Learning to Refuel

I seem to be learning a lot these days.  I’m learning about pacing, priorities and now refueling but it is all for a good cause (OKC Marathon 2014). 

Today’s lesson came in the form of a 16 mile run.  I am trying new refueling methods because quite frankly things that worked in the past did not really work in the past.  I am reading about how to equip my body to handle all these miles I’m putting on it (they tell me that I should cut down on the wine but really sometimes a nice glass of wine at night is a way to refuel and let’s be frank, I’m not a world class runner so what is one glass a couple of times a week going to do?)  So back to the point I am trying to make.  Refueling.  It is important to replace the energy spent with enough nutrients to fuel your body through the next miles and it is important to know when to do this.  Not every person is the same and not everyone burns through the calories like everyone else.  Like me for instance, I sweat a lot.  (if your grossed out, I’m sorry, it just happens)  I know I need to drink more when I run so I have to carry my water bottle for these long runs and usually during a race I stop at the water stops if it is a half-marathon or longer.  But the only way I learned this was trial and error.  Well right now I am in the middle of trial and error with my refueling.

Today I tried these Clif Shot Bloksgel blocks I can honestly say, they are the reason I cut almost 20 seconds off of each mile of the 16 but I need to find something better (16 miles at 8:42 per mile pace).  I didn’t mind their gluey texture for the first 5 miles but when I ate them at 11 it was all I could do to force them down.  No visual image here but just think of trying to eat something that your teeth stick together and you are running and barely able to catch your breathe.  Not a great image and thank goodness I didn’t have to go out into the woods to get rid of them quickly.  So I learned that I can refuel for the 5 mile with them but need to use something else after that so next up are these GU Chomps:gu chomps  I really, really, really hope they are good because they are watermelon flavored and who doesn’t like a nice taste of watermelon in the middle of a long run (I hope I do!).

But what does refueling my body in running have to do with refueling my body everyday, well thanks for hanging in there with me my non-running readers, here goes.  We all need to refuel ourselves.  I begin my refueling every night when I stop work by a certain time.  I know many people have 9-5 jobs and they get off and are done.  But that is not how mine works.  I book my own clients and can go as late as clients will see me and believe me that is late.  But guess what, I know I can’t work that way.  I usually schedule 7 clients a day because any more than that leaves me numb.  I can barely remember my name much less ways to help them with their issues.  So I set boundaries, time limits.  I know what I can do and I don’t do anymore.

The next thing I do is have a bedtime routine.  I know right, I am like 5 right!  Well it’s important.  If you have ever had kids you know they thrive on routine.  They fight you with the bedtime but you know if you enforce the same routine each night that they thrive on it too.  They know what to expect.  As I get older, I notice I need that routine too.  I need to turn off technology by 10pm and I need to read or just veg for a little while before I go to bed.  It helps me refuel.

On the weekends I refuel too.  I spend time with my partner in crime and we do things fun or relaxing or adventurous.  But we do things together.  We use each other to refuel our minds.  And it works.  I look forward to my weekends and it is even fun to plan the weekends out in advance to have something big to look forward to like our upcoming trip to Cape Cod for a half-marathon but an extra day to explore together too.

Something else very important that helps in refueling is doing something for yourself, like a massage, mani/pedi, long run through the woods, or just sitting outside and enjoying the fall weather.  All of these are things that help me refuel.

What helps you?  How do you get ready for another week of work?  How do you refuel?

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7 thoughts on “Learning to Refuel

  1. Good advice about refuelling, both in and out of running. Thanks for posting.
    In running, I use the GU gels, because I can’t ‘eat’ when I’m running. If I go for a long run on a weekend, say 30km, I’ll stop running part way through and have a few minute walk break and have some Ritter Sport chocolate. Breaks up the monotony of the GU and tastes better too. Let us know how the watermelon chews go.
    Out of running, I refuel by either playing Aussie rules football (competitive sport is a great ‘unwind’ for me, funnily enough) or having good old fashioned down time to reconnect with my better half. Nothing better than on a Sunday afternoon getting cooking something slow and hands-on, followed by a movie and a vino!

  2. Indeed, all work and no refueling, or relaxing, or recreating and burnout happens. But, as far as running, most of my running friends prefer GU. For me, I like the Clif Shot gels. I like their taste and the fact the packet has an attachment for the top that gets torn off. The blocks or chews just seem too risky during a race. I worry I would choke on one.

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