Let’s switch it up today and talk about food.
Not fuel (in case you’ve been paying attention). But food. Before, during, and after.
Before can be difficult. Especially if you, like me, typically run first thing in the morning. I find it hard enough to get up in time to run early. Never mind getting up in time to eat something and let it sit for a few minutes before I leave the house.
(Besides if I take time to eat, the animals both wake up and want their breakfast before I go. Another delay, rats.)
Before also differs depending on the day. How far am I running? How early IS it, really?
With all those disclaimers, I’ll admit that on a normal early morning run of 5 miles or less, I don’t usually worry about eating anything. I roll out of bed, into my gear, drink several glasses of water, fill up my water bottle, and head out the door. Ten minutes or less and it’s a win.
If I wake up hungry, however, I’ll eat a couple of dates to get going.
If I’m running later or longer than usual it gets a little trickier. Saturday, long run day, I have a cup of coffee or two and a little dish of yogurt, provided I remembered to buy yogurt and nobody’s beaten me to it. Otherwise I’ll have a bowl of Cheerios and wait just a little longer before heading out.
I don’t always find during necessary; but when I do, I prefer real food to goo or gel or whatever. So far, dates are my go to running snack. They’re little, portable, sweet, and don’t make me nauseous. Perfect. Raisins work the same way. Easy. Sweet. Little bites of energy.
I like trail mix too. A little sweet for energy. A little salt for electrolytes. And little bites of protein. Perfect.
After doing a little reading, I’m also looking forward to trying gummi bears, marshmallows, a jam sandwich on white bread, and frozen grapes on a warm day. I’m going to have to start running farther to earn all these treats.
My only hard and fast rule is that when I eat mid-run, I make sure to drink a couple of ounces of water or Nuun or whatever I have in my bottle to wash it down. Heaven help me if my snack gets stuck part way.
Two words: CHOCOLATE MILK.
Any time I run 5 miles or more, my first reward is a tall cold glass of chocolate milk. Perfect. Some days I spend the last mile or two dreaming about it. You’re familiar with the hype – it’s all true. Try it, and don’t forget to thank me later.
I’ve found that if I don’t eat something protein within 30 minutes of finishing a long run, I bonk. I just want to curl up and nap the rest of the day away. Since that’s not always an option, I scramble some eggs with whatever veg are hanging around in the fridge. Frank’s sauce is very good for disguising that eggy taste. Not my favorite.
I’ve also discovered that it’s important not to eat TOO much after my run. Somehow I don’t burn as many calories as I think I do, so I’ve stopped using my run as an excuse to eat all the chocolate and other sweets in the house. It’s sad, i know, but probably smarter in the long run.
What about you? Do you eat when you run? What’s your favorite?