5 ways to ensure you don’t run out of energy when you’re clocking up the miles
For a moment, forget the sickeningly step hill facing you at mile 5, often, the hardest part of a run is getting out of the house in the first place.
These days, so much is fighting for your attention that it can be hard to leap every obstacle that faces you. It could be anything from an email from your boss that drops into your inbox as you’re about to get into your running kit, getting caught up mindlessly scrolling through social media to Netflix beckoning you after a long day at work or the simple fact that you are simply lacking motivation.
But there are some ways to help get yourself out of the house. Here are our 5 tried-and-tested methods to build the perfect pre-run routine.
If you lack energy for your run, it will make it more of a grind, and if you’re finding you’re sluggish the chances are you’ll be more tempted to cut the run short or not even make it out of the door.
A 2018 study by the University of Bath found that eating breakfast increased the rate at which you burn carbohydrates during your run, meaning your levels of endurance, and therefore the distance you can run, is much higher than had you not eaten anything pre-run.
So our tip is to work backwards form your planned run time and ensure you allow enough time to digest your meal so you won’t be running with a full stomach, which can risk a stitch. The ideal time to eat is 90 minutes to 2 hours pre-run.
Finding the best foods that work for you is an ongoing process, as will vary from person to person. But one thing’s certain – you’ll need carbohydrates. This is because carbs break down into the body’s main source of fuel to get you through your run: glucose.
Some tried and tested pre-run meals include porridge, almond butter on toast or avocado on a bagel.
You’re looking to hit the sweet spot between too much food and too little – you don’t want to be overfull for your run, but equally you shouldn’t be feeling hungry. Aim for around 15g of carbs if you’re running for an hour. If longer, you’ll need to increase that figure.
Other great things to snack on include dates, a banana, trail mix or carrot sticks with hummus.
Running goes hand in hand with sweating, and if you’re not properly hydrated that will quickly lead to dehydration.
The first thing to do is ensure you are hitting your daily hydration target as all of us should be ensuring we are drinking enough on a day-to-day basis. A general guide is to aim for 0.033ml per kg a day for an average sedentary person. So if you weigh 70kg, you’d require 2.3 litres of water a day – and that’s before you take into account physical activity.
Pre-run, it’s advised to drink 500ml of water around 2 hours before running. It’s worth keeping an eye on your urine before you run, especially if you are running for more than an hour – if it’s clear, you’re adequately hydrated. If you’re running more than 10 miles you should also drink some electrolytes before you set off.
A simple trick but one that’s surprisingly effective. If you are planning on a lunch run, lay your running kit out when you get dressed in the morning. Then psychologically, when it gets nearer to the time to run, you don’t have to faff about choosing what to wear. This helps, as any procrastinating can quickly lead to distraction and not running at all.
An additional tip is to lay your kit out on the radiator if the weather is cold or you’re running early in the morning – slipping on warm running kit makes a big difference to boosting your motivation to run.
Making yourself accountable is a great way to lessen the chance of skipping a workout. Tell your partner, kids, parents, anyone who will listen that you are going for a run later, and then it’s out there – you’re committed. If you skip it they will ask what happened and you’ll be forced to explain why you spent an hour watching videos of dogs getting stuck in things.
Even better is arranging to meet someone else to run with. Knowing you've committed to a pal that you're going to run together, you can't then not turn up.