{Lessons Learned in Proper Fueling}

I learned a very important lesson about proper fueling while out running this morning.

What’s that you ask? Well, in a nutshell, FUEL! Or your own body will kick your butt. I see posts and articles all of the time about how to properly fuel your body before and after workouts. I know what to do, I just never thought I’d put myself in a situation where my eating habits would harm my workout.

I woke up this morning wanting to get a longer run in, and decided 6 miles would be the perfect distance to start out the day. My first mistake was that I didn’t eat dinner last night. The last few days have been a bit stressful at home, and although some people eat when stressed, I tend to lose my appetite. I knew better, but a couple of beers and a handful of cheddar cheese popcorn was my nutritional intake last night (I know, fantastic right?). Knowing that I needed something before running today, I quickly ate a banana and hit the road.

Not only did I not eat enough, but my body is also still recovering from Hardcore Mudd Run. My muscles have been slowly becoming less sore and tight, but it’s a process to work back into my full strength workouts. I’m almost in what could be considered a reverse taper, as I’ve been slowly building back my workouts each day, and pushing my body back into routine as it recovers.

So out I go to run. It’s a beautiful morning, with a light breeze, and even though it’s 80 degrees, it’s still cooler than mornings as of late. I can tell that my energy levels are a bit low, so I decide to run a conservative, 10 minute mile pace.

Despite feeling a bit tired, my run was going well. It gave me time to mull over the details of the past few days, and wrap my head around how I feel about certain events that may soon be taking place for my husband and I professionally. One of my favorite things about running is the fact that it doubles as a sort of personal therapy session, giving me time to contemplate life.

At 4.25 miles I stopped at a playground on my route to grab a quick drink of water. The sun had risen by that time, and the heat and humidity was beginning to kick in, further tiring me out. I took a quick drink, rested for about 15 seconds, and broke back into a jog.

It was then that my run came to a screeching halt.

My heart felt like it was fluttering, my head felt heavy, I was dizzy. I had to stop. I ended up kneeling in the grass two miles from home, panicking, wondering if for the first time ever, I would need to call my husband to come get me.

Finally I stood and walked for about a half mile. I never walk. It made me feel weak, and the my subconscious began lecturing me on proper fueling, and why I should never skip dinner, and what made me think that 6 miles was a good idea today.

I was able to run the last mile in, slowly. But I did it. And at 6 miles, I promised myself never again to skip dinner, or run after skipping dinner, or put myself at risk to fall apart mid-run, miles from home.

As a runner, I have to remember how important it is to fuel my body, to take care of it and make sure I am doing my best to not only make healthy choices, but to give myself enough to get me through my more difficult workouts.

So, lesson learned, albeit the hard way. I never want to feel that scary feeling again (at least if I can help it), wondering of I can make it home on my own, wondering of an emergency call needs to be made.

So my advice to you today is simple. If you are an athlete, a runner, or just a person trying to live to their healthiest potential, FUEL! Fuel your body so it can also perform to its highest capacity. Be healthy, make wise choices nutritionally, don’t give it too much, but please, give it enough! Don’t be me, kneeling alongside the road wondering how in the world you are going to make it home before passing out. It’s not very fun.

Post-run, I’m enjoying my day with my family. My calves cramped up during the run, and are quite sore, but nothing a little relax time with my boys won’t cure. 🙂

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend! Until next time, fuel up, and happy training!

~Holly

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