To eat or not to eat before my morning run? This is the question!
Now I don’t want you to think that I am some super star morning bird…because I am not! Just ask my husband! I don’t do a morning run even day but I try to do 2-3 a week. I like them because they give me a chance to be finished with my workouts in the AM versus working out when I get home in the PM. That way I can do housework, make dinner, spend time with my husband, watch some TV, work on this blog, etc. OR if I am feeling really adventurous is gives me the chance to get 2 runs in or an extra workout. Now these are not long runs – we are talking 2 miles – but it gives me the chance to work out twice in one day and try different runs each time. I’m not THAT crazy! On days I do run in the morning they look like this:
6AM: Alarm goes on off and husband rolls me out of bed…I roll into my gear which is already laid out in the bathroom
6:05 AM: Out the door, stretch, head out
6:45 AM: Make my coffee, eat my granola, banana, and greek yogurt
7:30 AM: Change into my biking shorts and head to work
So what’s the biggest problem with running in the morning for me? Proper nutrition! First, you can only consume so much water before bed to keep hydrated. There’s a fine line between being well hydrated for your morning run and getting up every hour to pee. The later makes you cranky and a crappy runner! I find that I am really thirsty on my morning runs and need to be better about bringing my bottle with me. Second, if you want to eat something and fuel your body you have to wake up pretty early…and you are already waking up pretty early! Part of me feels bad saying that…because we live in the city so I don’t have to wake up as early as a lot of commuters…but it’s still an hour that I could be sleeping!
The second part of that conundrum is my biggest struggle. I can fix the first part by drinking more water at night and by running with my water bottle. Half a Nuun in the morning while running usually does the trick. So nutrition. Hmmmm. I am open to suggestions if anyone has any! An awesome running blogger I know recommended getting some caffeine in me – either a bit of coffee or tea. Next time I am going to make half a cup of tea to drink before I leave for a quick boost of caffeine. I’ll let you know how that works out! I am also toying with the idea of trying half a banana, half a slice of toast (plain), or half a granola bar. Something quick. I need to spike my glucose levels for energy but need to be able to digest it quickly as well.
I’m not running long enough to “hit the wall” or need a huge amount of fuel (4+ miles) so this isn’t an “I need a protein shake pre-run with some granola” problem it is an “I need to be awake enough to put one foot in front of the other and not hear my tummy grumble” problem. Can I get an amen? for those runs, the general rule is to consumer 0.5 grams of carbs for every pound of body with and multiply that by the number of hours you have before you run. For examples, 180 pounds x 0.5 = 90. 90 x 1/2 and hour = 45 grams of carbs. What does that look like? Well it looks like toast with peanut butter and half a bottle of a sports drink…or one of those nifty Gu Gels or Power Gels (nasty but necessary sometimes).
My pre-race food ritual is the same for ever run and I’ll never change it because I am superstitious like that…but it is too heavy for a quick morning run. Before races I always eat 1 piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and half a banana on the side with a cup of plain coffee. I keep is plain and simple because my stomach is pretty weak that the last thing you want on a run is an upset stomach…running is hard enough on it’s own!
So what are you tricks? What do you eat pre-run (or post run!)?