Morning fuel

I’ve always been a morning runner.  I simply can’t get my act/energy/interest together to run after 12pm, and experience has taught me that it’s altogether better if I just roll with this.

Typically, I set my kit out the night before, get up and into my running clothes, and leave the house before I’ve woken up sufficiently to question my sanity (which, after all, you lot do so much more effectively than me…)

This means that, in the normal run of events, I run fasted.  I sometimes swig at a pint of tea before I go out, but more often than not I run without eating or drinking.  Now, that’s fine up to about 8 miles, but after that I really go bonk in a big way if I haven’t eaten.  And it’s always been quite obvious to me that I’ll need to eat before I try to run a bloomin’ marathon.

So I’ve been experimenting with breakfasts.  I have spent a long time teaching myself to eat as little processed food as possible, which rules many obvious breakfast menus right out.  Porridge, for example, is a big no no – and anyway sits in my stomach like a cannon ball.  My old habit was to run up to 10k empty, and come home for a couple of boiled eggs and a coffee.  So I started out eating that about an hour before I ran.  You may be able to go to work on an egg, but it turns out you need a bit more than that to fuel a long run…

A few weeks ago, I bought a starter pack from 33Shake.  And I’ve done well with one of their shakes alongside my eggs about an hour before my 13 mile or over runs.  I like their gels, too – although I’m not entirely convinced they give me much, they don’t make me gag and they don’t make me want to stop and find a toilet instantly, so they win over the alternatives.  But the shakes are expensive, and I can’t afford to spend that much money for everyday activities.

Last week, I found Amelia Freer’s new book in Sainsburys. I loved Eat. Nourish. Glow, but it only had a very few recipes in it and while we love all of them, I can’t feed the family on 5 recipes alone.  Well, not for long.  Well, not without an insurrection.  So the new book, Cook. Nourish. Glow was a really good find! And it has some interesting breakfast recipes.  I’m sure I’ll get around to trying the green breakfast soup eventually, but for now I’m a bit wowed by the little chia pots.  It took a bit of adjusting to get them to set – I don’t know whether my chia seed doesn’t swell as much as Amelia’s, or whether my lactose free milk is not as thick as coconut milk… and it took me *several* visits to roughly every health food shop in Oxfordshire to find coconut crystals (sugar) but finally this morning I had a lovely, cinnamon vanilla chia pot, topped with an Omega 3 seed mix and some dried fruit, for a bit of yum.  It wasn’t delicious, but it was good and it invites experimentation and adaptation.  And it fuelled me on my run into yoga, to make up for Tuesday’s missed session.  So that’s a good decision, and one I will try again.

And so this week’s three positives, to end on:

*** My fantastically supportive partner, Mr P, who has coaxed and cajoled me through the no man’s land of mid-point training

*** A gentle recovery week to allow my body to recover and regroup after the increases in mileage of the last month – nice and ready for Silverstone HM in a couple of weeks

*** The shorter runs at better pace have brought me within a gnat’s whisker of my PBs for 10k *and* 5k.  So whatever else is going on, I’m not getting slower 🙂