It's what we could all use, right? A boost of energy. Maybe that's why you work out or you've heard, "Hey, if you work out, then you're going to feel more energized." And maybe you're in a place where "I don't feel so great." Well, today we want to talk about what are the things you can do to boost your energy before you go run.
I'm Jesse Funk, the founder of Solpri.com and the host of this show Runner's High, where we talk about everything running and endurance related. So if you're a runner or a triathlete or an endurance athlete of some kind, you're going to want to stick around for more episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. Hit the subscribe button mid-corner. So you get more episodes on your YouTube home page every time you come on and you can see me and hang out and talk new topics.
Today, we want to talk about how to boost your energy before you go run. And I think this is something that we're all looking for, at least in this kind of Americanized culture that we live in. It's like, how do I have more energy and how do I do more and how do I be better? I think this kind of aspiration to be better and do more, all these kind of things is, at least in our culture, in North American culture, comes very naturally. I can't speak to any other part of the world, but I think it's a natural tendency.
However, I would suggest that it has limits. So we're going to discuss those limits. But first, let's go through just a few easy things you can kind of mark off your list. If you're not doing or are doing that, if you adjust these things, you can feel a little bit better.
First, are you trying to lose weight while running, while working out? And by that you're now fasting before you'll work out? Well, stop. It is not always that you have to just totally cut out calories to then lose weight. It is not easy by any means to lose weight, but sometimes moving your calories around for the day and being a little bit more strategic with how you're doing that can be a way to feel more energized and have more energy, especially if you are not taking in enough fats and proteins.
So if you're only taking in like simple sugars and like noncomplex carbs, then you're going to get like basically a sugar rush and then you get insulin to come in in your bloodstream and then that suppresses how you feel. Thus you kind of get this real sleepy feeling, lethargic feeling after you've gone through this cycle.
If you use like, say, your breakfast or if you run in the morning like I do, if you use that meal as some maybe simple carbs that get you a little boost of energy just right away for your run to supplement the glycogen that you already store in your muscles. And then you focus largely on protein. You probably want to nix the fat for one meal or keep it to a minimum, then that's probably going to serve you better than if you go and try to run fasted and then eat afterwards.
In that case of losing weight, you have to know that you're going to continue to burn calories after you get done running as well. So having that, the energy to complete your workout and be digesting that food while you're running some can sometimes lead to a better kind of energy situation than if you try to pack it all in afterwards. The second one here is avoid caffeine.
And this is such a kind of counterintuitive thing. We have all these energy drinks, you know, caffeine pills. You can get caffeine in your race gels, all those kinds of things. And you think, well, caffeine gives me energy. Kind of not really. So caffeine gives you the perception of not feeling tired. Here's my personal bias. I stopped drinking soda when I was 12 years old because I wanted to be better at running. So if I give you that, then, you know, I have a little bit of bias here against caffeine. And the reason was the caffeine.
So here's my kind of intuitive suggestion here. If you use caffeine all the time, like we do in our North American culture, coffee, soda, energy drinks, it's all like power through. My suggestion is to cut it out. You're probably going to feel bad initially, but you're going to get a better sense of how darn tired you actually are. And that's one of the reasons I continue this habit to this day.
And it's been 20 some odd years since I've had a soda, is that I want to know how tired I am so that I can more accurately gauge how much rest do I need so that I know, hey, when I get to the next workout, if I'm not feeling great. Yeah, you have the option to use caffeine to power through, but it's your body's natural signal. Like, maybe we need more rest.
So I want to be more in tune with how do I feel? This is not an immediate fix. Caffeine is the immediate fix where you go, "Oh, this makes me feel better immediately" Except it's just a Band-Aid. It doesn't really solve the underlying problem of potentially chronic fatigue. It just kind of makes you feel better, but doesn't address that you actually need more rest. So that's why I like to suggest cutting out caffeine.
Now, that being said, I know you may be a detractor and say, "Well, Jesse, I know that caffeine boosts performance." True. It absolutely does. And especially in endurance athletes like us, it can be useful for going and burning fuel more efficiently. However, there are some caveats to that. And that one, like I just mentioned, if you use it all the time, you're masking fatigue, but then you can also build up a tolerance to it and it be less efficacious when you go to use it during a race or a hard workout.
So I would say use it more selectively than simply as a panacea for everything to be okay and just to feel better energy-wise. Lastly, if you've been using caffeine and you don't feel like you get the energy boost that some of your friends do, you may not be alone. I have suspicion I'm in this group, but there are people that actually digest and metabolize caffeine differently.
Some people really don't get the effects of caffeine because of the way it's metabolized by their body as well as other people. So if that's been you and you keep trying to use caffeine, it's a good reason to just cut it out entirely. So let's get on to the next one.
My last tip for you is going to be pretty simple, I guess here's a sub tip and that's hydrate, which is what we focus on here, Solpri as well as other things. But that's always on my mind. So if you're not hydrating, you're not drinking enough, you want to do that.
But that's not really my last tip. It's kind of a sub tip here and my last tip is give yourself plenty of time to warm up. I don't know how many times. I mean, countless times over the years where I feel just a little stiff, a little lethargic, or just so-so getting started. But I give myself plenty of time to warm up, develop a great warm up routine, which if you don't know how to do that, I've done a video on that. Stick around to the end. We'll link to that here. It'll be clickable somewhere on the screen.
If you give yourself plenty of time to warm up, you can kind of get your body going, get it around to metabolizing some of that stored glycogen, metabolizing some of the fat that you store and lubricate your joints. That's always important. Then you can start to feel better again. None of these things are really this silver bullet-perfect magic pill that you can take to make things better.
But if you do them habitually, then you can feel more energized consistently. And a warm up routine not only improves performance by doing all of those things, but then helps you feel better. It, you know we used to run four or 5 a.m. sometimes in college for workouts, so getting up before the sun's up to go get in speedwork. It's tough. Your body still wants to be sleeping, and that may be you trying to get in your workout before you need to go to work.
So if you do that warmup, you kind of gradually allow yourself to warm up. Then it doesn't feel like such a shock. You don't feel so dragged down, weighted down, pulled back when you go to actually do the running portion. And even then you can kind of gradually increase your pace into the run, even if you're doing speedwork or you're doing long run, whatever it is. If you don't just try to like kick it hard out of the door, then you can actually feel better as you get into the run.
It's so simple on the surface, right? Warm up, go slow to start with. But there is this kind of mental trigger where if you're used to just slamming it right out the door, you have to be really mindful of that and kind of break yourself of that habit. So those are my three kind of big suggestions on how to have more energy before you go run.
If you want to know more about how to design that warm up. My tips, the things you look at, plyometrics exercises, those kinds of things. That video will be coming up here on the screen shortly. You can click on it wherever my video editor has stuck it. And I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.