Wednesday, 5 October 2016

What I Eat The Night Before A Long Run

Hidy-ho there friendly friends and HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY Thursday!!

And why on Earth am I so happy about this particular Thursday??
Because it is the first day after I have finished ALL of my school based assessments! Yep, my mock exams are over O.V.E.R. and now it is simply the WACE (state exam finals) to go! I can't even believe it!

Any who, I am taking a good solid few days off after these past few weeks of utter studying craziness (do not want to burn out! Must restrain self!) and am mighty, mighty happy about that!

Now, onto the post that was sparked at the end of my long run today (yep, long run Thursday for a change- Saturday's weather forecast wasn't looking too great and I wasn't too keen to do another 2-hour wish session on the treadmill like last weekend!) when my mind flicked back to a post I read on Meredith's blog about what to eat the night before a long run.

I love reading posts like this because in the grand scheme of things my what, 3 years + wish of running is not actually all that long compared to a whole heap of runners out there and I definitely have only dabbled in long runs (previously, before decreasing my mileage significantly for a running break I was up and around 20-22km for my long runs; now I'm working back up and am around 16-18km) and thus I am still in that sort of experimentation phase of figuring out what works best for me performance wise.

When I was doing the longer runs a couple of years back, two dates or two dried figs seemed to work best for me pre-run (at like 4:30am in the morning because I chose to do these runs on school mornings for whatever reason!!) and i could simply pop them in my mouth and head off no trouble at all. This time round I simply can't have anything in the belly prior to a long-run as I just feel sick and feel it all moving around inside my belly with every step. So I do my long runs completely fasted with last nights dinner fuelling the kilometres.

I know a few people would say this is definitely not the best way to train, but for me, it works and it's what works best for you that really matters. Also, as shown above, what works for you at one time might not work for you later on! And that's ok too!!

However, going completely fasted for a long run lasting over an hour, you have to be pretty smart about your pre-run dinner the night before, because not feeding yourself enough to have those glycogen stores on standby in the muscles and liver is going to wreak havoc on your run. Trust me, I've been there.

Again, this is what works best for me the night before a long-run, and like Meredith mentions in her post, some people can tolerate protein, others can't, some need high amounts of fat, some just need straight up carbs, others need only vegetables, whilst some squirm at the idea of consuming any vegetables prior to a long-run because they know it is utterly detrimental to their run. So, this is not a post about what you should eat before a long run, this is a post about what I eat before a long run from my experiences (however small in comparison to seasoned runners) and what works best for my stomach, my energy levels and my overall enjoyment of the long run ahead of me!

Now, because today's long run was such a good one, where I felt energised, my legs felt strong and carried me through and I didn't feel sick or bloated at all, I thought I'd share with you last night's dinner that prepared me for this morning's run:

Funny story with this one actually. Yesterday morning I had done a long ab-sesh with a full Blogilates Ab PIIT workout, followed by multiple ab/ oblique videos, Fitness blenders stability ball ab workout and some cardio and skipping to finish it all off, I was pretty hungry the entire day. So when I poured out some high fibre pasta into a pot, about 20 minutes later when I was about to go cook it up, I knew by the hunger rumbling in my belly and the planned long run ahead of me that I was going to need a little more pasta to power me through- pasta is our friend people!!

So boiled high fibre pasta with steamed broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, spinach and vegan cheese made it (somehow managing to fit!! :P) into my bowl and I devoured the creamy, cheese goodness filled with delicious pasta carbs, green veggies packed with vitamins and cheese, protein packed goodness of homes and nutritional yeast!

As you can see, I am one of those people who can stomach veggies (and quite a lot of them too!) prior to a long run and also a high amount of high fibre (lower GI/ slow release energy) carbohydrates as well. It's also evident that the protein content is a little lighter in this pre-run dinner as it is mainly the carbs and veggies my  body desires to power me efficiently through a big run.

Last weeks pre-long-run dinner was much the same, this time featuring: PIZZA:

Topped with no-added-salt tomato paste, mushrooms, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, black olives, steamed pumpkin and parsnip, home-made pesto all on top of my home-made spelt base- it's once again obvious that those good ol' carbs topped with all the veggies is what powers me through with all the energy and stamina I need for a good run!

Alternatively I find if I don't have a good sized serving of carbs in the form of wheat, rice, spelt etc. then I definitely feel it in my run. Even simply subbing in a whole baked sweet potato for my carb source doesn't quite do it for me and my legs feel tired and heavy and I'm just out of breath and struggling through the run a lot faster than if I had a tummy of pasta, pizza, bread etc. from the night before.

I've read about a lot of runners who are the complete opposite to me- requiring a chicken breast with steamed veg on the side, or perhaps a simply sandwich with peanut butter and jelly instead of any veggies/ meat and that's absolutely fine! Again, for me, it's just a matter of a bunch of carbs, a bunch of veggies, not heaps of protein and a big enough serving size to last me the longer distances!

And post-long run?? That's when I fill up on the protein (and carbs) once again; for example with this morning's post-run green smoothie (and this is only like half of it by the way, the rest did not fit in the jar, so I ate pretty much another jar full from the Vitamin whilst this guy sat patiently in the freezer!! Gotta get that fuel in folks!)

2 large frozen bananas, 1 large handful frozen zucchini chunks, 1 LARGE handful of spinach, about 3/4 cup rolled past soaked in almond milk for around 10 mins, 3 scoops of greek yoghurt, a scoops of vegan vanilla protein powder and water- whizzed up until SMMOOOTHH! So delicious and so quick for your muscles to take up and use- perfect post-workout recovery fuel!!

Or last weeks bright orange turmeric oats in a jar:
Oats, banana, turmeric, cinnamon, almond milk- bubbled away until absorbed, greek yoghurt stirred in at the end, popped in an almost-empty jar of crunchy PB- devoured.

Again, higher protein with a big serving of carbs to replenish all those lost stores from the run! And the awesome anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric taking breakfast to a whole new level! BREAK FAST OF CHAMPIONS!!

Alrighty, so that's a little insight into what powers me through my fasted long runs the night before and maybe it can give you a little inspo to try out some new meals/ methods of feeling up the night before a long run. Even if you're not running first thing in the morning, your meals the day before still play such an important role in how your body will perform on run day/ any workout day- which is why it's so important to continue to properly fuel your bod on rest days even if you aren't doing anything; you're ledgy the next day will thank you for it!

Over to you:
How do you fuel before a big run?
Favourite night-before-a-big-run/workout meal?
Favourite breakfast/ post-workout meal to refuel those muscles??

I hope you all have a splendid day, do something you love, look after your body, listen to your body and you will do great things! And as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

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