I have been training for the Music City Marathon, through this experience I keep hearing things that I know are only half true or not true at all.
These simple little things or gestures that are said in passing are why we have so much confusion and doubt in the whole food nutrition world.
Some thing like this:
"carb up before you run"
"eat a banana so you will not cramp"
"make sure you get your protein 30 minutes after your run"
"if you want to lose weight you need to run"
"a side stitch needs to be held by your hand when you are running"
These are just a few of the things that I have heard from inexperienced runners as well as very experienced runners. Some of them are simply not true, I will use whole food nutrition to de-bunk these phrases that are so over used.
Having carbs before a race isn't a bad idea unless you are trying to lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight then you probably have stored carbs and proteins that are sitting in your bodies fat. These stores will be used if you run on an empty stomach, granted you will need to be hydrated and this is only for short runs of 5 miles and under. If you are at your perfect weight you can still get by with running on an empty stomach but you will feel short of breath and a little light headed. If you do "carb up" before a run then make sure its a digestible whole carb, sprouted grains and seeds are perfect. They are perfect because your body will be able to break them down and send them to the proper cells.
Eating a banana is great for you but may have little to do with cramping if this where true than you could eat a banana for bowel cramping or for PMS. Potassium is good for you and great for the muscles but once again if your body is in starvation mode do to the lack of nutrition that you are giving it then the banana doesn't stand a chance of actually making it to the cramp.
Running is a great way to lose weight but not the only way to do so. You may already know that you need to get your heart rate up and keep it up for as long as you can. This is a great way to lose weight and is easier on the joints, you can achieve this by doing jump work like:
- Jump lunges
- Jump squats
- Stair work
- Circuit training
It can be down and as long as you are able to work hard, anything is possible.
Side stitches are common with any cardio intensive workout but they are not necessarily a muscle cramp as much as they are an expansion of the lungs. So much so that they burn or over stretch causing the pain that needs to be relaxed out through slow deep breathes.
I hope this helps you all on your quest of running, if you are training for a marathon then good luck! I know I am going to need too.