Rethinking the Pre-Run Meal

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I’ve mentioned on here that I usually try to eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning before long runs and races. My reasoning behind oatmeal was that it’s soft and mushy, all ready for my stomach to digest it without much effort. But for the past two weekends I have not been able to get that bowl of oatmeal in me. It’s not that I was having problems with it not settling during my run, it’s that it seemed wholly unappetizing to me at that time. Both times I made the oatmeal, took a few bites and then tossed it down the disposal. (And I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast every other morning too, so it’s not that I suddenly have a prejudice against oatmeal.)

Rachel from FitnessForMommies commented that she never eats anything before races and referred me to Hammer Nutrition’s site for some of the logic behind her choice. While on the site I read the article: The Pre-Race Meal. This article stresses the fact that you should eat three hours before your race/long run. If you don’t have time to eat a full three hours prior, then SLEEP is a higher priority and your muscle glycogen stores will be fine if you’ve been practicing good nutrition in your day-to-day life and as long as you start refueling about 10-20 minutes into the effort.

With my recent first order for Hammer products, I received a free DVD called ‘Endurance Nutrition‘. The DVD also re-iterates this fact (and I was slothful and didn’t watch the DVD until AFTER I started perusing Hammer’s articles), sleep is more important to your performance than getting up super-early to eat.

This is a fascinating area for me, one that I’m interested in exploring. I know I need to do better at fueling myself all the time for optimal performance, but it’s something I struggle with every single day. I’m not quite sure if it would be wise to start testing this new fueling strategy tomorrow morning before my long run. Probably not. But I’m also pretty sure that a bowl of oatmeal will not be going down the hatch either.

So I’m interested in hearing about your fueling strategies. What do you eat before a race/long run? How long before you start do you eat this? What is your fueling strategy during a run? What do you consume and at what frequency?

I know everybody is different and has to find what works for them. But we can pick up information from our peers and adopt it to meet our needs, right?


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