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Timing of meals (Read 890 times)

    This has been a segued topic of discussion elsewhere, but it's something I consistently have a hard time figuring out. Specifically, running on average 8 miles per day -- I have difficulty in getting enough quality carbs during the day, in such a way that it digests well and leaves me ample energy for the next effort. I do the whole thing of downing a pint of milk after runs, but even still -- grains, in particular the whole-grains, have a tendency to stick in my stomach during the day whilst I am doing other activities.

     

    I am on my feet for much of the day most days, which doesn't agitate the stomach as much as running, but even having a bowl of oats and a bagel can make it unpleasant / make me not want to move around as much. Ideally I'd want high-energy / low stomach volume in what I eat, which is where fats can be utilized, but here is what happens if I skimp on carbs: I'll have a poor workout at some point in the week where I have no energy, which will usually be followed by a night where I eat a large quantity of grains to "recharge" what didn't get replaced during the week. When this happens, I usually won't be able to run in the morning due to digestion issues, so it'll get pushed back to the afternoon. For the next six days I'll have plenty of energy/glycogen and will do fine. Then I'll crash, and the cycle repeats the next week. 

     

    I wouldn't worry about this as much -- if not for two factors. One: I think I'm not getting the full potential of the daily runs as a result of this. Two: running long distances on low glycogen is an invitation for injury. To make it even more difficult... I'll be at university soon, but I still live with my parents, who have a habit of eating dinner - their largest meal of the day - at 7 or even 8 PM. This is a problem because I'm usually running by 6 AM, due to the daytime heat here in Australia. Late-night, slow-digesting meals are out of the question. 

     

    Could be over-thinking it a bit, but I'm just trying to fit running into a lifestyle somewhat compatible with the rest of the human race follows. I've even thought about beer (liquid bread?), but something tells me that isn't the solution either... 

      I dunno. I run more than 8 miles a day and I basically don't think about what I eat, so I'd say its very possible for a runner to have eating habits that are compatible with the rest of the human race. I'm surprised a meal at 7 or 8pm affects a run at 6am that much for you.

      Runners run.


      Feeling the growl again

        You won't have anything in your stomach by morningtime from dinner the day before, so your digestive issues must be something else.  Perhaps it is TMI but without some sort of clarification it is hard to know what your issue is.

         

        Your "low glycogen is an invitation for injury" comment is curious; running on low glycogen is not going to predispose you to some sort of injury.  Feeling like hell or low on energy, perhaps.  Increased recovery time, perhaps.  But not injury.  And, unless you are regularly doing long runs, normal length runs...say an hour...will only be affected by making you run slower if you are chronically low on glycogen.  

         

        Within reason, what you eat is not going to affect your glycogen levels a lot as long as you are getting in enough calories.  Your body can turn most fuels into glycogen....after workouts if your glycogen is low it may even take body fat to restore glycogen stores.  So you don't need to over-complicate things being fixated on carb intake.  Runners don't need some huge carb intake to support normal levels of running.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         


          Could be over-thinking it a bit, but I'm just trying to fit running into a lifestyle somewhat compatible with the rest of the human race follows. I've even thought about beer (liquid bread?), but something tells me that isn't the solution either... 

           Beer is always the answer.

           

          Pretty sure you train your body to make do with it has available for fuel. I run at the ass crack of dawn without fueling, worked for the last 10+ years.


          A Saucy Wench

            grains arent the only sources of carbohydrates.  If your body doesnt like grains, find a different source.

             

            My guess is if you slowed your runs down a bit you wouldnt notice carb dependency quite so much. 

             

            Are you sure the good runs are due to "recharging" on grains or are they because the grains "force" you to take a morning off.  Are you sure the bad runs are due to glycogen depletion or just maybe you are due for a rest/recovery day. 

             

            If it really is because of the recharge/depletion cycle then perhaps quit the recharge cycle.  Your body WILL adapt to running on a lower level of carbohydrates given enough time .

             

            And finally, if you are old enough to be at university soon then you are old enough to cook your own meals and not wait for your parents to eat dinner. 

            I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

             

            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

            ERG


              It seems like you are the perfect candidate for more simple sugar in your diet. 

               

              By replacing your carbs while running (gels or energy replacement drink) or directly afterwards with something else that is low-bulk and high calorie, you should be able to have the power you need for good performance. Also, by replacing with simple carbs right away, your body will not be craving them so much later in the day.  For example, the Kenyans fuel themselves on a diet high in tea with milk with sugar. Article here.

               

              Not that I am an expert, but that has been my experience. Best of luck in finding the solution!

                It seems like you are the perfect candidate for more simple sugar in your diet. 

                 

                By replacing your carbs while running (gels or energy replacement drink) or directly afterwards with something else that is low-bulk and high calorie, you should be able to have the power you need for good performance. Also, by replacing with simple carbs right away, your body will not be craving them so much later in the day.  For example, the Kenyans fuel themselves on a diet high in tea with milk with sugar. Article here.

                 

                Not that I am an expert, but that has been my experience. Best of luck in finding the solution!

                +1.  Why not try honey?  No bulk, high sugar content, high minerals/vitamins...and sweet.  Unless of course you have a stomach problem with honey.

                 

                Also, what's this "whole thing about downing a pint of milk after runs..."?  Do you crave milk (I've noticed, if I do speed training, I seem to crave milk)?  Do you have a trouble AFTER gobbling down lots of milk?  We found out our daughter is lactose-intolerance after all these years we kept telling her it's good, and important, to drink lots of milk!  Come to think of it, she always had some trouble after drinking lots of milk...

                 

                It seems that you're thinking too much based on bits and pieces of information without quite going down deeply into the subject.  Read what Spaniel said--mechanism of fat and carb and glycogen.  Also what Ennay said--she's very smart and logical.  You seem to be trying to suit your lifestyle based on what you've read; but the truth is; our body really adapts to whatever it is put under and function just fine.  If your body is not quite adapting to the situation, the issue is most probably somewhere else.  I don't think eating your "tea" at 8 would likely cause any problem, or at least I don't think it should.

                  I'm surprised a meal at 7 or 8pm affects a run at 6am that much for you.

                   

                  Yeah -- oddly enough, it's only the high-fibrous stuff that causes issue....usually around mile 4 I get the warning signs. I sort of pre-empt it now by

                  eating very light, and low-fiber meals later in the day...also I don't eat anything solid after 6 PM. To clarify, the problem mainly isn't crapping myself, it's the feeling of having anything significant still hanging around in my digestive tract while running. I can live with it, but I certainly don't enjoy it.

                   

                  Your "low glycogen is an invitation for injury" comment is curious; running on low glycogen is not going to predispose you to some sort of injury. Feeling like hell or low on energy, perhaps. Increased recovery time, perhaps. But not injury. And, unless you are regularly doing long runs, normal length runs...say an hour...will only be affected by making you run slower if you are chronically low on glycogen.

                   

                  Interesting. I have some sort of strain right now (actually cross-training through it) and while I guess I can't attribute it directly to glycogen debt, it was directly preceded by a couple runs on which I felt very low on energy. I guess LSD long-slow-distance is mostly what I should be doing anyway at this point, so perhaps the speed issue doesn't matter. As long as I can still haul on the days I want to. 

                   

                  And finally, if you are old enough to be at university soon then you are old enough to cook your own meals and not wait for your parents to eat dinner.

                   

                  It's mainly out of concern for the family dynamic. They think I am from another planet, what with going to bed by 8 and getting up at 5, heh heh...

                   

                  Do you crave milk (I've noticed, if I do speed training, I seem to crave milk)?

                   

                  Yeah, it's usually the more high-intensity work -- the stuff that leaves me shaky -- that makes me crave milk / simple sugar. A regular hour run at a comfortable pace, not so much. Since the latter is what is more important for me anyway right now, I guess I should at most only need milk or something similar once a week. But on the days I really haul ass, yes, it feels necessary. 

                   

                  In any event, I'm sorta figuring all of this out on my own, even as I'm seeking help both on the Internet and from coaches / trainers IRL. The opinions and information, I've found, are so vast and varied that it seems impossible to get a definitive answer, let alone one answer that is "right". I'm sure that  with some time I'll find a fairly stable formula that works for me. Thanks to all for the help! 

                  Julia1971


                    I'm not a doctor and know very little about the disease - I've just know people who have it - but if the symptoms seem mostly tied to grains, I wonder if you could have celiac.  Do you know if anyone in your family has it?  Might be worth laying off the grains, if they seem to be the problem, for a while and seeing if you feel better.

                    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

                      OK, I just did a workout on top of a med-sized breakfast without any issues...so I'm guessing my system is more robust than I had thought. It wasn't as comfortable as it could've been, but I had more energy than the mornings in which I've gone unfed. It'll take some experimenting. 

                        OK, I just did a workout on top of a med-sized breakfast without any issues...so I'm guessing my system is more robust than I had thought. It wasn't as comfortable as it could've been, but I had more energy than the mornings in which I've gone unfed. It'll take some experimenting. 

                         

                        Glad you had a good workout. I think with consistency, your system will continue to get more robust.

                         

                        Gotta say, though, that in my case, anyway, there's a lot of randomness to my energy levels.  Most times, I can't point to a reason that I'm energetic or conversely, sluggish on a given morning.  I just try to eat and work out in ways that are healthful in the long term, keeping in mind that the quality of a given run will vary due to a mix of factors, some of which I can identify, and some of which are out of my control.

                        Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                        JoAnne Narayan


                          Hi,

                          Thanks a lot for sharing this post. I believe eating meals on time is a good idea. To remain fit and maintain a healthy life, we must have meals on time. If the timing is not followed properly,then it will affect our body. Hence, make a proper diet plan and also give importance to the timing of the meal.