How I am Combating My Running Fuel Problems

Yesterday I wrote about my on-going struggle with properly fueling with food before a run.

Ali ( from Hit the Ground Running) left a comment that got me to really think about WHY this is a reoccurring issue for me.

I think there are three main reasons:

  • I worry about having to go to the bathroom during a run
  • There is “no time” to eat before my evening runs
  • I believe deep down that I don’t need to eat before a run

The Problem: Needing to use a bathroom.

There are plenty of places to stop along my normal route to use a bathroom so this is such a silly worry. I just get really annoyed when I have to stop in the middle of a run to go. Plus, most of the places along my run are establishments where I have to buy something to gain access. Sometimes I forget my debit card/cash and that complicates things.

The Fix: I will start keeping cash in my Flipbelt (I wear it on every run). When I use it up, I will simply have to make it a habit to replace it. By keeping cash in there all the time I won’t have to worry about remembering my debit card.

flipbelt

If you haven’t heard of Flipbelt, check it out. I seriously LOVE it.

I wear it on all of my runs of 10 miles or less. (On longer runs I use a belt that can carry water bottles).

The Problem: Not having time to eat.

My favorite time to get in my daily runs is right when I get home from work. I’m not a morning person at all so running before work just is never going to happen. Running after work is a great stress reliever for me and it also helps me make the transition from my “work brain” to my “home brain.”

I always run before doing any night time errands. I sometimes feel like I need to just get out the door right away so that I have time to get everything else done afterwards.

The Fix: It’s just silly to think there is no time to eat. I just need to have small snacks ready to go. My weeknight runs are always 6 miles or less so I really just need something small like a banana or trail mix ready to grab and go. I can snack quickly while I’m changing into my running clothes and still be out the door in basically the same amount of time.

banana

The Problem: Believing that I don’t need to eat.

As some of you already know, I struggled with disordered eating for a long time. It’s been over two years since I first met with a therapist and actively began recovery… but it is a never ending process.

Sometimes, old thought patterns crop up and present themselves to me as perfectly normal. I guess this is one of them.

The Fix: Now that I am conscious of this being a problem, I can properly address it by reminding myself that without fueling right I will not only get a crappy workout in but that there are real dangers – like blacking out/fainting/losing periods of time. None of those things are things I want to experience these days. Especially when I am out on a run alone.

Plus, I will remind myself that fueling in general is so important for healthy brain functions. It makes me so sad when I have zero recollection of something that happened in the past that I really should remember – like going to a Justin Timberlake concert with my best friend when we first moved to Miami. Let’s just say that my brain was not shooting on all cylinders at that time.

Thank you to Ali for making me really think about all of these things and come up with fixes.

These certainly aren’t earth shattering fixes or revelations, but hopefully they will help me on my journey to become a better runner. And maybe, if you struggle with the same things, they will help you too.

What do you carry with you during a run? 

– Phone, cash/debit card, earbuds, key, TP and sometimes Twizzlers

9 comments

  1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    If I’m going on a run that’s not in my neighborhood I ALWAYS bring TP! If not, I will surely have to go!
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Weekend Wrap Up – Dang, I’m getting lazy…My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Exactly! It is SUCH a necessity just in case!

  2. Ali K. @ Hit the Ground Running

    I’m impressed with your introspection and really nailing down why fueling has been an issue. I know when you start following your own advice, you’re going to kick even more butt than usual!
    Ali K. @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…2013 in ReviewMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      THANK YOU for making me think about the why on more than just the surface level! What would I do without you?! 🙂

  3. Sanaz@ Run for Cake

    I was reading this post wondering if I wrote it! I too always think I don’t need to eat but I really see a big difference when I am properly fueled. I think you should experiment with some snacks that don’t hurt your tummy or adversely effect your running. A slice of bread with almond butter with a mini banana work best for me. Try this and let me know! 🙂
    Sanaz@ Run for Cake recently posted…Ending the year rightMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Yes, exactly. I can slog through a run but if I don’t eat it’s unnecessarily painful! I used to always do toast with PB before a run. I’m not entirely sure why I got away from it. I think I’ll try that again!

  4. Lou @ Running Through China

    Another great post Kristina, thank you. I reckon there are a lot of us out there who struggle with optimal fuelling during runs. I am crap at fuelling properly before a run usually, as am worried about heartburn and reflux and feeling sick if I eat too close to a run – think maybe anywhere within 3 hours hey. I may give your banana suggestion a go though, as I know I need to probably have something before a full marathon, and not just the night before and then during (in the form of drinks and sweets) as I have done for every race in the past.
    Those belts look great too!
    I don’t carry too much on a run – sometimes nothing at all, but lately have been carrying/wearing a bright white small backpack so I can be seen a bit better in the dark.
    Thank Kristina!

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I love taking Twizzlers on a run (yum), but I do want to try bringing other things this year. I read Scott Jurek’s book “eat and run” which had a lot of great ideas for “real food” that you can eat on the go. You should check it out if you’re looking for a new book!

  5. Annie Crow

    Hah, I struggle with eating enough before my long runs and during them too, for a number of reasons. I’m making it a priority this year to really work on this, especially as I want to move into ultras. Thanks for writing about this.
    Annie Crow recently posted…Odds and Ends, AgainMy Profile

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