Running on an empty stomach?

Hi. I've just finished Week 4, and so far everything is going well - in fact, I've been finding it really good. I've been going out straight after breakfast, but I stumbled on something on the NHS Choices C25K pages saying that you shouldn't run within 2 hours of a meal. What are people's thoughts and experience? I'd thought that it wasn't a good idea to go out without having something to eat :>)

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13 Replies

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  • I always go running after breakfast. Maybe about 20 minutes or half an hour after. So far no problems at all and I've been doing C25k for 7 weeks so I'm running 25 minutes with no break. I eat a couple of weetabix and a kiwi fruit every day. One day I went out on just a banana and I felt really light-headed and awful afterwards so I've always been careful to eat something more substantial than that every since.

  • I like to have breakfast before I go. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I couldn't run on an empty stomach. I leave it at least an hour before running and have not had any problems.

  • Sinenjoy running on an empty stomach so before breakfast works very well for me. That way, as I stumble round, I look forward to my "treat"! Mind you, I ran once after a huge meal at the end of the day and had one of my best runs ever! From time to time, I have had great runs when I have had a terrible night's sleep, just didn't feel like it, at the end of a busy day - but generally, for me, empty tum at the beginning of the day works well

  • For morning running I either have breakfast about an hour before or if I want to run earlier than that I have a small handful of dried fruit about half an hour before, and my first cuppa of the day.If it's later in the day I do leave a couple of hours after a big meal or an hour after a light one. Never had any problems either from feeling I've eaten too recently or from feeling lightheaded.

  • I have seeds and dried fruit immediately before going out then brekkie when I get back. I always go out early

  • People are different, some must eat before some don't, if your way works for you then fine. I suppose it all depends on how much is eaten and the time given for it to go down. I don't eat a meal beforehand but usually have something, either a banana or a few biscuits an hour or so before...

  • I think people just need to find what works best for them - from the comments it seems that everyone's different. I can't run early in the day (which I think is probably down to not having eaten as I can never stomach breakfast). I prefer to run in the evening and usually leave at least an hour after a meal before I run. If it's a heavy meal I've found I need a bit longer. I don't think there's any hard or fast rule, you'll find that your body will tell you if you're not doing it right so whatever works for you. :)

  • I think it is personal choice. I thought I could only run on an empty stomach but in order to fit in everything one day I ran within an hour of breakfast and was fine. But I definitely couldn't run just after dinner.

  • I run most of my shorter runs first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I truly enjoy my breakfast after that! For longer runs I will eat a small snack before going out. Just experiment to find out what works for you.

  • I run early in the morning on an empty stomach. If I go to parkrun which start at 8am, I may have a banana one and a bit hour before. I find I prefer running with no food. It is sort of a routine: wake up, wait for daylight, get up, put on running clothes, go downstairs, med and half glass of water, set watch for GPS, put my shoes on , tiptoe out of the house, breeze in the beautiful air, start gps and off I go..... then on the way back I dream of breakfast and when I get it...mmmmmm, beautiful.

  • Generally, if it's going to be less than an hour of running, I'll run on an empty stomach. If it's going to be longer, I'll have some food first but need to leave it at least an hour before running or I often feel sick.

  • Thank you, everybody, for your responses. It does sound as though it is a matter of seeing what works for each person. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so I think that I'll just start off by having a bit smaller meal before I go out. Once more, thank you.

  • Personally, I love to run first thing before breakfast. I do have a tendency to get a stitch if I run too soon after eating. Have to wait at least 2 hours if I eat anything more substantial than a slice of dry toast or a digestive biscuit. I'm jealous if you can run straight after breakfast!!

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