Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Mind Games

I got a lesson on Saturday in what not to do before a long run - and also, a reminder of how similar a bad run is to a bad day of dieting.

First off, what not to do:  As we were running 5 miles, and will be continuing to increase the mileage on our long runs, I've been trying to figure out how to eat something substantial before those runs, when, in actuality, I am not a good eater early in the morning.  I've been managing to choke down half a Clif bar before we leave to meet up with the running club, and this past Saturday I went for broke and ate the entire thing.  Go me - more fuel for the 5 miles, right?  Well, not so much...around 2.5 miles, I started feeling like I was going to vomit - that bar kept climbing higher and higher in my throat, and I ended up (disgustingly, to those around me, I might add) retching and had to stop and walk while trying to see if it was going to come back up.  It didn't, but I felt pretty crummy, and it was hard to get started running again.  And yes, it was hot, blah blah blah - 82 degrees when we started at 6:00 am (moral of that story is you can't win when it comes to running in Texas in August) - but I could have endured, had I not felt so bad halfway through.  And then came the head games...how I really blew that run, I'm not a good runner, I should just stick to 2 miles - I'm sure most of you know the drill when it comes to self-doubt and flagellation.

I finished the run and after several cold cups of water and a couple of ice-cold washcloths later, I started to feel human again.  I had a headache the rest of the day, though, so I was probably overheated, which I'm sure didn't help anything.  It happens - even with everything we try to do to ward it off, it just comes with running this time of year. 

Later on, I uploaded my Garmin - and saw that I finished that run in 1:07 - really?  I then looked in my training journal for my previous 5 mile runs, which were in early June - both of those clocked in at 1:06.  Wow.  Even with the stopping, walking, retching and general malaise, I was not that far off from my other 5 milers.  That reminded me of how, back when I was actively dieting, counting calories, and keeping a food journal, if I had a "bad" meal, or snacked on something that wasn't on plan, I felt like I'd blown the entire day UNTIL I entered everything into my food journal.  Then, I could see that I hadn't done irreversible damage to my diet and that it wasn't, in fact, nearly as terrible as I'd made it out to be in my mind.

How many times have you quit your diet because of a bad day of eating?  How many times have you given up on a sport because of a bad workout?  I've done it many times, and I know it's not just me.  Saturday's run was a good reminder that in reality things are never as bad as they are in my mind if I let myself go there, and unfortunately on Saturday, I went there.

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The nice thing about running is that for every bad run, there's usually a good run that follows, and my 2 miler on Monday was perfectly fine, and my second mile was the fastest I've done since coming back to running.  Hills yesterday?  Done.  Jeff is even in town this week and got to do them with our group - fun times, fun times.  OK, fun when we're done.  Still, I'd rather be running than any other sport, and I'm so glad I can run now.  So I'll take the bad with the good over nothing at all.  And try and learn from my experiences.

19 comments:

  1. It is amazing how easily the "bad" plays in the head, isn't it? I, too, struggle with the whole eat-before-exercise thing. All the experts advise it, but it just does not work for me at all. I always feel like I've been eating bricks. And yes, I've bonked a couple of times, but I always feel worse when I eat before hand. Obviously, I still haven't figured out how to do this perfectly, either. So glad you had that good recovery run - when they are good, they are awesome!

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    1. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who is like this; maybe we just have to go with the whole "we're different" thing and stop fighting trying to eat beforehand.

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  2. and I love how I really can slip the word LIFT in here where you have run.
    it is all the same.
    different yet somehow all the same.

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  3. I recognize everything in this post. I guess everyone has that from time to time wheather you're a runner or do something else.

    I'm always struggling with my food intake before long runs. I don't like to eat much either because later in a run it's going to be trouble. Right now an hour before I start a sandwich peanut butter and a banana do the trick for me. Have you tried a banana?

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    1. I have not tried a banana, but I may put that on the list as a tester - thanks for the suggestion! :)

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  4. Training is definitely the time to figure out how to fuel properly no doubt about it. But, you know 5 miles is not so long that you need to eat very much. I don't eat a thing prior to running up to 8-9 miles. Once I get to that distance I know I need to eat a little something.

    For you, instead of miles, I say go by time. Continue to eat your half a Clif Bar until you know you're going to have to run 1 1/2 hrs. Then add something, but maybe try some juice or your beloved watermelon. Or switch the whole shebang to a bagel. Listen there are no hard and fast rules about what to eat. If you wanted, you could eat a piece of pizza. Plus you seem to do really well with fueling DURING a run so as the mileage ramps up, there's always GU.

    Just like running is mental, so is all the other stuff that goes with it - you've convinced yourself that you are not a good pre-run eater so it results in "choking" something down. As you ramp up your distance you need to have a mental mantra that you start on Friday night about how you're doing to fuel your body with something yummy in the morning so you can run 10 miles. It will work. Just keep working at it until you figure it out.

    You're doing terrific, don't think anything otherwise!

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    1. Honestly, I've considered just GUing it the whole run, but when we get into really long distances (and for me, time, haha), not sure how much GU I really could take.

      But yeah, now it the time to figure this out! :)

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    2. You can try a GU every 45 minutes or so but honestly as concentrated with sugars as that stuff is, I think you'll get sick. If not during the run then I say you'd have GU stomach afterwards for sure. Just keep working at figuring out what to eat beforehand and only GU the whole thing if you have no other option... but I seem to remember when you trained before you had some success with plain bagels. Bagel/toast/oatmeal/bananas are my go to foods.

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  5. I have a hard time fueling in the morning too - my blood sugars, even if normal, will triple after a morning workout if I don't eat something AND give myself insulin - and sometimes then it doesn't work out.

    I agree, why is it that we self sabotage ourselves thinking we've "blown it" and then realize after the fact that it was just a blip in the radar.

    Yesterday when I snacked on cheese and crackers, I went to bed thinking "that was so dumb!"

    I ended up with 1700 calories for the day WITH the cheese and crackers. The old me would have had 1700 for just breakfast and lunch!

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  6. This was a really good description of the mind games that we play. My mind is working overtime these days, it seems. But what you said about looking at the actual time/calorie count is really helpful.

    And ick. I hate feeling nauseated any time, but during a long hot run? No thank you. I am very impressed that you finished. It seems like your tummy just isn't an early riser!

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  7. It is so easy to have the "all or nothing" thinking...that one slip is IT and the rest of the day is off track. OMG...you are a star to run in the heat down there. I am bowing at your feet for finishing the run!!!!!!

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  8. I have experimented a lot with pre workout food over the past few years. I didn't worry about it for times when it was just 1/2 hour, but longer stuff and I need to fuel or I bonk, big time.

    What I find to be good for me is a protein drink. About 8 to 12 ounces and to sip it for about 10 -15 minutes so it isn't sitting in a big sloshy lump in my tummy (not that it is that big).

    On really long ride days, I have to have a full meal and let it digest for 45 minutes or so. There are times when we have eaten our bagels and I have had 2 big cups of coffee and then we ride a different way with a hill. Well, the way you contract your abs to go up hills on a bike and a full tummy was not a good combo at all. I struggled to keep that bagel down. Lesson learned.

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  9. My favorite part about bad runs is that there's usually a good one following that bad one.

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  10. Running (or walking or biking)in this heat with anything in the belly is tough. It just gets sloshed around and you feel terrible. I feel ya!

    Glad you still got in a good run even though you felt like crap.

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  11. Shelley maybe this link works for you:

    http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/gymnastics/highlights-epke-zonderlands-gold-medal-high-bar-routine.html

    I can't watch it myself because it's not for international viewers.

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    1. That one worked - WOW. He was fantastic!!!

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  12. I am a creature of habit and maybe even superstitious. I really like to stick to the same food before I go running. I enjoy my oatmeal. A few times I have tried to either change it or even have it after I finish. If its a bad run, I blame it on the change in routine, even if its not always the case. You are so right about looking at the overall picture of how far you have come and not just one bad day.

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  13. Love this! You are really an inspiration.

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  14. I eat a banana with peanut butter before my long runs, and it is difficult sometimes to get it down, especially when I am trying to eat it at 5am. But I think soft foods work better for me, and it's a good combo of carbs and protein. I'm glad you didn't vomit, but that must have been a horrible feeling. I also know what you mean about bad runs, I had a horrible long run 2 weeks ago, and a good long run this week, which was one mile longer. So go figure.

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