Last week, I asked for suggestions for what a girl can eat to make sure her stomach doesn’t act up on long runs, as mine did
during the Marine Corps Marathon in October. You delivered, providing dozens of awesome and varied suggestions, and I’ve been happily sampling new pre-run meals ever since.
My new favorite: banana oats before a morning run, or a banana with a packet of Justin’s Nut Butter in the afternoon before an evening workout. Quaker slow-cooking oats were already a breakfast staple for me, but the pumpkin and flaxseed I usually mix in aren’t quite the easy-to-digest quick carbs I was looking for. Not only were the banana oats easy on the tummy, I like the idea that oats are healthy and hearty even as they’re light, making them perfect both before a long run or for a breakfast any old morning.
This week, thanks to the new eats and some training tweaks, I’m motivated by feeling like I have some control over my body. If I have a bad stomach day during a marathon, I can mess around with my diet to reduce my chances of it happening again. If I have trouble with the 10K, I can add a faster, shorter tempo run or long lactate-threshold repeats to my workout schedule to try to nail my goal pace (thanks for the suggestion, Megan and Lindsay!).
Plus, it’s just exciting to try new things, which I’m doing both in training and in the kitchen. Along with my goal of finding safe, dependable pre-run meals, I’ve also set a goal of sampling one new in-season vegetable per week. Two weeks ago, I tried kabocha squash, sometimes called a Japanese pumpkin. I roasted it with brown sugar and spices, and learned that it tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and pumpkin, smooth, sweet and almost creamy. Last week, I mixed kale leaves into soup. Yummy, though I feel this is a bit of an acquired taste. This week, it’s Swiss chard and ambercup squash, a bright-orange pumpkin cousin. I’ll let you know how they work out for me.
I’m also finding motivation in looking to what’s worked in the past. On two separate occasions last week, I tried a slice of banana bread (the recipe I’m using right now involves pumpkin and oatmeal, plus some of my own tweaks — less sugar and oil, more pumpkin) and a latte (one shot of espresso, a tiny bit of nonfat milk) pre-run. Not sure how this combo will hold up on 15-milers, but it really does work like a charm before shorter workouts.
I also looked backwards, in a good way, when I revisited one of my favorite topics, sports psychology and motivation, in a guest post for the cool, helpful Web site Treadmill Reviews last week. I reminded myself of some of the tips I tried to master last summer, and I’ve had some luck getting my mind back on track already — turns out, I have control over my body AND my mind (who knew?).
What’s motivating you this week?