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I am a newbie and do 3 miles 3x week hoping to do more as it gets cooler, Central FL is rough with the humidity even though it's feels good to sweat, I run about 6:15 am and not much for eating that early is there something very light I can eat before my run that won't bog me down, I feel like I run out of fuel half way into it and have to walk to catch my spark again, I was wondering about the Gel packs? or if someone can advise, at the most I do a half a banana.
I like to eat a Specail K protein meal bar two hours before a run or race. It's light, tasty (like a rice crispie treat), and has never caused me any woes on a run. I add a half a scoop of Gatorade to my water bottle, and at mile 8 consume one Gel - mandarin orange is my favorite.
Hope that helps!
Granola is good, along with light fruit, yogurt, or maybe a handful of trail mix. You should not need a gel pack for shorter routes, but 1/2 of a cliff bar might be okay or possibly oatmeal with raisins, for example. 1/2 a bagel with almond butter and honey is another option that sometimes works great or a quick blueberry smoothie.
Basically, it is best to experiment with some options to see what combines the best for you. I tried many different things that typically caused digestive problems, so it may take some time to find the right combination for your personal circumstances.
Some of the most popular performance products marketed to runners have too much sugar, outlandish carbs and other additives/stimulants that might cause side-effects, so it is important to carefully research and read the labels. I would say the natural options are better than any of the refined/easy solutions.
If you can combine complex carbs with high quality protein, they work better together. (Much the same as taking Vitamins C & E together because they compliment the body's efforts).
Best wishes for many healthy miles!
For three miles you shouldn't be running out of fuel unless you were fasting for the entire day before. Any chance you are simply running too fast for your current condition and you are tired?
I agree that for a 3 mile run you shouldn't need to eat first, but that being said Gatorade (6-8 oz) or lowfat chocolate milk(4-6 oz) work well for me. Drink it about 20 - 30 minutes before you run ideally. They will both assimilate quickly and not cause cramps. The sugar should give you a nice boost.
Gatorade will be just fine. So would plain water. For three miles your burning anout 300 calories - not what one would consider a major caloric drain. As for C-milk it's a great recovery drink but after a lot more than three miles. You may be ingesting more calories then you expended in the run. I would be careful about mile products before a run or at least experiment.
Eating something small before your run is usually good - a banana is perfect.
Also load up on certain foods, such as arugula/beets/leafy greens, the night before your run because these foods can boost your nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide vasodilates your blood vessles so more oxygen can get to your muscles, therefore, you can have longer, faster workouts. You actually regulate your levels in your saliva! I use Berkeley Test Nitric Oxide test strips, they really help me monitor my nitric oxide levels throughout the day.
Dont neglect your healthy protein, carbohydrates, and fats found in other foods either!
Running on an empty stomach can cause you to run out of energy and you may lose your stamina. Your best bet is to eat a snack or light meal about 1 to 2 hours before you start running.
I have trouble with early morning runs for the same reason - I always enjoy mid morning more because I can have some toast, a banana, and a cup of coffee and some water then wait a couple hours and go for my run.
I find that if I run three miles without anything in the morning, I'm hungry and it's just not as much fun. I know you should ideally wait 1 or 2 hours before you start running after you eat, but I've had reasonable success eating half a banana and a slice of toast with a small glass of water and then waiting half an hour and going. Sometimes I even do a small bowl of cheerios with milk and then leave half an hour later.
For three miles, I find I can sometimes bend some of the running rules a little bit and get back home before I'm feeling reprecussions.
I think experimenting is a good idea to figure out what works best for you as a runner. Now that it's so hot out, I'm going to be trying to figure out a strategy to get a little food in me and run earlier in the morning myself!
I definitely don't suggest waking up at four a.m. and eating a bagel and then going back to sleep so you can run more nourished at six. That sounds really, really, not fun. Not that anyone suggested that.
I write a running blog geared towards other new runners at http://www.iamrunningthis.com!
Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012
First 10K, June 2nd, 2013
First Half Marathon, September 2013
Personally, if I'm going to eat, it has to be at least 2 or 3 hours before my run. Much closer and it justs leaves me feeling generally lousy. That said, I would not bother for a relatively short run, such as 3 miles.
For very long runs (16 miles or more), I can take in the usual gels, etc. for the first 12 or 14 miles, but after that eating upsets my stomach.