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"You really love something? To show up is to put yourself out there, to accept vulnerability and choose courage. Some days can feel like magic. As runners, all we do in training and racing is to prepare for those great moments, to help them come more frequently, and so they are ours to embrace when they happen".

Avoid the wall: what to eat before long runs

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Another long run! Fueling before a long run definitely helps performance. Back in college I got a bad habit not to eat before my runs and races to avoid having an upset stomach. Over the years, this philosophy has changed and now I always eat before my races and even before the hard or long runs.

From my own experience, the specifics of what you eat aren’t as important as the timing. Waking up at least 40 minutes before the long or hard run gives me enough time to eat something real like a toast with jam, or some oatmeal with some nuts, or 1 cup of good quality yogurt with berries and cereal.  I try to avoid protein and peanut butter before my morning runs because it takes more time to digest, but if I have more time, eating a breakfast with protein leaves me well fueled for a tough afternoon or evening session.

I prefer running before the sun gets up, but sometimes I also like to sleep in. I usually get out the door 30 minutes after I get up, so I eat something easy to digest like a piece of toast with a little butter and jam. Calorie estimate is between 150-250 depending on length and intensity of the workout.

Sometimes I’m in a time crunch and I don’t have time to wait for 30-90 minutes for my breakfast to digest, so when I roll out of bed I eat a half of a Powerbar with a little cup of coffee before I run. I never drink coffee when I have a basic endurance run, but I often do it before a tough workout.

One advice that I’ve got in the past to remember to drink 8 oz of water the minute you wake up in the morning. Sleep is dehydrating, and you need the fluid for your muscles to fire properly, to get your morning food, and to help your breakfast get absorbed. Without the water, breakfast might leave you with a cramp on your run.

Training for marathons and doing frequent long runs I’ve noticed that pre-run nutrition boosts my performance. I was afraid to eat beforehand because of having a bad college experience in a past, but now I can’t imagine training without morning fueling. Runners would benefit from training their gut to get used to it, and its well worth it because having morning fuel raises the workout performance, confidence, fitness and race performances.