location for her because she just steps out her front door and is ready to go. She also enjoys the scenery, the gardens, plants and trees, and especially the water. “I love running alongside our beautiful ocean, and thankfully in Cape Breton, you’re never too far away from that!”

We asked Kim some questions and she was able to provide great nutrition tips for runners.

1. What types of food should runners eat before a race?

"Runners should incorporate a healthy, well balanced diet all year round. More specifically, meals should be rich in complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and also provide adequate protein (such as chicken, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, soy). It is also essential to drink plenty of fluids daily, whether training or not. The last meal before a race should contain mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of low fat protein. If a meal is large, you will need at least 3-4 hours for digestion. For pre-event snacks, you generally need less than 2 hours. More specific dietary guidelines would depend on the runner (gender, age, fitness level, weight and height) and the distance training/running."

2. What types of food should runners eat after a race?

"Right after a race, runners need to replace their glycogen stores, which is the fuel that our bodies use to run. A recovery meal immediately after an event could be something as simple as a piece of fruit, a glass of chocolate milk or a granola bar. That should be consumed within 15-30 minutes post-exercise when muscles are most receptive to re-fueling.

Your post-run meal should be similar to your pre-run meal, a carbohydrate rich meal to replenish glycogen stores, with adequate protein for optimal muscle recovery. Again, the amounts of carbohydrate and protein would depend on the runner. Someone who completed a 10K race will need less calories, carbs and protein than someone completing a marathon. And of course, you should always include fluids before, during and after your runs."

3. How do runners keep hydrated during a race?

"The most important step to keeping hydrated during a race is to make sure you are well-hydrated before a race. If you are dehydrated before you start a run, you will have difficulty making up for it during a run, which can affect your performance. Drink plenty of fluids each day to maintain fluid balance and adequate urine output.

Adult fluid requirements are between 25-35 ml per kilogram of body weight per day. For a 130 pound woman (60 kg), that’s a minimum of 1500 – 2100 ml of fluid per day.

An athlete requires even more fluid. Aim for an additional 400-600 ml of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise, 150-350 ml about 15 minutes before and around 150-350 ml every 15-20 minutes during a run. Replace fluid losses you lost during exercise.

If you are running in the heat, you need even more. If you are running for an hour or longer, you may benefit from a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade. Monitor urine output (dark, strong urine is a sign that you need more fluid). Remember to test your fluid tolerance with training to see how much your body can tolerate. Don’t try to start pushing fluids the day of a race."

4. Do you have any other nutrition tips for runners?

"One important tip is to try incorporate meals and snacks during training. Determine what meals and snacks make you feel the best, what you digest the best, what sits well in your stomach before a run. Do you like oatmeal plus a large glass of milk the morning of your big race? Maybe you do better with a fruit and whey protein shake. Can you drink 3 cups of fluid 2 hours before a race or does that make you need to run to the bathroom during the event?

What type of meal you eat, and sometimes more importantly, when you eat it, can help or hinder your runs. Never try anything new on race day. For example, if you want to incorporate carbohydrate gels or drinks into your half-marathon training, try them during training runs, not your big race."

5. Do you know any websites where people can get more information?