Understanding what your body needs, food-wise, before and during a run, is an important formula to work out. Everyone is different, but once you get it figured out, stick with it!
3 weeks ago, we returned from hot & humid Ontario to dry and cool Alberta. Phew! The day we returned, I had a wonderful 3k (1.9 mile) run and easily maintained the higher pace required for this short distance. It felt great not to feel this wall of humidity as I ran, slowing me down.
I weighed myself (yes, the dreaded post-vacation weigh-in) and found myself at 149 lbs! YIKES! Especially since I was 140 before we left. I had a very sweaty sleep and, sorry if TMI, got up to pee a LOT. I weighed myself this morning at 144. Something to do with water retention in humid climes? Anyway, I didn’t think much of it.
The day after we got back, I set out on my longest distance to date, 20k (12.4 miles). I let myself (and wonderfully supportive, but light-sleeping husband) sleep in. I had a peanut butter & jam sandwich for breakfast (my son wanted one, so I thought I’d have one too!), a tall glass of plain water to wash down my 30 energy bits, and another tall glass of nuun. I packed another 10 energy bits and a gel. On my last two 18k (11 mile) runs, all I ate was a piece of toast, same amount of water, 30 energy bits, carrying 8 oz of water.
9.5 km (5.9 miles) into this 20k run, I was feeling very tired. I took my 10 remaining energy bits, drank almost 4 oz of nuun water. At the 13 km (8 mile) mark, I detoured to the park’s pavillion to fill up my water. I filled my bottle, drank a lot from the fountain and ate the entire packet of gel.
I got back on the trail, still managing my pace and still doing 10 and 1’s. I hit my 20k distance a bit far from home (maybe because of my detour). I walked 1.75k (just over 1 mile) home very slowly. I was tempted to call my husband to pick me up, but I made it on my own.
I immediately flopped on the couch at home, feeling pretty uncomfortable. I pulled myself up to shower, but was feeling very dizzy and nauseous. I cut my shower short and got into bed to avoid passing out. I ended up in bed for nearly 2 hours, dozing in and out. I finally got out of bed and got myself some nuun, nearly passing out again. Sat down, drank half the water, then managed to get up again to grab some spiderman gummy snacks (which are meant for my son’s lunches!) and some sweet chili triscuits (yum!). After eating a whole pack of spiderman gummies and maybe 20 mini crackers, the rest of the nuun, I felt much better. I was blown away at how ill I felt, considering I had done fine with less fuel only 2k shorter distance. I suspect I was pretty dehydrated considering my sweaty sleep that night and all the peeing previously mentioned.
I believe they call this “bonking”!
Next time, more energy bits, more gel, more water!
My next 20k run was 2 weeks ago. I was hyper-sensitive to what I should bring along and what to eat before the run. It seems a lot of people can run on a lot less fuel, but I guess I’m not a lot of people! Everyone’s different.
I went out and got a new hydration belt, a CamelBak Delaney, which comes with a 21 oz. bottle (a step up from my singlar 8 oz!). It also has a roomy pouch to keep my phone and lots of snacks! In addition, I purchased some Gu Chomps in Strawberry and Peach Iced Tea. The reasoning for my move from gel to gummies came from a book. I had read about a runner who pinned a bag of jelly beans to himself and allowed himself to have one at each mile. Gu Chomps come in packs of 8… so that is one for every km after 10k, which lasts me to the 18th kilometer, in which case I can have a gel or other candy if needed. It sounded like a great plan to me!
Pre-run, I had a bowl of Kashi cereal and 2 pieces of toast with marmalade. I also had 2 cups of water and loaded up my 21 oz. camelbak with nuun.
End result: fantastic run! I didn’t feel tired at all and the chomps at every kilometer after 10k was a great motivator! I brought a gel and took it at the 18th km. This was a bad idea… About 1 km to go and I felt it coming back up, I probably could have done without it, or maybe some pretzels to balance the sweets.