Eat this, not that – pre-run fuel edition

Opening scene:
Up early on Saturday.
<checks iPhone weather app>
hmm, 26 degrees right now. A high of 50 later today?
<shakes head>
Mentions to her husband that it’s a little chilly for an 8-mile run, suggest breakfast first instead.
Husband agrees and starts whipping up his wife’s breakfast request: scrambled eggs with a bagel thin toasted on the side
<cue foreshadow-inducing music…>
Wife starts prepping her husbands breakfast request: pancakes on the griddle.
<end scene>

Scene II
Husband and wife try to waste time while digesting breakfast.
Clean the house, change over a few loads of laundry.
Clock is ticking. Maybe 90 minutes pass.
Wife decides: it’s run time.
Husband agrees, they gear up and off they go.
<end scene>

Scene III
Puketastic run ensues.
Wife struggles for every single mile, avoiding the puke-factor as much as she can.
Battling side cramps, pushing down the desire to stop.
Somehow they finish the run.
8, surprisingly speedy, puketastic miles later.
They are done.
Wife thinks: Note to self: scrambled eggs before an 8-mile run is not a good idea.
<end scene>

*****

Yup, that’s how our Saturday morning rundate went, in a nutshell. Let’s just say a very valuable lesson was learned, shall we? And yet another reminder that running is a very humbling experience, no matter how many miles you’ve run (or not), running is a constant learning experience. I dig that. Honestly. Despite the puke-factor on Saturday, I was damn proud that I pushed through and hit my 8-mile goal (sure, I secretly wanted 9 but that’s what next week is for, right?). And to me – a workout that induces pride, shoves a bit of humble pie in your face and keeps you fit? All good in my book.

Which brings me to my one bit of advice for all you runners out there – my “Eat this, Not that” pre-run fuel edition checklist. Enjoy. πŸ˜‰

Eat this, not that – pre-run fuel edition

Eat this:
Oatmeal – any way you like it
Bagel thin or english muffin with peanut butter (and banana)
Banana with peanut or almond butter
Small bowl of cereal with milk and sliced banana (think something not high in fiber to avoid the issue that Sam had the other day…hehe)
Protein pancakes

Not* that
Scrambled eggs
Fried or hard boiled eggs
Anything big on grease – bacon, for example
Protein shake (at least for me, the milk would get to me before a run…)
Beer.

*unless it happens to work for you, then by all means, do it up!

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29 thoughts on “Eat this, not that – pre-run fuel edition

  1. Well done for sticking with your run. I feel your pain my dear…nothing worse than icky food digestion!!! I’ve also had issues with food before Core Fusion…no one needs to be reminded of what was eaten a few hours ago mid-workout…ick! Seriously, running is a good way to become much more in tune with the body…in good ways and bad ways πŸ˜‰

    I’m a huge fan of a banana before working out. I have to eat something or I have no energy…I always wake up hungry. If it’s an extended workout like a really long run I swear by either oatmeal or my new favorite, picky bars.

    • I was so mad at myself that I forced myself to finish all 8 miles despite the pukey feeling. I KNOW better than to go with something heavier like eggs and toast before a run, yet I didn’t listen and went for it anyway. Never, ever, again. haha.

      I need to find those picky bars, they sound like a a perfect nibble before a run!

  2. Haha! I love this. So true, though too. Although I had a fried egg with my bagel thin with PB and was fine. But I probably won’t ‘test’ it again, just in case πŸ˜‰

  3. I’m the odd ball but I CANNOT do banana before a run. Before a regular workout like weights or spin? Sure. Before a run? I will be feeling that thing rising in my belly and battling to come out the whole time.

    My best bet is a hearty slice of bread with some PB and J spread on it plus half a larabar. Perfect every time. Funny how different things work for different people…although the grease should probably be avoided regardless. πŸ˜‰

    • HA! That is so funny about the banana – I love bananas pre-run/pre-workout, so easy on the tummy! But you’re right–any yummy carb (bread, bagel thin, english muffin) works REALLY well with PB before a run, don’t know why I thought veering away with eggs was a good idea.

      And yes, the grease factor should probably always be avoided, good point πŸ˜‰

  4. Ahh I hate when that happens! I used to be able to eat anything before I ran, but now, not so much. I usually have a banana or a Powerbar. There are certain types of “energy bars” that I’ve tried and they hurt my stomach so much. It’s so frustrating to have a run ruined like that. Now, I try to stick with what I know works!

    • It IS so frustrating when a run turns out to be such a struggle because of tummy issues vs. tired legs or something like that. I’m glad you’ve figured out what works for you!

  5. I’m so careful about what I eat before long runs because I HATE the thought of digestive issues during one! I stay away or really low on protein pre-runs because of it, then load up on it post-runs. It’s all about knowing your own body and lots of trial and error.

    • The thing is – I usually don’t eat much of anything before I run, no matter the distance. It’s only recently that I’ve been experimenting with eating at least something before a longer run, trying to figure out what works for me as I get myself ready to start marathon training. I now know: protein beforehand is BAD haha.

  6. I pretty much only eat pb on an english muffin before I do a long run. Otherwise, it’s not good. I once ate vegetarian hot dogs with chili two hours before a 5 miler and was in serious bad shape from it. Who would have thought? πŸ™‚

    • YES – the heavy feeling is something I try so hard to avoid too. That’s why I either go with nothing beforehand (if it’s a shorter run), or something smaller like the banana with pb. It was a totally dumb decision to eat something so heavy before 8 miles on Saturday.

  7. Oh my friend, I’ve SO BEEN THERE.. Unfortunately that stuff seems be to trial and error.. You don’t know it’s not good for you until it’s completely wreaked havoc on your body. You DID it though, you got through it, YOU BEAT THE EGGS! hahahahaha. Nice work πŸ™‚

  8. Yes! I couldn’t agree more. You have to be really careful sometime bc you can end up seeing that fuel again. puketastic — hilarious (but really not I know). Clif Bars seem to just sit in my stomach like a rock. I like the gels.

    Have fun in Cali btw! Very cool:)

  9. Been there before, that’s for sure! I remember when training for the PIttsburgh marathon I ate the same breakfast EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I knew it worked for me and I never had stomach trouble. Needless to say, I haven’t eaten that breakfast since. Lol. πŸ™‚

  10. Isn’t it funny how different foods work – or don’t – for different people? Some people (not me) swear by protein before long runs. Others are all about oatmeal or some other carby option.

    Why can’t all stomachs be the same?? πŸ˜‰

  11. Awe poor thing:-(
    Ya live and ya learn right! I stick to oatmeal b/c it has never done me wrong. I am to the point where I need to also be mindful of what I eat the night before my long runs also. A few weeks ago I had pizza and it was not the healthy kind. Let’s just say my 6 mile run the next morning felt like 12. It sucked!

  12. I eat a 1-2 pieces of bread with peanut butter and banana slices on top before all races and most of my long runs. Once I had a protein shake blended with fruit and milk and it was the WORST stomach issues I’ve had on a run. I mistakenly thought it would be easy to digest since it was liquid..

  13. Good tips—whatever is necessary before a run is worth it to avoid the puke factor! It’s funny you mentioned beer…my boyfriend is a runner, and he has this theory that drinking a guinness after a run helps him to recover faster. Apparently, race horses are given a guinness after they race, so he thinks it will work for him too. I guess there’s no way to tell if it works really, I mean, he keeps getting faster, but he’s also training to get faster—so who knows! Beer before running does sound pretty barf-y though πŸ™‚

  14. I’m glad you wrote this. I have read so many blogs about people having GI issues during a run, but yet talk about how they ate dairy and other heavy foods the night before and before their run. I have also been told to eat 2-3 hours before a long run. I’m usually okay with eating an hour before a short run, but anything longer than 8ish miles and I need to be sure to eat 2-3 hours before.

  15. The thought of eggs before a run just gives me the pukies LOL

    I make my protein shakes with OJ, not milk, but surprisingly have never tried it before a run. Do I dare? LOL

    I like all your “Eat this” tips though. I tend to stick to the same thing all the time, I should try oatmeal or cereal!

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