Running On Empty

Running On Empty

Before I write this post, I need to make a little note to self:

YOU HAVE TO EAT BEFORE YOU RUN, YOU BIG DUMB IDIOT.

Cool, I hope it sticks with me now.

The big news this morning was that it was FIFTY-FIVE DEGREES out. 55! Like the speed limit Sammy Hagar can’t drive? It was that, but temperature. It was crazy to experience this after weeks of frigid temps, and I can’t even explain how nice it was to wear one layer on top, one layer on bottom, and no gloves. No gloves! I almost forgot what it was like to be able to feel my fingers.

I felt so good that I barreled down the road on the first mile feeling like an animal that had just been let of its cage at the zoo and was making a beeline for the exit (or a small child to eat). I didn’t even care that I was plowing through puddles and wet dirt that had accumulated on the side of the road. It felt so good to run with less clothes on. Or is it fewer clothes on? More naked.

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I didn’t even care that I had wet shoes. This is not how I’ve gone through life. Maybe I’m finally a real runner.

I went on a 5.5 mile route this morning, as I really need to bump up my mileage, having done a lot of 3 and 4 mile runs lately. Tomorrow and Sunday I’ll go longer. I even saw a deer at one point – not uncommon in the woods of northern Long Island, but cool enough that I appreciate the moments when I see them.

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Unfortunately, I made one very big mistake this morning – one you may have already guessed: I did not eat before my run.

I usually only eat a handful of something before a run: a couple of medjool dates, one or two coconut-covered date rolls, half a banana, a handful of dried fruit. EITHER of those things, not all!

Sometimes on Fridays I don’t do this because I know it’s Bagel Friday at work and I am going to have a bagel and bagels are a lot of calories.

I know this is dumb.

I regretted it this morning when, somewhere in mile 3, I lost steam. I got so tired. I wasn’t having a nice time. I just wanted it over with. I even imagined stopping and calling my dad for a ride. Thankfully it didn’t get to that point, but I did imagine it.

I never used to eat before my runs when I lived in L.A. And do you know what? I was a lot slower and never felt strong or fast during them.

I actually eat MORE now than I did when I was living there, and not only are my runs better, stronger, and faster, but I weigh less. Imagine that.

So I have learned my lesson. FOOD IS GOOD. AND I NEED IT.

And so do you. Eat!

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4 thoughts on “Running On Empty

    1. Yeah it’s such a tricky balance. I’ve experimented with eating different things and amounts before runs — if it’s short then I’ve usually been fine with nothing. But I’m finding 4 or 5 miles or more I need something! I’ve definitely noticed that I feel better and stronger now that I’ve started doing it.

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  1. This is one of those things that I think is different for different people. I generally don’t eat before runs; it gives me a stomachache & cramps and I do just fine on an empty stomach. During marathon training I make it a point to sometimes do long runs in a fasted statein order to help my body learn to rely more on fat & less on glycogen (which made me MUCH better at marathons!). But some people find they really need to eat something or they feel terrible. So I say do what works for you; there’s no hard and fast rule.

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    1. So true – it’s so individualized! There have been times I’ve eaten before a run and I wind up getting a stomach ache too. I can’t eat too much. I wish I could do a long run on an empty stomach! Maybe I’ll try it one day and see how it goes. 🙂

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