I’ll tell you what: it’s not a good idea to start the day off with dinner. Just ask the Manchild. Actually, ask the Manchild’s mother, who, after nearly exhausting her entire hand of tricks (and her daily ration of patience), finally persuaded the boy to take a bite of sweet potato soup. He conceded that it was “good,” which then led to five more bites and an empty bowl, a mere 15 hours after said bowl was initially filled.

But that is neither here nor there. And where we want to be is here, talking about running and not about the difficulties of eating the right things at the right times. Right? Or maybe we want to be there, running through the warming springtime. Because running is fun and relieves stress and and increases your supply of energy and patience. (Too bad I went running before dinner breakfast this morning . . . . )

Actually, now that I think about it, I do want to talk about eating the right things at the right times because, as it turns out, that is kind of important when running, too. As much as I like to ignore the logistics of running long distances most of the time, it’s not really a good idea. It can make me as cranky as when I’ve spent both my evening and my morning trying to get my kid to eat his dinner. And also, it’s dangerous. Remember when I nearly had to carry Micah back to our hotel? I rest my case.

Today’s tip: Know when and how to refuel on long runs. If you are planning to be out for longer than an hour and a half, it’s a good idea to take something along, but don’t wait until the 90 minute mark to take a bite (or a sip, if you are using sports drinks as your fuel) because by then you’ll probably already be lagging. Eat something after an hour, and then every 45-60 minutes after that. Just a bite or two at a time. You don’t want to make yourself sick by forcing your body to do too much at once.

What you take isn’t as important, but be sure it is something that is going to give you energy — carbs, simple and complex. The sugar will give you a quick boost while the complex stuff works its way into your system to give you more sustained energy. There are all sorts of energy bars, gels, jelly beans, etc. that are supposed to be good for runners. We used Power Bars while we trained for our first two marathons, but we haven’t decided what to use this time around. I’m thinking I could certainly use the excuse to make granola bars more often, and they’d fit the bill nicely.

I’m also thinking I would definitely not take any sweet potato soup. It’s really best eaten at dinnertime.

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