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To break the fast, or not?

Maria has been studying nutrition for the past three years and she is going to make a fabulous nutritionist and dietician when she completes her studies shortly. Why? Well, of course, she knows her stuff, but it’s not just because of this. It’s also because she is a big pain the arse.

Let me explain. Maria understands that we need fuel. Some people need it more than others. Men need more fuel, generally speaking, than women. Those with physically demanding jobs might need more fuel than sedentary souls. And if you run, well, you need fuel for that, too. To train, you need fuel. You can’t go on a road trip without filling the tank. Humans are the same.

The problem is that I have always been rubbish at this: eating to run, thinking about good training foods. It’s not that I’m one of these skin-and-bones food hating

Are you enjoying that, Laura? It’s FOOD!

exercise freaks. No Sir, I love food. And I love running. Just combining them is difficult for me; making them work together. The first day of Cruce de los Andes (our 3-day, 106km trek/run from Chile to Argentina), was eight hours of climbing up a volcano, trekking in snow around it and running the steep slopes back down again. We had prepared peanut butter rolls to see us through, as well as energy bars and fruits. I know I had a banana on the way up, probably because Maria said it was time we ate something (we were about to start climbing through snow). At the top I was done after a bite of the peanut butter sandwich. “Eat it,” Maria said. “Just finish it. You need something.” Slowly, so slowly I chewed. And don’t even get me started on those gels and energy bars and balancing calories… I’ve been running in the mornings back in London and I always have the same food dilemma. I’m not someone who wakes up ravenous. While Martin has already gobbled tea and toast, I’m just boiling the kettle, waking my insides up. I’ll always have breakfast “in a bit”. So, I don’t eat before I head out running. However, what this means is that I’ll feel I’m running on empty for the last part of my run. I know this. And I have tried eating before I go. The reverse happens. I feel sluggish and slow at the start, and I hate that as well.

So, I am open to suggestions and nagging. What light snack or breakfast works for you in the morning before a run? What options do I have? I am ready to try them. You’ve got a carte blanche to be as big a pain in the arse as you want. I’m listening. Finally.