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A Good Meal The Night Before A Long Run?

Posted Dec 27 2011 9:03am
I've read a lot of nutrition articles out there telling you "the perfect meal" the night before or morning of a long run or race. I don't typically follow what they say because, 1) They are very generic advice to the mass population and each person is an individual and needs to find what works best for them, and 2) Because I've found that I like to feed myself differently depending on what I am craving. Yes, you need to be careful and not go for spicy Indian food (unless of course that works for you), but I tend to place more emphasis on my overall diet and less on one or two meals. I mean, you are what you eat and whatever you've been feeding yourself for the last 48-72 hours really has a greater impact on your ability to perform today than what you ate 30 minutes ago or the night before. I like to think of those meals as the icing on the cake. They top you off, but they aren't the foundation.

So I knew that my meal before my last long run might not have been the best pre-long run meal, but being that it is Hanukkah, we decided to make latkes. Or more specifically, 5 pounds of them. In addition to the 10 pounds we made the week before when we had a party. But don't judge me - they were soooo good!
Just the beginning of 1 hr straight of scooping and flipping

So with a 16 miler planned the next day, I knew I wasn't exactly doing myself any favors.  However, potatoes have potassium, which is good right?  And starchy carbs - those are good, right?  I guess the only truly bad thing is the oil.  Lots and lots of oil.  Did I say they were really good already?  Where was I...oh yea, running...

So the next day, we met as per our typical weekly long run sessions for the DTP program .  My 16 miles were broken into 10 miles at my long run pace and then 3 x 1 mile at my tempo pace with a mile of long run pace as recovery between each mile.  Running 16 miles is hard enough on any given day, but knowing that the true work doesn't start until 10 miles into the workout always has me a bit worried about whether or not this will be a "good" long run or a "bad" long run.

So I guess the moral of the story here is that latkes are ok as a night before long run meal.  Or at least they didn't make me have a bad run.  Either way, I was fine.  I averaged right around 8:00/mile pace for the 10 miles and then 6:45/mile for the 3, one mile intervals and 7:30/mile for the miles in between.  I couldn't seem to slow back to 8:00/mile, so 7:30s it was.  Overall, a great run on what turned out to be a pretty windy day.  I finished the run feeling fine, with thoughts of running more.  But I had to show restraint, because 16 was the plan and that's what I'm sticking to!


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