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Slushies vs. frozen underwear? Plus, eat your breakfast!
by on Thursday, June 4, 2015  (4 comments)

A couple good topics for this week's round-up. Who could pass up the headline "Slushies vs. Frozen Underwear for Hot-Weather Workout"? Not only a killer headline but an interesting topic. Also, how important is eating breakfast for your running if you run in the evening?

Slushies vs. frozen underwear?

Would you rather wear frozen underwear or eat a slushie? Easy call, right?

Well, maybe not if you're interested in performance in hot weather. Or at least not the answer you were just thinking.

Maybe we should go for that frozen underwear after all.

But the results also indicate that if you use only one type of precooling, you might want to concentrate on icing your skin instead of your stomach, since the effects seem to linger longer.

It's important to note that both methods of cooling had benefits but it appears cooling the skin is more long lasting than cooling the gut.

The practical take home of this is do what you can to keep cool before a warm weather run. Cooling the skin is better than cooling the gut but both are good.

Eat your breakfast!

We always hear about the importance of breakfast. How important is it for runners?

Apparently, very important:

They measured exercise performance (30 minutes of steady-state cycling followed by a 30-minute time-trial) at 5 p.m., with or without breakfast. The subjects had eaten as much as they wanted for lunch (and the subjects did indeed eat about 200 calories more after skipping breakfast compared to when they ate breakfast), but this wasn't enough to make up the deficit. Time-trial performance was 4.5 percent worse after skipping breakfast.

As noted in that article, it is important to note that these were habitual breakfast eaters. It's possible that those who don't normally eat breakfast would experience different results.

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Too bad pre-cooling doesn't do much.

On the breakfast part - I wonder what the difference is for non breakfast eaters and what the difference would be of an AM time trial (time for most races) versus the PM time trial.

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Well, pre-cooling does some. It's just more effective if you're cooling the skin.

As for the breakfast questions, the first is an interesting question. I'd love to see a study done on those who habitually don't eat breakfast. As for AM time trial performance, it's pretty widely accepted that breakfast is an even greater benefit. You're glycogen depleted when you wake up. You need something to replenish your glycogen stores. The question of evening running comes up because people say they can replenish with lunch. For habitual breakfast eaters at least, that doesn't seem to be the case.

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So the fact that I get up early in the AM and run without any fuel means I am running on low to depleted glycogen stores? This would mean that my runs are more difficult than they need to be. I should experiment with a very fast converting (to glycogen) food before my AM runs and see if I get any improvement in energy levels.

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It doesn't mean you're running on empty, just that you're not fully topped off. For a typical easy run, you might not even notice a difference. However, it wouldn't hurt to experiment with foods that digest quickly and your stomach might be able to handle.

Remember, if you do so, experiment on easy days first before introducing the change on workout or long run days.

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