In my first training blog, I mentioned the importance of routine for both dogs and humans. The routine you establish to get yourself out the door on a regular basis to run should include breakfast before your run too.
Many people believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While I might treat each meal as equally important, and something you should never skip no matter how tired the hand that feeds you might be, breakfast does stand out as essential to start your day off right. For me, breakfast is why I get up in the morning, it is why I wake up my parents and it is quite often what I dream of at night.
Unfortunately, many runners believe that it is not a good idea to eat breakfast before they head out the door for a morning run. This is not to say that you should plan to visit an all-you-can-eat buffet before your next long run (If you know of any such places for dogs, please let me know.), but some form of sustenance should be ingested.
As with most aspects of training for a long-distance race or simply going for a run of any length in miles or time on your feet, there should be a good deal of trial and error. My parents bought a few harnesses before finding one that suited me. You have likely tried many running shoes, shorts, shirts or socks before choosing what suits you best. The same goes for finding the right breakfast to eat before a run.
Some people have stomachs which can handle eggs, bacon, French toast, burritos, pancakes and all sorts of delicious breakfast foods, which apparently are traditionally taboo amongst runners. Most people, however, will get queasy just reading a menu of such food. The goal is to find what breakfast foods work best for you. Is it leftover pizza or simply toast? For me, I tend to work best on the same daily dry food and some moist meat and potatoes, followed by a nice treat when I finish my morning workout. And don’t forget to drink water. That is what my dad tells me to do at the end of each walk.
But as a runner, you might prefer something other than dry and moist dog food. I know that I do. However, your go-to breakfast might not work for you prior to a run, which is why you will need to try different foods until you find the menu which works best for you. Try plain toast, or a bagel without the schmear or something equally bland to start. Add more calories, especially carbs, as you continue to learn what your stomach can handle before a run. The goal is to find foods which will provide you with the energy you will need to complete a short weekday run, or to top off your energy supply before undertaking a weekend long run or even a marathon.
The timing of your breakfast in relation to your run is another factor to consider. Just like the old-time idea of waiting to go swimming after a meal, it is a good idea to let your food digest a bit before your run. Although I prefer to take care of my business during my walks, most people prefer to take care of their morning constitutional before heading out the door. Be sure to time your breakfast so that it provides you with the energy you need to run, but also gives you time to take care of any business you might need to finish before you run.
As for me, I prefer to have a small break after eating breakfast and heading out the door for my morning walk. Sometimes I am waiting for the sun to rise, but more often than not, I am waiting for mom and dad to finish their coffee (which is good, because I don’t want to be one of those dogs embarrassed by parents who drink coffee while out for a walk).
Millie Sauvé Stark is the official mascot of Running Arizona and has been since she was found during a group run a few years back. Each day she reminds her human parents to enjoy the time you spend out for a walk – the more, the better.