How often do you get to read an opening like that, eh? But I did mention a few days ago that I was going to start looking into eating before runs, and today I actually got around to it. Monday, of course, I was only on the bike, so I didn't really need it. Yesterday, I felt that the adventure of wrangling the dog during the run would provide enough stimulation that I probably didn't need to use a booster. This morning, however, I had a six miler ahead of me, as the mid-week and fast Saturday runs each bump up a mile. I wanted to make sure that I had the energy.
So I turned to an old friend. Something that got me through countless cross country and track meets throughout high school. I had some baby food.
Now before you break down into hysterics, think about it logically. First, not all baby food is that nasty, green, strained peas paste. There are a lot of fruit baby foods out there which are actually quite delicious. In fact, there was a time in my life when I was quite the connoisseur of Gerber flavors, but now I stick to pretty much anything involving apples or bananas.
Baby food is great for pre-run for all the same reasons that it's great for babies. It's loaded with nutrients, it's not heavy, and it's very easily digested. This means that all the goodness gets into your blood faster, and you don't run the risk of cramps. After Sunday's run, I recognized that an energy gel made the second half much easier than the first. As such, I realized that I should probably have some good energy before the run, too, and I think baby food might just be the answer.
I'll know for sure next week, but I'm going to get in the habit of eating it now for anything over 4 miles. Since this is technically a step-back week in the Higdon system, I've only got to do 8 miles on Sunday, which will be plenty difficult, don't get me wrong. Still, having run over 8 miles twice already this season, I'm much more concerned about the following week's 13. If that goes well, then I'll be sold on the new routine. Yet if today's run is any indication, this is going to be a great experiment.
I felt so good from beginning to end that I didn't even remember (until I got back to my workout spreadsheet) that this run put me over 800 miles of running so far this year. Only in April (when I was injured) have I run less than 100 miles in a month, and I'm feeling great. I haven't been this active for this long since high school, and I really feel like I'm getting better. Recently I put up my race PRs as a way of gauging not only how I'm doing in the big races, but how I'm doing overall. I'm hoping to change that 5-mile time in November, but it's the 5K and 10K times that are really holding my attention these days. I'll probably never beat that mile time again, but if I can get back to that speed for a 5K...
Well, we'll worry about that another day. I've already got a big goal these days, and that's to qualify for Boston. So far this season, I'm feeling pretty good about it. I've set a goal time that will be much harder to attain, but it will actually cause me to train harder, which is the entire point.
So, with 800 miles behind and more than that ahead, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the run for me. Truly, for a lapsed runner, it's like being born again.
I even get to eat baby food.
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