I don’t think I need to tell you how proud I am that I accomplished this 9 mile run, by myself, on a treadmill. Seriously, I still wonder if it actually happened!
I never got sore!
Not the next day, not two days later…here we are Friday, a whole FIVE days later and I never experienced any kind of malady from running 9 miles on a treadmill.
- I got plenty of rest the night before.
- I took it slow and steady, with my only goal to complete the 9 miles. This is what a long run should be! It shouldn’t be about how fast you run, but just covering those miles. Speed work is for another day.
- I’ve been running at least once a week since January, slowly increasing my mileage so my body is used to the stress of running.
- The big one: I fueled before, during, and after.
Some runners get upset stomachs from certain foods, some need more water than others and some can run in the morning on empty stomachs (probably not for a long run or a 5+ mile run though).
The key is to play around with it BEFORE race day.
In case you didn’t know, I’m preparing to run my first ever half-marathon on May 5th. I’ve been training since January (some weeks more seriously than others), but I’m excited that I’m now back to my longest running distance since last year! Tomorrow is going to be a 10-miler and that will be a FIRST for me!
What my fueling looked like on Sunday:
I had a full breakfast of whole grains, protein, coffee and a little fruit. There was also some sugar from the syrup.
Carbohydrates are the main and BEST source of fuel for the body and when you eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains, that energy is released more slowly instead of all at once. Sugar, on the other hand is released right away for quick energy.
I also made sure to chug water the night before the run as well as during breakfast. I’ve tried drinking a ton of water RIGHT before a run, but then the water is sloshing around in my belly which is a bit unpleasant.
I always wait at least an hour after a big breakfast before I run. If I’m running early in the morning, I will either get up super early to have enough time to eat, or if it’s a shorter run I might have a Clif Kidz bar 30 minutes before my run.
During the run:
I brought my water bottle and filled it with COLD water when I got to the hotel gym. Cold water seems to be more refreshing on a run, so if it’s possible I take my water chilled.
I also brought a pack of Jelly Belly Sports Beans. The ones I have contain caffeine, sodium, potassium, simple carbohydrates (aka sugar), B vitamins (natural source of energy) and vitamin C (an antioxidant for a total of 100 calories.
The general rule of thumb is that after an hour of exercise, you should be re-fueling with something other than water for your own safety. To replenish sweat lost, you need to have sodium and potassium. It’s also good to refuel your energy with carbohydrates, simple ones if you continue to workout after that hour.
The Jelly Belly Sports Beans pack recommends a full pack before, during and after a workout, but that seems like a lot of sugar to me!
Since I already had a good pre-workout meal, I just decided to work on getting through the whole pack. The thing is, there are probably 15-20 beans in each pack…which is a lot to chew at one time as well as drinking the water that needs to be consumed along with the beans. Plus, the flavor isn’t that of a normal jelly bean and takes some getting used to.
So what did I do?
I decided every 2 miles I would take a walk break, eat 2 Jelly Belly Sports Beans and drink some H2O. This way I would have energy through out my whole run and wouldn’t have to work on chomping on a whole bunch of beans and risk getting sick. When the treadmill re-set itself after 60 minutes, I hopped off an re-filled my water bottle.
The walk break is also great for letting your muscles recoup and walking during long runs is shown to reduce the risk of injury. My friend Andrea whom I might doing my 10 miles with, likes to walk one minute every mile, and that seems to work as well.
There are many other fuel products as well as sports drinks that will have about the same benefit, but for now this seems to be working for me!
I actually had to resist taking the 9 flights of stairs that Dave and I had been taking all weekend because I thought that might be a little much.
I got to the hotel room for some stretching in a protein shake. It’s very important to at least have some carbohydrates after exercise and protein helps to rebuild the muscle as well.
I also asked Dave to order us a sandwich/soup/salad combo so that I would be able to eat after I got out of the shower because I had just burned some 1000 calories and had only made up about 300 of them with the sports beans and protein shake.
I wasn’t even super hungry the next day like I usually am after a long run and I really believe it’s because I made sure to fuel properly before, during and after. I’m not running to lose weight, so pretty much the rule of thumb is to eat enough to make up for the calories I burned during running.
FUEL. Food is FUEL for running. And you NEED fuel for exercise! Remember that!!
Oh and I had an Andes mint because I told myself I would eat it after my run. 😉 It’s such a little thing, but I looked at it for two days every time I saw it, I thought about my 9 mile long run I wanted to do.
I’m off to either jump on the elliptical OR do my long run…I cannot decide whether to do it this evening or in the morning…
How about you? How do you fuel before, during and after workouts?
Also, would you rather run outside in the wind when it is a little warmer or in the cold with no wind?
Disclaimer: The review of the Jelly Belly Sports beans was done on my own with no compensation of any kind and are all my own opinions.