What can I eat before longer runs without throwing up?

So far so good. After the first week of this program I realised I couldn't run with food on my stomach as it would, to put it nicely, answer back. So, for a whole year now, I have been going out rain or shine, on 2 glasses of water and everything has been hunkey dorey. Until now that is. I now run for an hour (and it is also very hot even at 6.30 a.m.) and I find a) that I'm getting tired after 35 minutes or so and b) that my head starts throbbing. Real athletes have told me that it's mad to run on an empty stomach for more than 5k especially after not eating for eight hours. Common sense thinks they're right. But how do I avoid being sick? Could chocolate be a solution (please say yes!)?

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27 Replies

  • Hi Delia, not sure about the chocolate my love, think it may make you very thirsty, have that when you get home as a reward. I run first thing in the morning mostly and have a cup of green T + small banana or a cereal bar. Also a big glass of water. The one thing I have noticed too is if I drink very cold water after a run it upsets my stomach so I leave a covered glass of water out so on my return its not too cold. Hope this helps and I agree its not good trying to do a long run on empty but I do have my evening meal about 6.00pm so its a long time to go without. Happy running:)

  • Thanks Oldgirl. I've tried bananas in the past and they repeat themeselves I'm afraid , as does cereal and milk :-( At least I eat at 8 -9pm :-)

  • How about a fruit smoothie or oat cakes with cream cheese thats slow release. Or slice of toast with peanut butter.

  • I'm going to give the toast a try, but with jam or honey. Peanut butter (yummy) and smoothies (yummy) won't stay still in this stomach!

  • I had kind of the same problem at the beginning of the programme and ran on empty almost every run of the programme. Sometimes I had to do my run in the evenings and somehow got used to have something in my stomach whilst running. I still prefer to run in the morning just with two glasses of water and/or a cup of coffee but if I really have to eat something before a run, I do fine with a small apple, a peach or a nectarine. A slice of toast without anything on it is also ok for me. I get sick when I have some dairy products before a run so porridge, as many recommend, is no option for me. Perhaps you could try to get used slowly to run with something in your stomach. Start perhaps with half an apple or whatever you like but just a little bit. I think it's possible as I get sick less often now when I have to run in the evening (and I don't eat different because of the run). A colleague of mine is also a runner and she told me once about an incident with a carrot so I think carrots are not recommendable.

  • Now that sounds sensible, start off with a bit and build up. The mind boggles at the thought of the carrot ...

  • Delia, I 'ran on empty' (with 2 x glasses of water) right from the start of C25K, until I'd got to the stage of running for about an hour. I, too, found I would start wilting a bit after 50 mins, so followed advice I'd read to drink a glass of fruit smoothie. That seems to help a little.

    If I'm running for long later than 10am (ie more than 15 hours since my evening meal) I have a small bowl of cereal with soya milk. I'm currently trying a diary-free diet to see it that helps prevent 'runner's trots' that are a problem on longer runs. I don't know if this is helping as, due to injury/recovery, I've not run more than one hour since getting strict about the diet and not suffered with the problem.

  • I can't run on empty, but I make sure to leave at least 1.5 hours between eating and running. If I'm running in the morning I have some Greek yoghurt and granola - fairly easy on the stomach.

    Maybe a handful of jelly babies would be enough to keep your energy levels up until you can eat properly long-time?

  • Jelly babies? Really?

  • Really! I've read on lots of running forums that they are more palatable than running gels and work the same way - concentrated energy. They are an easy, quick way of keeping your blood sugar up :-)

  • Hubby has just informed me that it's actually the carbs in jelly babies that keeps you going - he used them to get him through the British Three Peaks climbing challenge :-)

  • Gosh .. 'runners trots' I was actually going to ask a question about that too, Sheila, I hadn't linked it to running at all. What an idiot I am :-) But the smoothie you and Oldgirl suggest, is it with or without milk? (I have lived in Italy for yonks and forget these things!)

  • Yeah, "runners trots"...I wrote on this topic a few weeks ago and also added the link of a funny article (at least funny for me). The article is a bit graphic but the guy writes so well... If you're interested: healthunlocked.com/!/#couch...

  • Delia, I drink fruit smoothie made entirely with fruit and no milk. I buy it ready-nade in cartons from the supermarket, but you could just as easily make it from fresh fruit.

    Re the runner's trots. I have no problem with this whatsoever except when I run. I'm do not have a dairy allergy or intolerance, but have read that it can be helpful to us poor souls who suffer when running to eliminate it from our diet. I see no harm in trying as there are alternatives.

  • Me too! I appear to have developped it of late. Was going to blog about it and play on the term "fartlek' (there must be a pun there somewhere Sheila!) and then thought better of it :-D

    Will try smoothies with no milk Cheers!

  • You might want to try Almond Milk, it is delicious on cereal, especially muesli.

  • Grapefruit and toast. Not together, obviously. A portion of grapefruit, then a slice of toast & smallish cup of coffee. That's breakfast every day, running or not. I don't like running "full" so a light breakfast is just enough. And Runner's Trots is a whole other [unsavoury!] topic.

  • Interesting. I tend always to run first thing and never eat or drink anything beforehand, but now that even the early morning temperatures are above 24C I am wilting much earlier than before - generally managing my 5k under 30 minutes every other day but longer than that is a real struggle. Last week I tried a 10k route that I used to manage without problem and only got to 6k - plus I'm also getting leg cramps again in the evenings, which |I haven't had since I started running - so maybe the heat and the increased level of sweating is draining the body of minerals, which aren't being properly replaced (despite copious amounts of Rosé and Rioja the night before).

  • Hee hee, it's the vino of the night before Landesman! Could try that at dawn perhaps!

  • Seriously, have you tried eating bananas? One a day should help the cramps. Although in this heat you cannot buy too many they turn black very quickly.

  • I quite like bananas but I'm not sure I could stomach one before a run - but they are supposed to help with cramps (as are Magnesium tablets) so I'll be sampling one or two to see if it helps. Even though, as you say, in the heat they go unpleasantly dry and sugary (and black) very quickly.

  • Ooh no - much as I enjoy my wine there's a time and place ... Though I do remember seeing my (Spanish) brother-in-law enjoying his pre-work breakfast at a bar in Alicante of a huge brandy and a large cigar- but he wasn't going for a run after to be fair ... ;-)

  • Hi Delia - the bbc good food website has a few ideas at: bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide...

    The banana fairy cakes have white chocolate in them :)

    I have a cup of tea and a crumpet with honey before I head out. Did try the banana thing once.....never again!!

    Susan xx

  • Thanks for that link susan, it's a good 'un :-)

  • Hi Delia I make my smoothies with banana, raspberries, kiwi and add some blackcurrent & apple dilute juice. Rasps are picked once a year and frozen in large quantities for delicious puddings and smoothies. Other combo is banana/peach/kiwi with mango & orange dilute juice. But of course any fruits you like can be used, stick it all in a blender or I use my Bamix mixer it takes seconds and lovely too.

  • As I said above, I had no idea you could make them without milk. I shall definitely have a go. peaches are in abundance here right now. Thanks a million xox d

  • I always have something like a piece of fruit and bread or a pastry but wait at least an hour before running. However when I was in Australia last year I would run much earlier in the day before it got hot used to just have the fruit and maybe a glass of juice.

    Don't give up on porridge (at least in the winter). My son can't take milk but makes his porridge with soya milk or with water and apple juice.

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