I know that there are many, many posts on proper pre-run fuel out there. But I’ll put mine out there as a cautionary tale of what NOT to do. I’ve been on a diet lately, trying to drop a few pounds before my half-marathon in March. Partially because of this: http://www.livestrong.com/article/403363-one-pound-weight-loss-equals-reduced-pressure-on-knees/. But mostly because I’ve gained about five pounds over the last two years and haven’t made a concerted effort to lose the weight and keep it off. A few weeks ago, I logged into MyFitnessPal account and by sticking to ~1200 calories a day (I don’t count most fruits and vegetables), I’ve lost most of that weight already!
So on Sunday, I decided to eat a salad for lunch (my first running nutrition mistake), since I had eaten more than my share of calories on Saturday (sushi for lunch, big bowl of Korean dumpling and rice cake soup for dinner) and Friday (big meal at Peking Gourmet Inn with friends! So delicious). After an hour, I went for a 10 mile treadmill run. The first few miles were fine; my body was a little tired from hot yoga and cycling the day before, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Around the third mile though, my stomach began to hurt. Clearly my stomach wasn’t enjoying the combination of having to digest/ process fiber and being jostled up and down! I lowered the incline from 2.0 to 1.5, which helped a little…and then realized I had also forgotten to bring any kind of running fuel (second mistake). I usually take fuel on any runs lasting longer than an hour; I find that it improves my performance and energy level considerably. I had to lower the speed to a walk three times during the run so I could rub my poor belly and drink some water. Needless to say, I didn’t feel great about that run, but at least I got it done and crossed off my training schedule!
Now what I should have eaten: I’ve felt good with the pretty typical pre-run foods: a banana, with bread and peanut butter as well for the longer runs (15+).
My running fuel of choice right now is the Chocolate Outrage Gu Energy gel; I could eat these for dessert! I think they are slightly more watery in consistency than some of the other Gu gels I’ve tried – Vanilla Bean comes to mind as a flavor I had trouble getting down. I’ve tried about 7 or 8 flavors, and this one hands down my favorite. I’ve also liked eating Sports Beans, but I find them a little too…sugary? solid? I’m not sure exactly why I prefer the gels; perhaps they go down faster with water for me. I take one every 4-5 miles for any run lasting longer than 5 miles (i.e. if I’m running only 5, I probably won’t bring one, but if I’m running 6 or more, I’ll fuel up during the run). I buy them on Amazon in 8-count and 24-count boxes.
Now in other news…I’m hoping for a snow day tomorrow!! It has been a remarkably warm and dry winter here in DC, but now The Washington Post has been hyping up “Snowquester”, AKA Storm Saturn. It would be wonderful to stay home and get a double workout in! And maybe work on my blog :)