On why chips are not the best pre long run dinner

So for a long time now I have my long run on a Sunday morning, before breakfast. I know some people like to eat before they run, and I used to (unless it was 3 miles), but I really hate the feeling of food in my stomach as I run, and so I gradually started running a little further before breakfast.  When marathon training I got up to around 15 miles before I started eating before, and this was mainly to practise for race day.

I do have a few meals that I find work well for my Saturday evening meal- I have found that pasta is not the best (possibly too little protein when I have it), but sharing a pizza with a salad, or if we are away somewhere having a big salad works well for me. Sometimes we have had a veggie burger with salad (and avocado if we have one at home) and that has been fine too.

On Saturday we ended up having takeaway chips- we hardly ever have any sort of takeaway (I am not keen on Chinese or Indian, or anything spicy like that, and although pizza is OK, I prefer the thin based ones which the takeaways don’t tend to have). I didn’t really think about what I had eaten, but then I am not really following a training plan, and was just going to run as far as I felt like in the morning.

I did think it was going to be raining, but in fact it was frosty (really slippery pavements in places)- along here I had to run on the grass as the path was really icy. I was feeling fairly tired and after about 4 miles I started to feel very hungry and thirsty, which is not like me. Probably the chips were saltier than food I usually have, and of course no protein (because I refuse to even look at the pickled eggs, not sure who on earth would ever eat one of those).

I thought about heading home to make it 8 miles, but then I felt OK, and it wasn’t raining, so I carried on. I reasoned that next weekend I would rather have a cut back week, because the following week at work is very busy, and if I didn’t run so far this week I would feel like I should run further next weekend. It made sense in my mind.

I ran to Panshanger park again, and this time wandered around the fields for a bit (I was going to run across to the bottom of the hill, but there were some massive dogs running freely in the field, so I took a detour into the Dragonfly Trail to avoid them).

The water was still frozen solid.

I wandered about looking at the new signs that were up since I had last run through the valley, and then ran out to the farmhouse (dogs in the distance) and back.

I admired the cycle rack (Panshanger’s second birthday present) before heading back the way I had come.

I saw a fox crossing the road ahead of my on my way back- it was huge! The frost had all melted and it was getting much more mild which slowed me down a bit.

If I had totally re-traced my steps it would have been 12 miles, but in the end I took a slight short cut back home again, so I did something like 11.3 miles. I’m not going for a specific time in the Brighton half this year (not like my sub 2 hours last year) but I know that if I don’t keep the long runs fairly long I will mentally struggle a bit after around 9 miles. I’m happy with that distance today, but in training over the next couple of weeks I will go a bit longer (although probably not the 15 that I did last year in training).

I was so thirsty and hungry when I got home- I got some grapes out and ate those while I was waiting for the electrolyte tab to fizz away in my water.  After a shower I felt better, and had breakfast plus a massive mug of tea- the caffeine seems to help after a long run (does it help the sugar get into your blood stream faster maybe?). Anyway, lesson learned! No chips before a long run.

The rest of Sunday was spent doing a few jobs (sorting my tyre pressure, buying ingredients for cooking at work, sorting some clothes for the charity shop) and some nicer things (making peanut butter crispy squares for work- from the Pip and Nut book), catching up on a bit of TV.

Do you eat before a run or not?

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