Wow, I haven’t written a blog in a while. Good thing I never made any promises on how often I’d update this. Regardless, I’ve been thinking and experimenting quite a bit lately with different sources of energy pre-run, during the run and post-run. For the most part, I don’t worry as much about this for runs shorter than 6 miles. I still try to eat the right things, but I’m a little less rigid on those days (not that there are many of those in my plan right now).
As I stated in my first blog, I read and thoroughly enjoyed “Born to Run” and have changed my running style, in part, because of that book. One of the topics I’ve taken an interest in specifically, is fueling myself for my longer runs…and in two months, the marathon One of the sources discussed in the book is chia seeds…(pause for effect)…yes, I said chia. The same chia that is used in the well-known Chia Pets. I know it sounds odd and yes, I’ve heard many jokes relating to my receding hairline and nearly bald head as to my secret reason for eating chia seeds. To clear the air, that is not why I’m experimenting with chia. After doing some research, it seems that these tiny little seeds are a super food. High in omega fatty acids antioxidants. They are strange little guys. When you leave them in water for a few minutes, they actually gel up the water. It’s surmised, or so I’ve read, that this may actually help as a long-lasting energy source by slowing the digestion. Finally, about a month ago, curiosity got the best of me and while at whole foods one day, I picked up a small (but expensive) bag from Whole Foods. I’ve started to incorporate the seeds into my pre-run routine. For the Sunday long runs, I add about a tablespoon in my oatmeal about 2 hours before run time. For all runs about 6 miles or longer (including the Sunday long run) I also add about 1.5 tablespoons to an 8 oz. glass of water with a little agave and lemon or lime juice for flavor. I typically let it set for about 5 or 10 minutes before I drink it to let it set up. I have to say, and this is completely subjective, that I really think they help. I know it sounds crazy, and if you saw them I’m sure you’d have doubts, but I feel more energetic after taking the seeds. So much so, that I even purchased a 2 pound bag of the seeds online (much cheaper too)…that’s a lot of seeds!
There’s another secret energy source in the book…pinole. Pinole is a mixture of ground corn and other spices which can be ground pretty coarse or very fine. Pinole is very difficult to find locally but there are a few places online where it is available. It can be ingested several ways…mixed with water for a drink, mixed with less water for a paste or baked in the oven for portability. I bought some online and have tried it on two long runs, one 10 mile hilly run and one 13 mile treadmill (yes, treadmill) run. I think I mixed my drink a little weak on the 10 mile run, but I could feel some lasting energy from the mixture. However, the next week I essentially doubled the amount of pinole in the water and had amazing results. I was stuck on the treadmill due to weather (didn’t feel like running 13 miles in 4 inches of fresh snow) and it was hard to get motivated to spend 2 hours in the basement staring at a 13″ tv screen. I won’t lie…it was painful mentally. But, the good news was that I drank an entire water bottle full of the pinole mixture throughout the run and felt great the whole run. Not only that, but I felt so good with 1.5 miles left in the run, that I cranked up the pace by nearly 30 seconds per mile. I even finished the run with energy left. The only other source of energy taken in during the run was Hammer Nutrition’s Heed energy drink, which I used all last year as well. There is most definitely a difference with the pinole. A couple things to keep in mind though…drinking it like I have will leave a chalky feeling in your mouth. If that’s going to bother you..don’t try it mixed with water. Second, it’s mostly corn. Without going into details, we all know corn is slow to digest, although quicker when ground. Do not use pinole after you start to feel the energy drain…it will be too late. I started drinking it after 2 miles and alternated with Heed about every 2 miles after that. A much better test will be this weekend’s 16 miler! Now if I can just find enough ways to carry all this liquid on my run.
Okay, now that I wrote all this, I realize it’s kind of a dry and boring post. I apologize if you’ve woken with your head in a pile of drool on your keyboard…truly sorry.
Thanks for reading.