From the Vault: Breakfast of Champions

Running has altered my diet, and I am eating food that is better for me in general. But I have to admit I do experience a noticeable sugar burst if I eat badly before running in the morning.

Normally I’ll have a bagel and peanut butter or Kashi cinnamon shredded wheat, with my usual large cup of Kona coffee and two raw sugars. But I was bad on my birthday and had two Homer Simpson-style donuts for breakfast. I mean chocolate frosting and multi-colored sprinkles and all. I then went out and ran my fastest six miles of the year.

The best race of my life, mile for mile, was the 1:41 half-marathon I ran one week after I had fainted about a half-hour after a 20-miler (low blood sugar). It scared me so much I loaded up on sugar and caffeine before the race and I was totally wired on the starting line. I ran what was at the time a five-mile PR over the last five miles of the race and made Roadrunner “mbeep-beep” noises as I passed people.

I’ve never been able to re-create that feeling, though I also never again mainlined simple sugars like I did that day. I’m not planning to switch to a junk food diet, but now I’m wondering if my distance running would improve with a sensible combination of complex carbs and simple sugars just before I race.

I’m going to experiment with this. I don’t want to undermine your good eating habits, but I’ll let you know how it turns out, either way.