Like many athletes and spectators, runners have some interesting pre-run habits. Whether it's a tried-and-true nutrition system or just a little bit of superstition, if we find something that works we just want to stick with it!
My pre-run nutrition has certainly morphed over the years (or more accurately, been narrowed down). There are some things I just know for a fact, based on years of research (read: unplanned pit stops) that I simply cannot eat prior to running.
I know that two days prior to a long run, I won't eat a single high fiber product or leafy green.
One day prior to a long run I won't eat (in addition to high fiber products and leafy greens) any carrots, popcorn, red sauce, onions, garlic, oranges, fatty foods, anything with seeds, or high amounts of dairy.
The morning of a long run I will eat something with carbs, like an English muffin. A tiny bit of peanut butter is okay, but if I cross the line, it will give me heartburn. I went rogue this past weekend and ate a bowl of Apple Jacks (with just a teenie bit of milk). It was delicious, but I was starving by mile 10. I always take two hefty doses of Pepto before every long run. One immediately after breakfast, and another just prior to my run. It's tradition, tried-and-true.
I have a weird little quirk about the way I lace my shoes before a run. I always lace them on the outside edge, and I thread the ends of the laces through the loops and under the criss-crosses. I have this weird hang up about laces hitting the inside of my ankle while I'm running, and if it happens I will lose my mind. This solves the issue:
This past weekend I had my long 16 miler on Sunday. It was my longest run this year, and I know I'm a little out of practice preparing for that distance. In addition to doing my tried-and-true nutrition regime, I wanted to make sure I really took it easy on Saturday. My "rest days" seem to always turn into some grueling work. Like "oh well since I'm not running today, I think I'll just spend the whole afternoon digging holes" or something ridiculous. To prevent the temptation of such silliness, I decided to go to the movies! And yes, I am that cool kid that goes alone to the movies on a Saturday.
We all know I can't have popcorn, but went I saw soft pretzels, that just seemed like a great idea. Here's how the order went:
Me: Hi, can I get a small Pepsi and a soft pretzel?
Cashier: Sure, would you like a jumbo Pepsi for a dollar more?
Cashier: Okay, would you like a whole pretzel or nuggets?
Me: Um, one whole pretzel.
Cashier: Okay, would you like salt or a sugar coating on the pretzel?
Me: Salt. Does she not see I'm a runner?
Cashier: Okay, would you like cheese with that?
Me: <blank stare>... Huh? No, why would I want cheese with a pretzel?
Cashier: Okay, someone just grabbed the last whole pretzel. You can come back in ten minutes for one, or, you have these pretzel nuggets with cheese.
It was the strangest exchange. I've never been asked so many follow up questions just for a pretzel, and then I couldn't even get what I ordered. I settled for the pretzel nuggets, with a cheese dipping sauce, and headed into my movie. I think I ate all those delicious little cheesy covered nuggets before the movie even started. I'm hooked!
In case you're wondering, I saw Divergent. I've read the book twice, so I was really looking forward to the movie. There were some noticeable differences from the book but it still had the same feel. And let's be honest, two hours of watching Theo James is not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Whether it was the afternoon full of Theo James images, my carb/sodium loading of pretzel nuggets, or just a good old fashioned rest day, I ended up having a great run on Sunday. My 16 miles didn't feel more than 10, and I didn't have any stomach issues or fatigue. This begs the question... do I sense a new superstition coming on? I have my last long run scheduled for this Saturday, and as a precaution I have already scheduled a vacation day from work on Friday. I'm seriously thinking about going back to the movie theater and snacking on some salted-pretzel-nuggets-with-cheese. (I'm gonna order that like a pro this time). The question is, should I watch Divergent again, or something different? I don't know if I dare stray from what worked! (I'm just trying to justify watching Theo James for two hours again).
Are you superstitious? What pre-run/race habits do you swear by?