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Pre-Run Fuel and Early Run Issues (Read 827 times)

    About a year and a half ago, I began experimenting with my "pre-long run/race" meal. I found then that a simple bowl of plain oatmeal with honey and a cup of coffee seemed to work well. I've followed this meal since then.

     

    However, about a month ago, I followed my routine meal (about an hour pre-run). On this particular day, I was running with my wife and a friend of hers. They run a considerably slower easy pace than myself - point is, I wasn't pushing it, maybe 9:15/miles to start.

     

    A little over a mile in, I began to feel very odd, lacking energy, a bit light-headed, and a slight blurriness to my vision. We stopped at a park rest room where I splashed some water on my face, and took a GU. As I returned to the girls, my wife noted I looked pale, but I felt good enough to continue hoping it would subside. About two minutes later it did. I was feeling far better - continued the run and finished all 11 miles without incident or issue.

     

    The following week, the same thing, took a GU, again only a mile and a half or so in, and by the next mile, felt perfectly fine. The same thing the next week, and this past weekend as well.

     

    Now, all of my weekday running I will have a sip of coffee to get my system working, but I do not eat anything and never experience this.

     

    Obviously the GU seems to help, but I'm wondering whats causing the "weirdness."

     

    Anyone else encounter similar feeling or have some pointers?


    Don't overstride!

      I read that when you eat simple sugars within a few hours of running will spike your blood sugar and this increases the bodies useage of glycogen stores and hinders the bodies fat burning. That plus the fact that you were out for a longer duration due to the slower pace probably increased the chances of Bonking. I have been experimenting with products that don't spike the blood sugar before my long runs for this reason.

        I've been finding the same but not always on the long runs, I was wondering if hydration was a factor or not, trying to experiment this currently.

        Alan

         

        2012 Targets:

        1:30hrs Continuous running

        17.5km in 1:30hr

        Half Marathon < 1:50 (PB 1:50:35 - 26/08/12 Pewsey)

        10k < 50mins (PB 45:09 - 15/07/12 West Tytherley 10k)

        5k < 24mins (PB 22:08 - 16/06/12 Andover Park Run 5km)

        Average Weekly Pace < 8min/mile (Current Best 8:02)

          Eating an hour before the run is too close to the start of the run to be ideal. But you're used to that based on a year and a half, so we can't make much to do over it.

           

          Seems more like you're just taking your time warming up for the run. Most people would describe the first 20 minutes of their run as the worst part. It often feels very good to ease up, stop, or do something else 10 minutes in before you get going again. The Gu distraction might just be a a quirky way for you to get through the period where you are warming up.

           

          Every day is different than the previous for infinite reasons. Hard to think your strategy for a year and a half would suddenly sour, though it could certainly get too boring to want to stick with.

            A little over a mile in, I began to feel very odd, lacking energy, a bit light-headed, and a slight blurriness to my vision. We stopped at a park rest room where I splashed some water on my face, and took a GU. As I returned to the girls, my wife noted I looked pale, but I felt good enough to continue hoping it would subside. About two minutes later it did. I was feeling far better - continued the run and finished all 11 miles without incident or issue.

            This just reminded me that I had a similar issue cropping up a year or so ago.  About 2 miles into my runs, I'd feel shaky.  I don't think my HR was abnormally elevated, though -- just a general disorienting shakiness and weird feeling.  I'd stop and wait it out, usually a handful of minutes, then resume the run without further trouble.  It didn't really correlate with anything -- food, no food -- except perhaps pre-run caffeine.  But even that wasn't a strong correlation.  Eventually, it just happened less frequently and finally just resolved itself.  That's no help, huh?

            Smile

             

            But if I'd been carrying a gel and had taken it during the stops, I'd probably have thought the gel was positively impacting the weirdness.  It may not be.

            “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

              But if I'd been carrying a gel and had taken it during the stops, I'd probably have thought the gel was positively impacting the weirdness.  It may not be.

               

              I've been wondering if this was the case. The short rest seems to bring the most relief from these strange symptoms. This Saturday I may just skip the pre-run meal - I've become so accustomed to going without food before my weekday runs we'll see how I do on a longer run, taking some food along the way.

               

              I just can't imagine skipping an early meal before a race. Perhaps xeno is right and I should try eating earlier before the run, maybe it's time start finding a new routine altogether.

               

              If this continues I'm considering a visit to my sports doc. Symptoms do match that of low blood sugar (though if this were the case, skipping pre-run food wouldn't seem to make sense). I have no history of issues with that, and while I admit I've looked at webmd, I'll always leave the diagnosis to the medical professionals.

               

              mta: further thoughts.

                The timing of when you eat and drink plays a vital role in how well you're going to run. An hour after eating is at about the same time the food is actually making its way near places of real digestion. It begins to draw blood for help processing everything. Many working class 9-5 zombies are familiar with the post-lunch crash they get around 2pm that makes them want to have a closed door meeting so they can enter a coma. By running an hour after eating you're trying to exercise at the same time your body is about move much of its energy towards your internal organs. And it takes about an hour for liquid to get through your kidneys and into the toilet, so that might make things awkward at times, too. Waking up early enough to eat way beforehand is annoying, so eating a small breakfast (which it sounds like you do) is a good compromise, but I wouldn't count on feeling like a million bucks at the start of your run.

                 

                I recommend using caffeine only when it really matters and not in excess. It can mess with your heart rate and its performance enhancing abilities are more potent when saved for races.


                HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                  The timing of when you eat and drink plays a vital role in how well you're going to run. An hour after eating is at about the same time the food is actually making its way near places of real digestion. It begins to draw blood for help processing everything. Many working class 9-5 zombies are familiar with the post-lunch crash they get around 2pm that makes them want to have a closed door meeting so they can enter a coma. By running an hour after eating you're trying to exercise at the same time your body is about move much of its energy towards your internal organs. And it takes about an hour for liquid to get through your kidneys and into the toilet, so that might make things awkward at times, too. ...

                   

                  So the moral is to get up and run immediately after the meal, to get through it before that digestive crash?

                  It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                    FWIW I find that it doesn't really matter for shorter runs, say up to an hour. But I have noticed that if I run for a couple of hours before eating then I can feel a bit lacking in energy.

                     

                    I find that 90 mins between eating and running is fine - although I guess it depends a bit on what you eat - on long run days I normally have oatmeal or muesli + fruit, with OJ and coffee; wait 90-120 mins then go for my run.