No, not Chi Running.
Chia…as in ch-ch-ch-chia!
But not quite the same as that.
I had read little tidbits here and there about fitness and running folks eating chia seeds, but hadn’t thought to give them a try until a) I heard they are talked about as a superfood in the book Born to Run (I just recently started reading it so I haven’t gotten to that yet) and b) I read fellow Fitfluential ambassador MizFit’s profession of love for the little seeds.
Even though I just had a big fat fail when I tried something that worked great before a run for someone else just last weekend, I was still willing to give chia a try. I mean chia is an all natural thing so I didn’t think it would have a negative effect on me like the energy shot I tried last week.
First I mixed up some chia gel: 1/3 cup of chia seeds plus 2 cups of water. I made the mixture the night before so that I wouldn’t have to wait for the seed to get gel-like before my run Saturday morning. I kept it in the fridge overnight.
I wasn’t sure how much to consume before my run so I did some googling and followed this suggestion. I spooned out 2 tablespoons and added about ½ a tablespoon of honey to make it taste better. The gel doesn’t taste bad on it’s own, but if I could describe the flavor, I’d say it’s “earthy” tasting. Sounds tasty, right? It has a slimy texture that is definitely not for everyone. I just tried to slurp it down and not think about the texture. I also had a banana and my usual shot of espresso.
It was chilly Saturday morning – about 30 degrees with a windchill of 20. I decided to hit the treadmill for a few miles to warm up before braving the cold. Sidenote: I find it to be crazy that I ran in short sleeves and a running skirt last weekend! This weather is ridic. Anyhow, I thought warming up on the treadmill would serve 2 purposes – it would get my body warm to face the cold and it would knock out a few miles so my 16 mile run outside would feel less daunting.
After 3 miles, I strapped on my hydration belt and hit the pavement. Physically, I think I did actually feel better than usual. My body didn’t feel as tired it generally does. Maybe it was all in my head. Who knows? I do like the health benefits of chia though and I think I’ll continue to have it before my long runs to see if it really is making a difference in how I feel.
For my long run run, I ended up doing 3 miles on the tready in about 32 minutes followed by 13.1 miles outside in 2:05:02. I couldn’t just stop at 13 miles because half marathons are my favorite and I like for my watch to say 13.1 at the end :). I really liked getting those miles out of the way in the beginning on the treadmill. I think that’s something I’ll try again.
It’s hard for me to say if I think the chia really helped me to have a better than usual run or if I just happened to be having a good run. I think the only way to find out is: more chia! I’m looking forward to seeing if it really will make a difference in my training when I eat it again before running. I’ll keep you posted!
If you’re interested in giving chia a try, don’t steal the seeds from your kids’ chia pets :). Chia seeds meant to be eaten can be purchased from health food stores and even many grocery stores. If you can’t find it in your local stores, it’s widely available on the internet.
Have you tried chia yet?
If not, does this picture of the slimy gel make you want to?
[If you want to learn more about the benefits of chia, this website has a great chia cheat sheet!]