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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I’m fairly new to running, I have been doing it for about 10 months and have been happy with my progress. Started with the couch to 5k programme then downloaded a 10K app. I have been doing pretty well and am up to 9k in about an hour. However, for about a fortnight now I feel that I have no energy, my legs feel really heavy and I don’t know why. I haven’t been ill, no injury or anything. What do people suggest I eat or drink to boost my energy levels on running days.
Thanks very much
 

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Hello Angad,
Well done not just for completing the 5k programme but also for continuing to 10k!. My own opinion is that the step from 5k to 10k can be tougher than the 5k.
Without knowing what runs you are doing, my guess is that your lack of stamina has nothing to do with food and drink and more to do with your mental expectations and physical activity. You are trying to hard and your expectations are too high!
You are an endurance runner. To build your endurance so that you can run longer distances is simple. Run slower for longer. While training you should never be out of breath (Quite different when racing) so that you are developing your aerobic energy system. Forget about going for an 8k or 9k run, instead think about time only and go for (say) an hours run or an 80 minute run. Slowly. Much slower than the 6.7min/km you have been doing. Set objectives for every run that are not km based, but could be based for example on time, or to visit an area you have not been before, or to do an out and back to a specific location, or to go and see the forest and enjoy nature.
You will find that you will need to slow down during your run to avoid getting out of breath. That's normal and good, you should not be trying to maintain the same pace.
Without getting into the complexities, every runner has plenty of fat that is the energy base for endurance running while you are training. But if you train too quickly, you will use the carbohydrates stored in your muscles and get tired. When you just use your fat as your energy source, you don't need any drinks or foods, until you get back home.
Best wishes
Graeme
(I am an endurance running coach)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello Angad,
Well done not just for completing the 5k programme but also for continuing to 10k!. My own opinion is that the step from 5k to 10k can be tougher than the 5k.
Without knowing what runs you are doing, my guess is that your lack of stamina has nothing to do with food and drink and more to do with your mental expectations and physical activity. You are trying to hard and your expectations are too high!
You are an endurance runner. To build your endurance so that you can run longer distances is simple. Run slower for longer. While training you should never be out of breath (Quite different when racing) so that you are developing your aerobic energy system. Forget about going for an 8k or 9k run, instead think about time only and go for (say) an hours run or an 80 minute run. Slowly. Much slower than the 6.7min/km you have been doing. Set objectives for every run that are not km based, but could be based for example on time, or to visit an area you have not been before, or to do an out and back to a specific location, or to go and see the forest and enjoy nature.
You will find that you will need to slow down during your run to avoid getting out of breath. That's normal and good, you should not be trying to maintain the same pace.
Without getting into the complexities, every runner has plenty of fat that is the energy base for endurance running while you are training. But if you train too quickly, you will use the carbohydrates stored in your muscles and get tired. When you just use your fat as your energy source, you don't need any drinks or foods, until you get back home.
Best wishes
Graeme
(I am an endurance running coach)
Hello. Thanks so much for replying, I really appreciate it.
I took your advice and took it a bit slower today and I did feel better and I enjoyed it more. I’m not thinking of training for a race or anything, I’m running for fitness . I’m 44 and used to play a lot of netball so the one good thing that’s come out of this period for me is to reestablish a fitness regime.
However, with regard to food and drink though, what should I eat and drink on the day of a run? I normally run after work and before tea. What do you suggest I eat and drink throughout the day?
Thanks very much for answering my questions.
Angharad
 

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Hello Angharad,
Assuming you run at least 2 hours after your lunchtime meal, you dont need to specially eat or drink anything before your run. The only proviso I would say is that your lunchtime meal should be a sandwich / salad type meal and not a roast dinner with starter and pudding!
You have loads and loads of stored energy in the fat within your body - everyone has - so you don't need any food or drink in preparation for a run. (I am a morning runner, just cup pf tea before I go and then about 70km a week, including one or two 20km runs. I eat when I get back home, within 30 minutes). However my daughter has to eat something before she runs, not for the energy but to keep her stomach calm, so she might have half a bagel or something similarly non fatty.
If you really want to change your diet as part of a holistic approach to fitness, then I strongly suggest this book can change your life. Its title might be a bit offputting, but I can assure you a large part of the book covers diet and mental health as well as running.
Run easy!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for all the advice and for taking the time to reply.
Angharad
 
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