A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Tuesdays on the Run: First night training!

on October 27, 2015

I’ll confess, running at night has not worked well for me in the past. I’ve never been able to get the food/stomach management right. The only night race that I’ve done was a midnight run a couple of years ago (here). I made the poor choice to eat yogurt pre-race and learned that does not work for me. It felt like I had a ROCK in my stomach. Ugh.

Sweaty selfie in the dark!

Sweaty selfie in the dark!

Managing the gastrointestinal part of a night run is my primary reason for doing night training runs this week to get ready for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. My Des Moines Half Marathon training is probably going to carry through the 13.1 miles just fine, especially as I have no time goal other than to have fun. I just want to avoid being on the side of the road with an angry stomach in the middle of the race! Definitely not Disney magical!

Last night I headed out at 9 pm for a little 3 mile run. I’d eaten dinner at 6-6:30 pm (sandwich, soda – bad idea, butternut squash soup & carrots) so I had plenty of time to digest and go to the bathroom before the run. If I was planning on anything longer than 3 miles, I would definitely have avoided the carrots and squash soup just to avoid the fiber, but thought I’d be okay for a short run. For my practice longer run and for race day, I’ll plan on eating my usual race breakfast for a light dinner a couple of hours pre-race (coffee, bagel, PB, banana, juice or Gatorade). My bigger meal for the day will be lunch with small, high carb, low fiber snacks through the afternoon before the race.

Don't I look thrilled to be heading out at 9p?

Don’t I look thrilled to be heading out at 9p? Also, that weird puff on the side of my head is where my hair is growing back after the lupus flares. Cute right?

One thing I noticed was horrible acid reflux and then I realized that I ALWAYS have reflux when I run at night. While that could reflect food choices, it could also reflect the fact that your lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that closes the opening between the stomach and esophagus and keeps things in the stomach) relaxes naturally at night. Thanks to the side effects of my lupus meds, I tend to tip easily over into reflux territory these days anyway and all of the jostling against that relaxed muscle when I run means of course I have reflux running at night. Eating bland food in the afternoon and evening pre-race and taking both my Zantac and my Tums before the race should help. Fingers crossed! I’ll keep you posted as to how it works in my test runs throughout the week.

Another issue with night training: I'm a big fraidy cat and literally jumped & squealed at my own shadow last night!

Another issue with night training: I’m a big fraidy cat and literally jumped & squealed at my own shadow last night!

Other things to consider with a night race:

  • Stay off your feet as much as possible in the afternoon to rest!
  • Be sure to eat something post-race. I may not feel like eating much at 2 am but if I’m going to refuel properly and avoid a miserable morning-after the race, I need to eat a good mix of carbs and proteins in the early hours post-race.
  • Bring clothes to change into post-race so a) I’m not freezing in sweaty clothes while I get that food to refuel and b) I don’t wake my family up as I struggle out of sweaty race clothes back in the hotel room at 3 am.

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is running a night race, so I’ll be sure to check out everyone’s posts for more tips. Be sure to check out Patty, Erika and Marcia for the rest of the link up!



12 responses to “Tuesdays on the Run: First night training!

  1. Kristie says:

    Make sure you test the bananas for sure, while they are great in the morning, I have found they lead to more potty breaks at night! We’re all different tho!

  2. mkadens1 says:

    This makes me nervous for RnR Vegas as I’m not a night running fan either. I’d rather be in bed. Thanks for linking up!

  3. Meg B says:

    I never thought how hard it would be to fuel for a night race. Good for you for testing things out first!

  4. I’m also a big scaredy cat. I tried running last winter after work. It was early but dark because it was the winter, so I was still a little afraid! I’m still intrigued by the idea of a night race but think I will do one vicariously through you. 🙂

  5. I’m with Meg… I never realized how much thought had to go into fueling for a night race vs a morning race!

  6. Oh man, I hate night running. No matter what I eat or how little of it I eat, or how much digesting I do, I will get acid reflux. I basically have to run right after work before dinner if I do it in the evenings!

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