Runner’s Share: Pre-Run Fuel

Runner's Share

Need some suggestions for fueling up before you run?
Check out these awesome ideas from Instagram runners around the world:


PRE-RUN FUEL:

THE CARBS:

+ Oatmeal
+ Cream of rice
+ Cliff Bar
+ English Muffin
+ Toast
+ Cereal
+ Bagel
+ Nuun
+ Waffle
+ Honey
+ Saltine crackers

THE PROTEINS:

+ Peanut Butter
+ Egg Whites
+ Marigold Protein bar
+ Cliff Bar
+ Nuts
+ Hummus

THE FRUITZ:

+ Banana
+ Green Apple
+ Blueberries
+ Apple sauce
+ Raisins

THE OTHER STUFF:

+ Coffee
+ An oatmeal raisin cookie


WHAT ABOUT PRE-RACE MEALS?!

NIGHT BEFORE:

+ Pizza & donuts the night before
+ Heavy spicy stew with rich homemade broth and loaded with veggies
+ Chicken Parmesan
+ Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich + a long island
+ Black bean and beet burger from No Meat Athlete
+ Cheeseburger
+ Steak & potatoes
+ Pizza and wine
+ Pasta or a turkey sandwich
+ PIZZA
+ Carbs & less protein (something easy to digest) and then water

DAY OF:

+ Home-made banana bread
+ A banana with a sprinkle of salt
+ Dried banana chips and Maurten gels during
+ Avocado bagel
+ Peanut butter and bread with half a banana
+ Nothing, oatmeal, or PB toast – depends on my race strategy or distance
+ Cliff bar, banana, 12 oz. salted water, and a 5 hr. energy
+ Bagel & cream cheese
+ Greek yogurt with granola or cereal
+ English muffin with laughing cow cheese
+ Bagel & honey
+ Sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich
+ Sourdough bread slices
+ Black coffee
+ MUST INCLUDE PEANUT BUTTER
+ Oatmeal (preferably chocolate chip)



THANK YOU TO ALL THE AMAZING RUNNERS WHO CONTRIBUTED THEIR IDEAS TO THIS POST:

@minimalinfluence – @sergio_guerra_r – @randyrunzmaine – @cris.tianlg – @kaf_runn – @runningbaldman – @jimmystixruns – @queen_authentic – @lea.zun – @scrubs_n_spandex – @andrewtram – @dontcallita_runback – @elaina_runs – @nomivv – @tbogda0471 – @dp_on_the_go – @ellakbuss – @lindseyandrew – @oli_beringer – @millzgotmiles – @zhanelturarbek – @t_perk13 – @ruben_sgomes – @j5thekosmostones – @dwaynejordan23 – @nartron3k – @siamese.runner – @fafi_stags – @trekettup – @caragiovannaa – @willa_jace01- @run_like_a_mother2 – @lenaclaudia – @dan_runs_downtown – @jordynefriedenfels – @thatsastep1 – @madisonbrookeharmer – @stevekorchinos – @elite.et – @1beer.1mile – @emily_kenyon4 – @mikefire53 – @stavlevyhalabe – @run_emc – @kelli.threet – @casi.lummer – @sprintergonedistance – @amystrahan – @sk1nnylegs – @lizzieroyer – @ambegezda – @_tony_trains – @runthefifty_ – @frumpycob – @hannalyn13 – @will.run.for.smiles – @innerathletemi – @xtyleryoungx – @wilson.50.by.50

Once you’ve explored, make sure to share your own suggestions below!

TO FUEL OR NOT TO FUEL

Fuel

Do you eat before you run?

Okay. I mean. Most say that you should fuel up before a run – ESPECIALLY before a race – but why? We all know that it helps to sustain your energy, keeps you going, helps to ensure sure you don’t crash mid-run… but I’m a morning runner – and I don’t always LIKE – or have TIME – to fuel up before I head out.

But what’s actually best?


Here are a few things to consider when figuring out what is best for YOU:

TIME:

How long do you need to digest your fuel?

And, according to Mayo Clinic – digestion time varies between individuals and between men and women. What does this mean for you? It means that IT DEPENDS. You may need to experiment and explore with different foods, times, and combinations before you find what’s best for you personally. What else does this mean? It means that when someone is telling you exactly what you should do – BE CAUTIOUS. Nobody knows what’s best for you except for…well… you.

Whatcha been eating all week?

Fueling up isn’t only about the pre-run snack or meal – it can also include everything you’ve been eating for days prior – and EVERYONE’S NEEDS ARE DIFFERENT. For me personally, if I eat too big of a meal the night before my race – I’M GOING DOWN. Seriously. I’ve had to move my “pre-run” meal to the entire week before the race. If I eat too late – say, carb-loading the night before the race – personally, my body definitely does not have time to process what I’ve eaten. When this happens, I get sick, have more cramps, and sometimes have a “heavy” feeling that keeps me from running as fast as I can. Finding what works best for you takes time though, and lots of trial-and-error. It’s taken me 6 years to figure out what’s best for me personally, and I’m still learning (and my body is always changing). So make sure you consider the fact that your body is using fuel that it has stored over time – not just from the morning of the run or race.


TYPE:

What type of run are you doing?

Long runs?

Lizzie Kasparek, R.D., sports dietitian for the Sanford Sports Science Institute – suggests “eating two to four hours before a long run.” Long runs require much more energy – which means you may not have adequate fuel in your system to keep you going without a little pre-run snack or meal. However – with this fuel – comes a digestion time. It’s important to consider how much you’ve eaten and how much time you’ll need to digest it before you head out for that longer run!

What about shorter runs?

According to Vishal Patel, chief sports nutritionist at Nuun, if you’re going out for a short run (say 3-4 miles) – you can likely “skip the pre-run meal or snack.” Why is this? Because your body may actually have enough energy stored up in the form of carbs and nutrients to get you through the run. HOWEVER – AGAIN – it is all about your personal preference and needs. If you find that fueling up before a short run best enhances your performance – GO FOR IT. Everyone has different nutritional needs, and you know those needs best.


FOOD:

What are you fueling up with & how much?

It’s also important to fuel up on the RIGHT KIND of foods if you’re going to be eating that pre-run snack or meal. And not just the right kind – but the RIGHT AMOUNT as well. We all know what high-fiber foods do… so maybe lay off the broccoli & beans before you go for your run. But fueling up on some carbs & protein – Kasparek suggests – can be quickly turned into energy to use on those runs. A little oatmeal, some toast and peanut butter, a power bar – just a few options to keep that energy high. But make sure you’re consuming an amount that optimizes your performance. Personally, I eat a power-bar a few hours before a race. It’s light enough that it doesn’t feel like a huge meal – but it gives me enough energy to get me through.


BOTTOM LINE:

It’s all about finding what’s best for you. And it will take a little bit of exploration and experimentation. Everyone has different needs, bodies, and schedules – and therefor, we all have different pre-run preparation. Finding what works best for you is an ever-evolving process, and that’s okay! Just keep exploring and enjoying the process! Share your pre-run fuel plan below!




SOURCES:

Heather Mayer Irvine Freelance Writer Heather is the former food and nutrition editor for Runner’s World and the author of The Runner’s World Vegetarian Cookbook. “Unsure What to Eat Before a Run? These Ideas Fuel Every Distance and Sit Well.” Runner’s World, 3 Apr. 2020, www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-weight-loss/a20853304/what-do-i-eat-before-my-race/.

Laurel Leicht Updated August 14, and Laurel Leicht. “What to Eat Before, During, and After Running.” Health.com, www.health.com/fitness/what-to-eat-before-running.

Luff, Christine. “Why Should You Eat Before a Run?” Verywell Fit, 2 Apr. 2020, http://www.verywellfit.com/should-i-eat-before-a-run-2911547.

REAL TALK: Hormones & Running

Real Talk

Let’s be REAL honest here – hormones can be a real BI*#% when it comes to running. Picture this: It’s the week before your big race (that you’ve been training for every single day for the last 5+ months). You’re feeling good, feeling prepared, getting excited… and then that first cramp hits. The next few days include (but are not limited to) the lovely familiar gifts from mother nature: bloating, cramping, cravings, fatigue… all of which come and go up until the VERY DAY of your race…

I know. Trust me…I’ve been there. While men and women both experience, and are impacted by, their hormones – women tend to have much more unstable hormone levels. Us women have to constantly battle the shifting levels of hormones in our body, and the handfuls of symptoms that come with these shifts. And this can be a REAL pain in the ass when you’re trying to get your body to do something specific – say – like run a freaking marathon.

One thing that I’ve realized throughout my years of running – is that hormones impact my running to a LARGE degree – and I have to get comfortable with that and be kind to myself when it happens. The fact of the matter is:

I simply run better on certain weeks of the month than others.

Some weeks I’m bloated, retaining water weight (making me heavier and thus making it harder to run), I have cravings for salty and sugary food (again, if I indulge, it leads to retaining water and making it harder to run), I am moody, tired, and simply less motivated. And these are just a FEW of the symptoms that us ladies have to deal with during THAT time of the month.

While we can’t change mother nature, or stop it from happening, there are definitely a few things that I’ve found helpful when dealing with the impact of hormones on my running. Here they are:


1.) PLAN AHEAD:

This might sound a little intense – but I literally plan ahead for these times of the month. I plan my races accordingly. While I don’t always know the exact days that I’ll be more impacted or less impacted by my hormones – I can predict, based on the patterns over the months, which weeks might be safer than others. And that’s exactly what I do. I try to plan races on weeks when I know that I’ll be feeling my best – and that helps me to perform my best!


2.) SHIFT MY PERSPECTIVE:

While it can be difficult to “stay positive” when I’m having these challenges on race day – it’s been really helpful to shift my perspective and my attitude towards the shifting levels of hormones – and the changes that they bring to my running. The first thing to do is simply TAKE NOTE of how your hormones actually impact you personally with running – do you feel more tired during that time of the month? Have more fatigue? Simply feel slower because you’re bloated or carrying water weight? Lose some motivation or drive to keep up with your running? Just IDENTIFYING these changes and feelings is a HUGE step towards showing yourself some kindness when they arise. Instead of thinking “I am going so freaking slow what is wrong with me?!!?!?!?!” I can remember, “I am going slower today, and that’s okay. I know my hormones are a little out of whack, and I can choose to go slower and enjoy the run anyways. I will get back at it next week.


3.) HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE:

While you may feel bloated – it’s even MORE important that you stay hydrated during this time. Staying hydrated when you’re feeling bloated will actually HELP to flush out some of the toxins and waste from your body – thus helping out the situation! Plus, if you’re anything like me, some of those healthy habits (like staying hydrated) tend to fall off during this time of the month – so I have to truly be intentional about staying hydrate! I set timers on my phone and make sure to keep up with my water intake!


4.) TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT YOUR DIET:

While you can’t stop the cravings from happening – you can control the likelihood that you cave into them! You can do this by making sure that your meals, especially during this time of the month, include lots of healthy carbs and proteins. These will help to keep you full and reduce the chance that you’ll give into that whole pack of Oreos or tub of ice cream – especially if you’re also staying hydrated!


Alright ladies… those are MY tricks for overcoming the havoc that hormones try to cause during my running journey. Now it’s your turn! How have hormones impacted YOUR running journey?! And what are your tips, tricks, and strategies for running during that time of the month?

The Day the Music Died…

Running

CONTROVERSIAL RUNNING TOPIC ALERT

Do you listen to music when you run? 

Many runners swear by it – some can’t even run without it – and then there are those who have ditched the tunes & instead tuned into themselves when they run… I’ve been both. 

I used to be one of those runners who literally could not run without my music. If my headphones, or my phone, died mid-run (which, if you know me, you know that they usually did – just check out the ALABAMA trip if you’d like an example). Anyways, I would go into an all-out panic if I didn’t have my jams. I relied on my music so much & would strategically create playlists that I deemed best for my performance. Until one day… 

One day, upon arriving at the gym for my regularly scheduled 5 AM morning date with the treadmill, I noticed that, lo and behold, my headphones were – per usual – dead. Now, this usually wouldn’t be a big deal, since, well, I’m usually the only one at the gym at 5 AM & could blast my music out loud. But today there were TWO other runners there – what gives? Anyways, I couldn’t be that girl, so, I had to make a choice between my music and my miles. I guess I’d be going it without the tunes for today. 

Anyways, fast forward through the remainder of the day (which was likely filled with children asking me questions all day long at work, racing to get everything done, and likely eating Doritos at some point) – to the next morning, when I found myself on the treadmill again, STILL with dead headphones. I had forgotten to charge them amidst the chaos of the previous day. But (this might shock you) I really didn’t mind. The day before, without my music, had been shockingly peaceful. It allowed me to just tune into my mind, my pace, but most importantly – my breathing. 

I hadn’t noticed how out of control my breathing would get prior to ditching the headphones – but turning off the music and truly listening to, and focusing upon, my breath was the most beneficial thing I have done for my running-game thus far. But it’s not just me, here are a few other fun facts and comments from other runners who have given up music:

PACE 

Alexandra Parren shares that music, “may make you sprint off faster than you intend, making you burn-out before the end of your training session or race. By not listening to music you are more likely to keep a steady pace and not rush off too fast.” 

BREATHING

In a post on ACTIVE.com, Nick Clark shares how music impacts your running as he shares how music impairs your ability to engage in diaphragmatic breathing: “Without developing this style of breathing, athletes tend to breathe through their chest which is shallow breathing. Fast and efficient consumption and delivery of oxygen to the working muscles is crucial in endurance sports. Shallow or chest breathing will limit this process.”

FOCUS

While listening to music while running can definitely make it more enjoyable and increase your motivation, tuning into yourself, and your surroundings once in a while can be good for your focus – both internally and externally. It’s easier to think about your strike, your pace, your thoughts, and your needs on any given day when the music is off. 

I know, I know… 

It’s totally not for everyone. And honestly, there are TONS of reasons in SUPPORT of keeping the music up while running (sometimes I, too, put the headphones back in & enjoy the HELL out of some Lady Gaga during my entire ten miles). But growth is about trying something new every once in a while, and this was one change that – surprisingly enough for someone who LOVED the music/running combination – I have definitely found to be beneficial for my running journey. 

So maybe give it a try just once. 
Or don’t. Or just keep your Lady Gaga blasting. This is your running journey – I’m just telling ya about the day MY music died you guys. So what do YOU prefer?! Do you run with music or no?! Take your side of the debate in the comments below!