I am a runner. It has taken me a long time to really say that and mean it. I used to duck around the label and dream of when I would actually confidently use it to refer to myself. Well, it has taken 8+ years of steady running, countless 10k races and 6 half marathons…but yeah, I’m a runner.
One thing that I have struggled with more than anything with my running is figuring out what to eat before and after a run. My very favourite time to run is first thing in the morning. I have a lot less food problems first thing. I find that I can eat a small bowl of Shreddies, or ¾ cup of Greek yogurt with ¼ cup of granola and I am good to go. If it is really early, like pre 6am early, I can even have half a glass of orange juice and a banana and make it through my run.
During my long runs (longer than 10km) I need to have water with me, and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. I love those things! They taste yummy (lemon/lime is my favourite) and if I have 2 beans every 4km I can keep going for just about ever. I wash them down with a swig of water and I stay happy and hydrated.
After the run is where I seem to run into problems. If it is less than 10 km I am pretty good no matter what. A big glass of water and a banana and I am good to carry on with my day. Any further than that and things start to go downhill. And by downhill I mean lying on the floor, nauseous, exhausted, not even able to eat anything. I have tried over the years to figure out what to eat for me, that will help me to recover in the most efficient and healthy ways. Let me start by saying that I have read a lot of articles that suggest I prepare a grilled chicken and quinoa salad and stuff like that for post-run recovery food. I don’t know about you, but after a 16 km run, the last thing I have the energy to do is to start preparing food. I need sustenance now or that kitchen tile starts to look really comfy.
The best drink for me post-run is chocolate milk. It tastes delicious and is nice and cold and full of all the good things that my body needs to get back into gear. I try to have some in the house when I am training. At the same time, I have two kids who assume all chocolate milk is solely for their enjoyment so it is hard to keep stocked for when I need it most. I also always try to have a banana, as it is super-fast and easy, no prep required, just peel and eat and get lots of great nutrients back into my blood stream.
A toasted bagel with peanut butter gets some protein into me quickly, no cooking required. I can usually find the energy to toast a bagel while I drink my chocolate milk. In our house, we usually have about three times the normal amount of Greek yogurt in our fridge, and that is another tasty way to get some protein back into my system. I am still trying to figure this post-long-run recovery food thing out…I have only ended up on the kitchen floor once this season, so I am getting better at it. I am currently training for the National Capital Half Marathon on May 25…look for me at the finish line, eating a banana while balancing a bagel and yogurt and bottle of water in my arms…