Running on empty

I tend to run either first thing in the morning at weekends or straight after work in the week. This means that, in both instances, I haven't had anything to eat for at least 4 hours (obviously longer in the mornings). This doesn't seem to have an impact on my energy levels but I'm not sure whether it's good for me and am wondering whether I should have something like a banana half an hour before. Any ideas?


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12 Replies

  • I discussed this yesterday with my marathon-running son. I run in the mornings - usually about 9am - with no food since the previous evening meal, about 14 hours before. I drink at least 250 ml water before I go.

    This was been fine for me so far with running sessions lasting ~45 - 60 mins. But now that I'm doing one long slow distance (lsd) run a week, which is going over one hour, my son thinks I would be better to have a little something to eat.

    I read that it could be helpful to have at least a glass of smoothie before running and I'll try this on my lsd run this week and then maybe add half a banana when I go for 80 mins plus. I tend to do my lsd run a little later in the morning anyway as, with running slower, I wait until the temperature increases slightly, so this could give me time to eat then wait before running.

  • Before running I have a large glass of water and a banana. This morning I had a cup of tea too. I usually run within 20 mins of the banana and have never had any ill effects.

  • I always try & run in the morning as running in the evening gives me stitch.

    if possible Ill have a bowl of cereal at least half an hour before I head out & would have definately had 1 or 2 cups of tea by then. I might have a banana if Im going on a longer run (over 40mins) but tend to decide this on whether I had eaten plenty the night before. & I take water with me with a little squash in it & a pinch of salt for the longer runs (makes it isotonic apparently).

    swanscot mentioned a smoothie ~ I like the idea of that & may have to try this for my longer runs that will be coming up. x

  • I have a piece of toast with either peanut butter or cheese spread before I go out in the morning. Breakfast would be too much and the days of being able to go out with nothing in my stomach are long gone. So basically I swap my breakfast and mid-morning snack round.

  • I find I am ok to run for up to half an hr in the mornings having only had a mug of tea.

    But if I know I am going to run longer I make sure I have my evening meal the day before a bit later, and get up in time to have my porridge & banana and let it go down (takes an hr for me!) before running.

    If I am running in the evening/after work I make sure I have a good lunch and then have a banana and a "nak'd" bar or half a bagel an hour or so before running.

  • I am like you I run in the evenings after work and odd mornings. There is a thought, by those in the know, that eating soon after a run is very beneficial, as that is when your muscles need it most.

    I must say I am a newbee and I have just completed the C25K programme and I worried a lot about food before or after but some food after a run has been good for me, a banana, piece of fruit cake even beans on toast. Lunch or no lunch.



  • I run in the mornings mostly and get up have a drink of water, cup of green tea and a banana (small) then set off. I was so enjoying my run this morning I would have kept going but I knew I was running on empty too cos we had our main meal earlier yesterday and my banana was a kiddy fun size, so hunger took me home, duh. The other thing you could try is a cereal bar and a cup of tea.

  • Thanks. Like the idea of a smoothie so will try that or a small banana. Perhaps it will increase my energy levels because sometimes I think I may be walking faster than I am running! :-)

  • I'm definately an empty stomach runner, I just have a glass of water and out I go and eat when I get back, my runs are starting to pass 45m so I may have to revisit my current plan if I struggle with hunger or energy levels. Although I do carry a reserve of energy as a spare tyre around my waist :-)

  • I tend to run after work during the week and morning at the weekends. I suppose I'm running on empty because it will be 5 hours or so after a fairly light lunch and 2 hours after breakfast. I'm really not keen on running with anything in my digestive system but maybe I need to think about a snack before hand. Still sometimes go back to the early Laura advice and have a banana after a run.

  • I have a smoothie - 1/2 cup rolled oats, scoop of protein powder and some fruit (usually banana), whizzed in smoothie maker with water on waking. Keeps me filled and fuelled for my post schoolrun run and most of the morning.

  • I run first thing and since week ~7 I just roll out of bed. I used to drink a glass of milk before going for a run, but lately I just get out there and don't drink until I get back and have a cup of tea.

    I don't find that running makes me feel hungry or thirsty, and most mornings when I get back it's probably half-an-hour before I actually sit down and have that cuppa and a bowl of cereal.

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