it’s time to talk about fueling before, during, and after runs. we’re starting to run long runs on saturday’s which may require some fueling during the runs. our long, speed, and tempo runs on monday’s and thursday’s are definitely runs that you need to fuel for before the run. you always need to refuel after you run.

let’s talk more specifically: eating before a run- it is important to properly fuel before your runs but you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly. regardless of the distance or type of run, you need to eat a little something.  if you are full, you will have stomach cramps but if you are starving you won’t have any energy.  the rule of thumb is to eat at least an hour before your run, but you will really need to find what works for you.  i know it’s hard to eat before our early morning runs so i would suggest something light about 30 minutes before if you can’t get anything in sooner.  i typically eat a handful of almonds or a banana about 30 minutes before our morning runs- maybe even just a glass of orange juice if i’m really running short on time.  when i have more time before a run i try to eat something a little more substantial about 1 – 2 hours before such as toast with peanut butter, a power bar, or something along these lines. before long runs i ALWAYS eat at least an english muffin with peanut butter, if not something more. the main thing to remember is to eat something with some carbs but do NOT go heavy on the fiber before a run.  you’ll be sorry!

eating during your run- we have talked about this in the past and it’s really up to you as to whether or not you plan to eat during the race but if you think you will, you need to start practicing now. this sounds silly but you never want to show up on race day trying something new- whether it’s food, drinks, or even new socks! i do, however, recommend fueling during your race. i have done races without fuel and a race with fuel. i definitely felt like i had less recovery issues and muscle cramps after the race i did with some fuel. think about it, regardless of the temperature or weather conditions, your body is still working overtime to get you to that stopping point. you are losing electrolytes and nutrients so it only makes sense to put them back in your body. i tend to prefer FRS chews or sport beans and keith likes gu’s and sport beans. try a few and see what works. for most runs over 60 minutes you will need to refuel. an easy way to start practicing would be on our upcoming long runs. if we’re running 7 miles, try taking something in around mile 4 or 5 and see how it makes you feel.

after you run:  it’s also important to eat after your run.  within about 30 minutes after your run you will want to eat something with some protein and carbs.  this will help replenish your energy as well as your muscles.  you probably won’t feel like a full meal at this time but a banana with peanut butter, a handful of almonds, or something like this should suffice.  one of my favorite things to have after a run is a glass of chocolate milk.

with all that said, your new running regimen is not a license to eat whatever you want!!!!  you may feel hungrier than normal since we’re increasing our mileage and it is good to eat BUT you have to be careful about what you eat.  think of your food as fuel.  you want to make sure you’re making healthy choices even though you’re burning more calories.

nutrition questions??? let’s talk more about this if you have any questions, suggestions, comments, etc. what worked for all of you at the st. jude?

Money Well Spent

So, i have to tell you what i did after our run today. I got a massage! I never do stuff like this. I am the worlds worst at feeling like i can’t take the time or can’t spend the money. I rarely do the things that i always feel kind of gluttonous about- massages, manicures, whatever. However, with all of the neck pain and knee pain i’ve been having, the idea of a good massage has been in the back of my mind.

I ran into Ed, one of our massage therapists, at work yesterday and said “i need to see you.” Ed, smart man that he is, said “perfect! see you tomorrow at 10.” So, there it was…an appointment for a massage. I thought all last night about canceling, telling myself i should just get on the foam roller and call it a day.

Well, let me tell you, it was money well spent. I’ve been to Ed a few other times- back when i was having horrible neck pain- and he’s great. Don’t, however, expect to go in for a relaxing massage. We laughed that while all the people in the gym were jealous when i went back in for the massage, they had no idea that i was working up a sweat just from gritting my teeth.

Ed tends to do more therapeutic sports massages which is exactly what i needed. I tend to prefer the type of massages in which they rub my hands and my back and i may even fall asleep. Not this one! I knew from the previous massages i had with Ed that we were in there to work. I informed him of my still-nagging neck pain, horribly tight IT bands, and painful hips and he went to town. I knew when he started some sentences with “Sorry, this may hurt a bit so take a deep breath” that i was in for it, but it was truly so good for what i needed. It’s not your typical massage- you have to work a little. We did several great contracting-relaxing stretches and i really feel better already. Apparently i have the beginnings of “frozen shoulder” if i’m not careful (which is probably contributing to all of my neck pain) so we spent some time on this as well.

I know i can’t see Ed as often as i would like, but i am definitely going to make more of an effort to see him after some of our long runs- maybe even 30 minutes on the IT bands, but i can already feel the benefit. Funny, this sounds like a PSA for Ed. I didn’t intend to do that and he has no idea i even have a blog, but i thought of all of you while i was in there and know everyone would benefit from a good massage with him every now and then. You may not like massages or may even have your own person you use, but if you’re looking to “treat” yourself, i highly recommend Ed. I feel like i could go run another 5.9 miles! 🙂

Got Milk?

do you drink as much water in the winter as you do in the summer? probably not. it’s sometimes hard to remember to hydrate when you’re not sweating and when it’s so cold outside. this is a problem, though, because your body still needs to be hydrated.

it’s important to go into each and every run with a properly hydrated body. i’m pretty good about getting enough water in throughout the day. i usually always have a water bottle with me and i try not to drink anything else until i have had a few glasses, at the least. this is great but water is not going to cut it after our tough runs- speed, tempo and long.

so, what do i drink after a long or tough workout? chocolate milk! i pretty much hate milk but i like all things chocolate so i’ve grown pretty accustomed to this. i read a story years ago that milk was great for replenishing muscles so i decided to give it a shot. i thought it would be especially hard to do after a hot run on the treadmill, but it’s not. it’s actually pretty refreshing. sometimes the thought of more water just makes me want to jump in the river and so many sports drinks are just so laden with sugar so this is now my go-to.

a review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that drinking milk after exercise has positive effects on recovery, muscle building, and hydration. the author of the study stated that drinking milk after exercise has been shown to be as effective, if not more effective, than commercially available sports drinks as a rehydration beverage.

accredited Sports Dietitian and Dairy Australia spokesperson Glenys Kerrins says, “When we sweat we lose essential electrolytes such as sodium, calcium and potassium. milk is a natural source of electrolytes, containing more of each of these minerals than many sports drinks.” a 250ml serving of skim milk contains approximately 110mg of sodium, 397mg of potassium, 307mg of calcium and 30mg of magnesium. the same serving of most sports drinks contains about 83mg of sodium, 38mg of potassium, 17mg of calcium and 5mg of magnesium.

they also stated that if you don’t like white milk it’s ok because chocolate milk is also beneficial. recent studies suggest drinking chocolate milk following vigorous activity helps to speed up recovery and recharge the body for its next workout. i always stress the importance of eating within an hour or so after a tough workout but sometimes it takes that long to get my stomach to settle down so i’ll have my trusty glass of chocolate milk in the meantime. it works like a charm. give it a try.

Whatcha listening to??

i’m running a little behind this time so i need some help. i always make a new playlist for each new race i’m training for…or even each new running season. we’re 3 weeks into our training for nashville and i don’t have one made yet. i’m still running to my st. jude playlist. i like to listen to the same thing on each of my long runs so i kind of know where i am and how i hope to be feeling. it just helps me mentally.

last time i trained for nashville, my playlist had Fireflies (faith hill) at about mile 5. for some reason this was a big milestone mile for me each time. i used this song to make sure i wasn’t going too fast and also to take some time to re-group. on the other hand, i had Crazy Bitch (Buckcherry) at around mile 11 because i knew i needed it. anyway, on training runs i had these to carry me along so, on race day, when i got past Fireflies and felt great i was good. when i got to Crazy Bitch (disclaimer, disclaimer!) i was thrilled to have that song push me along. it also reminded me of my 11 and 12 mile training runs and gave me the motivation to finish.

so, i need some suggestions! i know i’m going with some Them Crooked Vultures (pictured above) but not sure what else. what do you like to run to?? what gets you going??


things to help you motivate:

1. get a fitness journal: i always write down my daily fitness goals and also write whether or not i met my daily goal. i’m pretty tough on myself so i love seeing my daily accomplishments!
2. get a new pair of shoes (or even a new pair of socks): i love the feel of new shoes and socks on my feet. i get excited to get out and wear these in.
3. sign up for a race: Nashville, here we come!!!
4. make a great playlist: i usually make a playlist at the beginning of a new training program and run to this playlist on each long run. on race day, i know how i want to be feeling at the start of each particular song. it also helps to pace me throughout the race.
5. run with a group: it’s often easier to get out of bed, even on chilly days, when you know you have a group waiting on you.
6. it’s almost bathing suit season: enough said!
7. remember that you almost always feel better after a run than you did before it.

those are the top things that come to mind that help me motivate. what about you? how do you motivate?


what’s up with this weather?!?! i am not a cold weather person. every trip i take is somewhere tropical. i’ve never been skiing. i have no desire to go anywhere cold. if it’s below 70 degrees outside i’m still cold. it’s not unusual to find me in a sweatshirt on my front porch on summer nights. there was even a time when i would only run on my treadmill if it was 60 or below outside.

so, what happened to turn me in to the person who runs outside when it’s 17 degrees and is excited about the warming trend to 40? you happened! this running group happened. i still think i’m crazy half the time i’m layering up to go on these cold runs but i’m always so glad once i’m out there.

trust me, i have done tons of research to see if we can die from running in these temps (this could possibly be my chance to skip a run!). well, we can’t! according to runners from the north, this isn’t even all that cold! we just have to do it right- layer, cover your ears and hands, and don’t start out too fast. it’s going to take longer for our muscles to warm up and possibly even burn your lungs. this is not dangerous- it’s just the cold air going into your warm lungs. however, if this bothers you, wear a scarf or something you can pull over your mouth to breathe into until you’re good and warm.

don’t get me wrong, i still HATE the cold weather. however, i LOVE that the race is only 71 days away and that’s motivation enough to get up and put on my 5 pounds of extra clothing and get out there.

so, for all of my fair weather friends, i’ve missed you! bundle up and come back out 😉

Am i too sick to run?

Unfortunately we’re in that time of year in which everyone is sick. Germs are spreading rapidly and it seems like anyone who even thinks about “sick” ends up sick. Do you or do you not run?

The general rule of thumb for runners is that you can work out if your illness is above the neck- head cold, runny nose, etc- UNLESS you have a fever. If your illness is below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, etc), it may be best to get some rest. Keep in mind, this is the general rule of thumb. You should also follow your instincts and if you’re on the fence, it may not hurt you to do your workout but keep it slow and take walk and water breaks when necessary.

It seems that running with a head cold–as long as you don’t push beyond accustomed workouts–is beneficial in maintaining fitness and psychological well-being. Sometimes a little fresh air is all we need to start feeling better.

If you are really sick (“below the neck sick”) and decide to take time off from running, do it right. Drink lots of fluids and ease back into your workouts. You can come back to running once you’re feeling better or once your fever is gone, but ease back into it. You shouldn’t do your toughest workouts until you’re feeling stronger.