Guide for the Rookie Runner / Why not eat something?
I have often been asked what I think about when I run. In fact, the answer is inherent in the question itself. Simply, one must think about anything except for running.
While you and I have been torturing ourselves, struggling with the deadly heat index of August and trying heroically to complete our training, I have been wracking my brain over how best to distract oneself during the torturous running. My answer: Try not to think about running.
No longer: How much time remains and how many kilometers do I still have to run? The idea is to use a form of mental repression, simply to think about something else. After all, there is much behind the idea of the loneliness of the long-distance runner. Even if I am a kind of priest who is trying to instill the practice of running, I cannot deny that the following phrase must be added to the previous sentence: "The boring loneliness of running."
I have often been asked what I think about when I run. In fact, the answer is inherent in the question itself. Simply, one must think about anything except for running. I, for example, try while I am running to formulate opening sentences for reports, articles, screenplays, plays and books that will never be written. Innumerable sentences pass though my mind and are forgotten. I also fantasize about what I would do if I were to win the national lottery. Running is a wonderful opportunity for settling accounts: In a rapid flash I bestow money on one acquaintance and decide to take revenge on another and not help him. One can pass a great deal of time this way.
There are other means of dispelling the boredom and distracting oneself. Run with a partner or in a group. Listen to music, look at the landscape or at the passersby. In short, just don't think about the mechanical activity in which you are absorbed.
While running, it is possible - and desirable - to eat and drink. Not only is this important, but it will also make you forget, even if only for short periods of time, the bother of running. Thus far the column has not dealt with this important issue at all, so as not to make your adjustment more difficult - apart from the recommendations to drink before and after running, and in these days of excess perspiration and fluid loss, it is necessary to drink a lot more in order not to dehydrate. But now that you have several weeks' experience, it is a good idea to talk about eating and drinking. And not only before and after the run.
It is very much recommended to set out for a run with water and a bit of food. The question is how to carry them. You can take a squirt bottle of water in your hand, but this is not very comfortable. I prefer to wear a special compact belt with four half-liter bottles. You can find this equipment either through online running sites or in local shops. For those of you training to run distances of more than 10 kilometers, bring something light to eat. You can carry your food in a fanny pouch or a pocket.
What should you eat? Of course a stuffed pita is not recommended. Neither are french fries and a hamburger. You need something that can be digested quickly - such as energy snacks, of which a great variety exists. I prefer the liquid version - these snacks do not need to be chewed, and they are digested more quickly than solid snacks, which are also somewhat rubbery. Unfortunately, liquid snacks are also expensive (NIS 6 to NIS 10 each), viscous and sticky, and are best digested with the help of a few sips of water.
You can also take a few pieces of chocolate, a banana, grapes or dried fruit. Take note: When you start sipping water and eating as you run, several things will happen. Your pulse rate will accelerate immediately by a number of beats and until you digest the food you will feel a bit lethargic, and in many cases you will also slow your pace of running. But within a few minutes, the "gift" you have given your body will strengthen you and endow you with a sense of new strength.