Well, this morning we are heading off to do our second 10k race. I did my first official 10k with my Hubby this September and enjoyed it a lot as a new experience for me – I’ve realized I can get very stuck in my gym routine, which ultimately fuels my issues with perfectionism (a personal struggle, that I plan to share more on someday), and running is a kind of therapy for me, that helps me break regimes and get out of my comfort (control) zone. Since I’ve started running more regularly, I’ve been able to improve my endurance and really have developed a new love in it.
I have been paying more attention to how I fuel before my runs and at what time of day I feel the best and most energized. I typically like to run in the mornings, not too early, about a couple hours after I get up, as I feel the most full of pep – this doesn’t always work for me during the week but scheduled runs are usually in the morning, so I know on a “race day” breakfast will be my pre-run meal. (side note: I don’t “race”, a lot of the people in these runs are crazy fast and well conditioned runners, so I do these runs to a) break my routine and step out of my comfort zone, as mentioned before …and b) have a fun hobby to enjoy with my hubby!)
So what’s the best way to fuel before a longer run (60-90 minutes in duration)?
Complex carbs coupled with some protein is my go-to, and should be yours too! Having a nice slow-releasing complex carbohydrate like rolled oats, quinoa, or buckwheat is best for long-lasting energy. The protein is important to help keep you feeling comfortably full and satisfied during the duration of the run as well as give your muscles a little love. It’s best to stay away from too much fat pre-run, as fats, although healthy, take longer to break down and can slow you down in your run!
Here are some great pre-run breakfast meals (have at least 90 minutes prior to your run):
If you are just getting out of bed and running out the door for a run then your best bet is a faster releasing carbohydrate with natural sugars and a little protein… so a banana or other fruit and almonds, or a small protein shake with a healthy, natural protein powder, and frozen fruits.
If you run in the evening, after work, or just later in the day, it isn’t likely that breakfast will be your pre-run meal, so you might not be into the “oatmeal and eggs” type foods.
Here are some healthy options for mid-day or evening pre-run meals – the same rules go; complex carbohydrates, protein, and minimal fats! Also… be sure to eat at least 90-minutes before your run!
Strawberry & Kale Slaw Chicken Salad … add some quinoa to this one for the complex carbohydrates!
It’s also a good idea to know about the few foods/drink to avoid before a run too!
Beans // beans, beans, the magical fruit… the more you eat the more you… well, you know – running with a bloated, gassy, crampy tummy is never a fun experience, so staying away from the gas forming foods like beans, other legumes, and cruciferous vegetables is a good idea.
Spicy Foods // again, not so digestive-system-friendly so best to avoid in case you want to risk bookin’ it into the bushes mid-run!
Alcohol // I think this one is pretty self-explanatory!
Wish us luck on our run, it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day …and let’s hope this one has a few less hills than the last one… oh me, oh my!
Nutritionist in the Kitch