Not Eating Enough Before A Race.

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We all have our different opinions on how we like to train; some prefer a fasted run, others can’t train without having something in their stomach. For me, I thought I had eaten enough before a race but today’s post is all about my experience when I realised I hadn’t.

In the middle of June, I took part in the Lisburn 10K race which I recently posted about and I was so incredibly happy with the experience because I got a personal best. However, what I didn’t write about was what happened an hour or two later because I thought it deserved a post of it’s own.

This had been my first evening race and because it was in Lisburn, it wasn’t a case of being able to go home for dinner first so I thought I had planned out my food quite well for that day. I had my bagel and smoothie as normal for breakfast, my lunch was a Thai curry that Scott had made me the day before and I grabbed a snack at around 3:30pm. I certainly wasn’t hungry so I thought I was okay and I didn’t get hungry until after the race.

We got the train home from Lisburn and while I was tired, I was fine. We jumped on the bus from town to where we live and I started to feel iffy on the bus but I wasn’t sure why. I had eaten some dark chocolate on the way home to have some sugar in my system (The bars they were handing out at the finishing line weren’t gluten free) so I didn’t think food had anything to do with it. My body could have been in shock because I pushed it very hard or because our bus driver was driving fast, that could have set me off.

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Our bus took less than ten minutes to get from the city centre to where we were getting off and I started to feel slightly worse. I couldn’t feel my fingers and my legs became tingly; as soon as we came off the bus, I had to go and sit at the bus stop and the tingling got worse. I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t feel Scott’s hand and my head felt very fuzzy. I had no idea what was happening and that’s when Scott asked me what I had had to eat that day, so I told him and he said I hadn’t eaten enough and my body had used up almost all my energy running that my body was going into shock.

I went from being hungry on the train home to not wanting to touch anything. Once we got back to Scott’s house, he lay me down and got me to drink diluted juice and asked me to eat a Nakd bar. I had one bite of the bar and thought I was going to throw up (I love them any other time!) I could stomach the juice but it was about ten more minutes before the tingling feeling went away. I had never experienced anything like that before in terms of running so I started to panic thinking “was it going happen again?” Scott told me it’s happened to him before and I had no reason to panic but to make sure I eat enough next time.

While it was a scary experience, it’s definitely made me more aware of my food intake before any type of training. If I train in the morning, I’m normally fine fasting but if it’s anything in the afternoon or in the evening, I know that I need to leave around two hours for my food to settle. I possibly should have had a very early dinner at 4pm instead so while the race started at 7pm, it would still be sitting in my stomach.

I’m interested in any tips that anyone has that could help me in the future (apart from eating more, of course) or if you have any experiences around this subject that you think would be useful, please let me know. Thank you so much for reading! 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Not Eating Enough Before A Race.”

  1. You should always make an effort to get some energy (carbs) after a hard session, especially a race. When we run, we predominantly use the glycogen (carbs) that’s stored in our liver and the muscles we use to fuel our effort, and as a result our body is at its most efficient at absorbing and redistributing carbs in the window (30-60 minutes) just after a run. If you don’t refill with carbs, the body will start to break down protein in your muscles to refill the glycogen stores, which in turn will increase your recovery period.

    So next time, be sure to get some quick carbs shortly after crossing the finish line! Should aim to get at least 300 kcal worth. It sound like you may have experienced glycogen depletion (which is commonly referred to as “the wall” if it happens within a race!)

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    1. Thank you so much for your advice! I know that I should have been better prepared pre and post race so I can guarantee you it won’t be something that will happen again. It was quite a scary experience.

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