Fueling the Machine! Yes, you are the Machine!
I like to read about many aspects of running and fitness, just as I hope you do (thanks in advance for reading :)). It can be very difficult with the mass of different theories out there. Should we stretch or not stretch? What type of shoes should we wear or not wear any at all? When a theory comes out, I almost always apply to myself. I love experimenting and what better lab than my own body.
My latest experiment was on whether or not eating before a run helps or hinders your run.
I decided to try this out on my 05:30 morning workout of 4 mile repeats. I woke up, had a cup of straight black coffee, and headed out the door. After my warmup of a mile and some dynamic stretching, I was feeling great. There was nothing digesting in my stomach and there was no competition for bloodflow between my intestines and my muscles.
My first mile was fast and done. On the second mile, I was still going strong, thinking this may be a way to share with all of you on how to avoid that feeling of running on a full, bloated stomach. The third mile started fine and suddenly, I felt like I hit the wall. I struggled to finish out the mile. I was so hungry that my stomach was growling. And I still had another mile repeat to complete.
When the workout was over, my appetite had subsided. I grabbed some easy carbs of whole wheat pita with peanut butter for the oil and small bit of protein (plus being American, I loooooove peanut butter!! :).
Here is the important part of my experiment-the rest of the day, I was hungry and found myself continually looking for food. I had put myself into an energy debt, which sent a signal to my brain that I needed fuel all day long. I ended up eating more calories that day than I would have if I had just eaten some breakfast.
The adage , “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, may hold some truth for you too. Try this for yourself one day and see if you find the same results. Just remember to prep and have handy, healthy snacks ready in case you too find yourself as hungry as I did.
Enjoy a fueled run!