Running with the runs

If you’re a runner, you’ve likely either have heard of or experienced firsthand a case of runner’s diarrhea. I’ve been a semi-serious runner for about four years now and I can safely say that my running friends are the ones I know the most about in regards to their bowel movements. There’s a special level of…

Running with the runs was originally published on Self Evolve

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If you’re a runner, you’ve likely either have heard of or experienced firsthand a case of runner’s diarrhea. I’ve been a semi-serious runner for about four years now and I can safely say that my running friends are the ones I know the most about in regards to their bowel movements. There’s a special level of friendship that you achieve once you spend hours running with someone. All modesty goes out the window.

I’m here to share some expert (or just witty) tips to avoid running with the runs. These may help you run further without having to pop a squat.

  • Pay close attention to what you eat before a run. Not just the day of, but also the day before. If you’re consuming a lot of fiber, expect a lot of poo to follow. Most runners learn what works best for them. For me, a light breakfast i.e. a banana and Clif bar does the trick prior to my long runs. Avoiding cheese, dairy, and lots of fiber the day before also helps.
  • Try your absolute best to poop before running, like when you first wake up. And for me, avoiding coffee until after the run helps me not have the urge to go.
  • You may be trotting along and get what I call bubble gut. Is it a fart? Or a poop? General rule of thumb: don’t trust a fart after mile 10. Some runners don’t trust a fart ever.
  • If you do have the urgency to go, please find a bathroom or port-a-potty. It’s not worth it to destroy your clothes and dignity just to get that goal race time. Just saying.
  • If you are gonna pop a squat and have no other option, come prepared with toilet paper or something similar to wipe the bum. No one likes chafing poo.

I hope these tips help you on your long runs and on race day. Let me know what works for you in the comments below! And happy running!

Running with the runs was originally published on Self Evolve

Carb loading and running

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run…

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run far.

Carbohydrate loading can help you. What is carbo loading? It’s a strategy involving changes to training and nutrition that can maximize muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores prior to endurance competition. Athletes believe that by loading the muscles with glycogen, they can prevent hitting the “wall” and hopefully allow them to run at their desired pace for longer. It has the potential to improve performance by 2-3%, if done properly. The issue is, a plate of pasta isn’t carbo-loading. Follow these simple steps to properly carbo-load:

  1. Don’t skip the carb depletion phase. 7 days prior to the event do a long or strenuous workout which will deplete your body of glucose. For the next 3 days maintain a lower carb diet of 35 to 50% of total calories. For the final 2 days prior to the race switch to 75% of calories from carbohydrates, while dramatically decreasing overall work volume (the other 25% is largely protein).
  2. Avoid simple carbs! Don’t eat junk food, and avoid sugar. Ideal carbo-loading foods: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. If you have trouble with high fiber/runners trots, look for options like sourdough bread with honey or sweet potatoes.
  3. Don’t carbo load for short distance races. 5K or 10K? Too short! Carbo loading is only needed if you’ll be running OVER 90 minutes. I would even argue that it’s not necessary for a half-marathon but should be done for a full.
  4. Don’t load for too long, only do it for about 2 days prior to the race. The rest of the time before the race? Not loading! Don’t load up for a week, that is just un-necessary.
  5. Don’t freak out over the weight gain. Carbs make you retain water, which is needed for race day! Don’t even worry about that number on the scale, unless you’re ignoring step #2 and eating cookies.
  6. Don’t skip your last load due to nerves. You want that race morning fuel! You must give your muscles that last boost of glucose to help prevent energy lulls, mood swings, and fatigue. Aim to 1-3 grams of high quality carbs, low fat and low fiber – oatmeal with banana or yogurt with fruit if you can stomach it.
  7. Don’t eat that pasta dinner! One large meal of carbs is NOT carbo-loading and for many people it has the opposite effect of what they desire.

Of course, at the end of the day, everyone is different. You have to find what works best for you. Personally, I haven’t carbo-loaded before. But, I have also never ran a full marathon before. I usually eat before every race though. On the morning of a half marathon I eat fruit, drink lots of water, and drink some coffee. The week leading up to the half? I just focus on eating healthy: lots of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Now that I’m training for the full marathon, I will be sure to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my body.

Food is fuel. And fuel is energy. Do you carbo-load? What do you eat before running? Or do you run on an empty stomach? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

Tapering off sugar

After seeing a sugar free trend on Facebook, I decided to do some research into the idea of not consuming sugar. What I found was concerning. Not only does sugar lead to heart disease and diabetes, it’s also considered a powerful drug. People get addicted to sugar similar to or even worse than cocaine. With this knowledge…

Tapering off sugar was originally published on Self Evolve

After seeing a sugar free trend on Facebook, I decided to do some research into the idea of not consuming sugar. What I found was concerning. Not only does sugar lead to heart disease and diabetes, it’s also considered a powerful drug. People get addicted to sugar similar to or even worse than cocaine.

With this knowledge and the inspirational posts from friends, I decided to try and taper off sugar about three months ago. I’m not going to lie, it’s been an uphill battle. Some days I’m completely sugar free, other days I’m eating cookies. I’ve taken the proper steps to replace my sugary foods with healthy alternatives. For example, I now eat unsweetened oatmeal for breakfast and stick to nuts and fruit for snacks. I also try to eat more salads and veggies rather than sandwiches and bread.

Overall, I feel better just from cutting back on sugar. I’ve noticed my workouts improving and I don’t feel as tired as I did before. I also have noticed my emotions have balanced out, even when I’m experiencing my monthly cycle. Also, in relation to that, less cramps which means a less cranky Jen.

What’s your relationship with sugar like? Are you addicted? Are you trying to cut back or cut it out completely? What have you done that works?

Tapering off sugar was originally published on Self Evolve

Eat your veggies

It’s been a vegetable-themed week. The importance of vegetables is often overlooked, though. A lot of people think they are healthy if they eat a carrot once in awhile, but what they don’t know is that they should be eating 2-3 cups of vegetables a day. This may seem like a lot, but I find…

Eat your veggies was originally published on Self Evolve

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It’s been a vegetable-themed week. The importance of vegetables is often overlooked, though. A lot of people think they are healthy if they eat a carrot once in awhile, but what they don’t know is that they should be eating 2-3 cups of vegetables a day. This may seem like a lot, but I find it pretty attainable through a few lifestyle adjustments.

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First of all, I love salads. This wasn’t always the case, though. I had to find the veggies and ingredients that I liked in order to enjoy salads. Also, protein since just lettuce isn’t filling. Finding ingredients you enjoy is important. In addition to salads, I also enjoy snacking on veggies and cooking veggies as well. Some of my favorite recipes include roasted vegetables (i.e. Roasted Root Vegetable Lamb Stew) especially during the winter. In the summer, I tend to eat more raw vegetables as opposed to cooked ones. That way, I feel like I can keep my body cool as a cucumber.

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Some yummy salads I enjoy creating involve way more than just veggies, but have a solid veggie base. I like arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, radishes, green onions, celery, and tomatoes for a few vegetables. I also enjoy adding in sliced almonds, some berries, and some protein such as egg or chicken. A light dressing like oil and vinegar works perfectly, or a sweet vinaigrette. I try to avoid the heavier dressings in order to keep the salad healthy. Also no croutons! haha…

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There are some vegetables that I have a love/hate relationship with. For example, jalapeños. I LOVE raw jalapeños seeds and all, but they make me hiccup like no other. Does this happen to anyone else or am I just weird?

I found that I love certain vegetables raw and others cooked. Some of my favorite veggies are broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts (roasted, yum), kale, carrots, asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. What are your favorite vegetables? How do you like to cook or prepare your veggies?

Eat your veggies was originally published on Self Evolve