Food before a run?


I like to run in the mornings when possible so usually get up, cup of tea, running gear on and out the door. So mostly running on an empty stomach. I was wondering if I would run better if I ate and if so what is the best breakfast food. Light but providing energy. I'm thinking particularly about park run days when I like to try and beat my PB. What do other people do?


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  • I always ran before eating but I noticed on a very busy day when an evening run was the only option, with a belly full of food, I ran well, so doesn't seem to make much difference. I like a slice of toast with a boiled egg for breakfast!

  • Thanks, I find in the mornings I'm quite happy to run on empty. If I know I am going to run in the evening I always make sure I eat during the day and feel like I need the food for energy. I guess it seems to be working OK for me for now! I am also a fun of a boiled egg and toast!

  • I am happy to run 5/6K from my door, on empty but anything more and fuel is important, especially if you're pushing for a PB. I would also eat before a Parkrun just because of the extra time to get there and back! I eat porridge for breakfast every day - with a dash of honey, chopped almonds and fresh fruit (usually strawberries, blueberries or banana - usually a combo of at least two!) I also (rather bizarrely) love pineapple in my porridge! Basically, I just love porridge! πŸ˜€ After long runs - good old chocolate milk (If it's good enough for Mo Farah it's good enough for me!) and some peanut butter on toast!

  • Thanks, how long do you leave it between eating and running?

  • About an hour minimum, hour and a half is better but we're all different. I can run on a banana like Noamy but not much more!

  • I usually have a banana before running in the morning, but if I'm aiming for more than 5k then I try & have something a bit more. It was fruit yogurt & toasted oats this morning. But if I do eat anthing more than my banana, I need to leave it at least an hour before I run. Experimenting to see what works best for you is the way to go I'd say. ☺

  • Thanks, good advice!

  • I like to run on an empty stomach but I'm not doing huge distances yet. I'm still on my weight loss journey so might change that when I get to Target Weight.

    I do like a coffee and three different asthma inhalers before a morning run, though, so it's just as well I'm not trying to fit in breakfast too!

  • I can't do anything on empty and believe you need to fuel your body properly. I always eat porridge with honey and then wait an hour before heading out. For long runs then I'll eat more - usually porridge and toast and peanut butter. Some people can't eat anything and can run ok on empty but you should experiment and see what suits you.

  • I have found I need to eat light before a run. With the shorter runs I could go for a run before breakfast. But as they have got longer I do have to eat, something light.

    half a bowl of cereal and a banana usually does the trick.

  • I would deffo have my breakfast. I have 70g of oats cooked with water, bit of honey or jam to sweeten it. Wait for an hour or 90 minutes and then run. You would put fuel in your car if you had a journey planned.

    If you don't have enough nutrition your legs will give up. We are all different though but I just have to eat. Porridge is my go-to food to fuel my runs as it's slow release. You have to cook it fully of it can be indigestible

    My mate swears by two thick slices of wholemeal toast spread with peanut butter. Muesli is good too, perhaps with some fruit and yogurt, but for a longer distance, eg 10k and over I would do porridge

    Parkrun is great! Have fun 😊

  • Thanks for all the replies. I think for the longer runs and the park runs when I want to be quick I will try to eat. Just means I will have to get up earlier to digest it!

  • I mostly run on empty with no problems, occasionally have a half portion of porridge with peanut butter in it, but mainly before cycling rather than running. I find eating well the night before and making sure I am well hydrated the day before is fine for me. I did a triathlon on 4 spoons of porridge 2 hours before because I felt too nervous to eat, but I didn't run out of energy! Only had some zero sugar sports drink and felt good .

  • Porridge! I make it in the microwave, oats and milk, takes 2 mins! I can run straight after eating it...

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