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Morning runners: do you eat before you run?

asked over 3 years ago | Report

Those of you who run early in the morning--do you like to eat breakfast/snack before a workout?
How much do you eat?
What kinds of food?
How long before your workout do you eat it?

I ask because I'm still trying to figure out when I should eat...if I don't eat before I run, I feel dizzy sometimes, and absolutely ravenous when I get back. But I hate eating before my run and I'm not actually hungry until afterwards. So I've been experimenting with different things and I want to know what works for everyone else, and maybe something will work for me.

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  • If I have an hour before I run, I'll have a half of bananna. Normally though, I will chug down some coffee and start my run about 20min later

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I run early too, around 5:15 i am out the door.
    I usually get up and head straight for coffee. I try to eat a small half of a Bagel Thin with a smear of peanut butter. nothing too big, but enough to hold me over. I agree without the ravenous part. I am running farther but have gained weight instead of losing. i think I am eating more. So I, too, am experimenting.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I don't like to eat before I run. I will drink some water before running.

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  • I also feel dizzy if I don't eat. I usually have a protein bar and maybe a banana. You might want to consider just taking a protein bar or some energy chews or something else easy to carry with you in case you get hungry during your run as well.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I eat a gel about 10 minutes before a training run. I'll take gels or chews with me if I'll be out over an hour. For races where I'll be waiting for hours before I actually run, I'll eat either a banana or a granola bar about 1.5 to 2 hours before the race starts and a gel right before.

    Besides trying different foods, if you got the gel/chew/bar route, try different flavors. Some definitely sit better in my stomach than others.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Ted
    Ted Sendmail

    No, unless I get to a race several hours before the start.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I never eat before a run in the morning. I guess it's a habit I learned while in the Army. PT first then morning chow after.

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  • i don't eat but i drink chuckie 30 minutes before running

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  • Here is the best advice for anyone. After looking at all the research there possibly is on this topic; the best answer for you is run within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning, eating nothing prior to your workout. In fact, the best time of the day TO run is in the morning; Your body goes into both respiration and transpiration during the night, so you are dropping your body weight with the output of water & CO-2. If you run shortly after you wake up in the morning on an empty stomach, you are continuing that cycle, rather than stepping backwards by eating more and THEN having to burn the calories on top of what had already existed in your system. Wait 30 minutes or so after you do some post-run sit ups and try yogurt/granola, or an egg with salsa. I prefer at least 30 grams of protein to help build up that muscle. Hope that helps!

    answered over 3 years ago |edited over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I always eat before a run in the morning. I will at least eat a banana on the green side, to me it more firm and taste better. Even tonight my wife had dinner ready before I was able to run so I ate 6 taco's and then ran 5 miles. I have found that if your core isn't strong at all, that can also cause problems.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I'll eat a piece of fruit before I run, usually a banana or an apple, and drink some juice or Gatorade.

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  • Before long runs maybe a half a banana and a cup of coffee an hour before

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  • I dont eat before my morning run (between 5am-7am and 45-90 min) - I just make sure I get some fluids in when I get up; water, juice or maybe some coca-cola.
    I'll make sure I eat right and balanced the evening before.

    If I have a long run I try oatmeal with banana if I dont start too early, ortherwise I take a banana or energy bar with me - again eating right for the long run 1-1.5 day before.

    I think drinking is the most important after waking up after 6-8 hour sleep.

    answered over 3 years ago |edited over 3 years ago |Report

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  • If it's straight out the door in the morning I never eat before my run, I wait until after the run to eat. Now if it's a race in the morning and I will wake up 3-4hrs before the race, then I will eat 3-4 pancakes or an energy bar of some sort. I would try taking a gel pack before you head out to see if that helps you out. Or you can get up earlier to eat something to make sure you feel fine during your run. Everyone is different so find what works for you.

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  • I usually will not eat before i run. Sometimes i will eat a banana or a few saltine crackers. I try and eat bland foods so that i won't be tasting it later while i'm running.

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  • I'm out at 4:00am and I don't eat, but have a caffeinated gel with some water, to make me alert at that hour! I make sure I have a good dinner and a healthy snack the night before and that carries me through 7-10 miles. If I'm going longer like 10-20 mi, get up earlier, and go out later like 5, eat lightly like a mini bagel with PB and raisins, or a Clif Bar, and some tomato juice, leaving time for digestion( about 1 1/2 hrs.)

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  • I don't eat before morning runs at all. I like at least 5 hours between a meal and a run. It's different for everybody. You might want to try some running specific stuff like the Hammer products. I have no affliation with the company, but I love their stuff and it all digests easliy. It's mostly drinkables and they really have running nutrition dialed in.

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  • I try to eat 2 hours before running. In the morning I often don't have time to wait 2 hours so it happened that I didn't eat before running and also that I ran 30 min after breakfast. I mostly just eat a normal portion of cereals with milk.
    My experience is that waiting 30 min is too little, especially when you try to drink water during training. And training without eating breakfast isn't really a problem if you don't run more than 1 hour.
    It also depends on the intensity of the workout: The faster you run, the bigger the chance is that eating breakfast without waiting long enough will cause stomach problems.

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  • 1 scoop of protein powder in about 12-16 oz of water at 5 am before I'm out the door. (Yuk!) It's not enjoyable, but it's worth getting it down. I make sure I drink a lot of water before I go to bed so I'm well hydrated for the early morning run.

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  • Depending on how strenuous my run will be I'll either have something small (a banana or an apple, or both) to a more hearty meal (oats or toast with peanut butter and some fruit). A coffee before hand is also nice if I have the time, more to wake me up than anything.

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  • Just a handful of peanut M & M's or half of a protein bar. Since I started doing that, my running has improved and no more dizzy spells or raiding the fridge when I get home.

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  • I eat 1/2 a banana & some coffee about 1/2 hour before hitting the treadmill. Seems to work fine.

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  • Seach out Episode 5 of The Extra Mile Experiment podcast where a person from Hammer Nutrition talks about this very topic, among many others. Some fantastic advise and what I followed to a T for my first HM today. Worked flawlessly.

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  • I head out before five most mornings, and if I'm only planning to go 5-8 ks I don't bother eating anything. If it's the weekend and I'm going for my long run, I usually get up a little later and I'll eat a muesli bar or something similar, and slurp a little sports drink down. I think some people have trouble digesting muesli bars before running but they seem to work well for me. If I eat a banana I do banana burps the whole time I'm running :/

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • During the week, just coffee. On the weekends, it's coffee + something small, like toast or non-fiber cereal.

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  • if you feel dizzy then you should definatly eat something and drink water with it. i usually eat a piece of toast or granola bar... something light but that will keep you going. no dairy products or heavy foods. and about 30 to 45minutes before

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Depending on the distance I like to eat half a cup of oatmeal in milk with brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of ground flaxseed, and 2 teaspoons of wheat germ. washing it down with a cup of coffee :)

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I've been experimenting with this too. Typically I don't, but I feel sort of gross if I don't. Sometimes I'll have a yogurt or a handful of almonds just to get something in me. I've also stocked up on Scout organic energy bars; a must-have is orange juice, and that's something I don't skip.

    Good luck! I hope you find something that works for you.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • You have to do what's right for YOU. I tend to get stitches if I eat too close to running. So, for a regular 3-6 mile morning run, I don't take in anything besides water. I eat when I get back. If I have a race, and am awake for a while, I eat a Luna or a Clif bar or something, plus coffee. I also eat before a long run (for me 10-20 miles), but I give myself an hour to digest because of my belly. (If my long run is scheduled for 8am I get up at 6:30 and have coffee and a Clif bar). But really, this is an individual choice..... for a 3-mile run, you're burning about 300 calories. I would say if you got hungry in the middle of such a run first thing in the morning (within 30 minutes of waking) you might have other nutritional problems to address.

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  • I feel heavy if I eat much more than a peice of fruit before I run. I know it's not much more food if I had my normal breakfast, but I just feel heavy and lethargic (sp?)

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  • Side note, I never understood people who drink coffee before they run. First of all the cafeine is a natural diaretic and I REALLY don't want that to kick in during the run and second of all, it only takes 1/4 mile to get your blood flowing and wake you up.

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  • 5 or 6 miles or less, no. if anything, i may eat a couple of Clif Shot blocs, especially if I ate very early or very lightly the night before. If I am going out 8 plus, I will eat a slice of wheat toast with peanut butter and maybe a banana. If I am going out 15+, I will get up early enough to eat a piece of fruit and a clif bar and toast 1 hour before the start of the run. THis is my schedule before a marathon as well. as they say, Train as you race.

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  • I eat a almond butter and banana sandwich on Ezekiel bread. I have been told I have an iron stomach. I don't cramp or anything. I can run on a larabar as long as I'm not going for longer than 4 miles, then I am too hungry to want to keep running.

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  • you should just drink a protein shake, so you can still run keep muscle and not cramp up

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  • It depends on what & how much I ate the evening before. For the most part - I don't eat after dinner which is early 5-6 PM. So I'm hungry pretty soon after I get up. But if I'm running - I make it real light, like a 1/2 banana and small glass of milk, or 1/2 a piece of toast with almond butter. Those satisfy me and hold me over until I can have a real meal, but don't "weigh" me down. I guess I should add that little bit is sufficient for me because my runs are only 30-45 minutes. I think I would have to eat more, then wait 30-45 minutes before I started, if I was going to run longer.

    answered over 3 years ago |edited over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I have found that I have to workout within 20 minutes of waking up, then I'm not hungry until after the workout. If I'm doing something longer than an hour, I try to eat something and wait a bit before starting. If I wait more than 30 minutes after I wake up, though, then I get tired, dizzy, and nauseous during the workout. For me, it's better to suck it up and head out right away!

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I may sound a bit nutty, but I'll often get up an hour or so before a run, eat, and then go back to sleep if I have time. I typically eat some cereal with rice milk and a half a banana or a frozen whole grain waffle with banana slices and peanut butter. I also drink a good glass or two of water. This has given me lots of energy and makes me feel great by the time I'm ready to get out there. If I don't eat, I'll most definitely end up passed out on the pavement before the first mile. If you're feeling dizzy, that's a sign of low-blood sugar. I suggest at least a little snack 30 minutes before. Good luck!

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Yes, I eat half a bagel with honey.

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  • I usually stick to a glass of water and a chewable vitamin (for my inner 8-year-old) before the run. Starting early, I don't feel I'd have adequate time to wait and digest anything otherwise.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Pam
    Pam Sendmail

    short run= coffee and small bit of fruit.
    Long run some carbs/toast + coffee

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  • I eat my cereal (kelloggs k. almond vanilla) with milk and have a coffee about 1 hr before a run. I find it works for me.. if its a longer run (1.5hrs+) I'll bring gels and shotblocks but I am still experimenting with that. I find the cereal is light enough to not bother me and fills me up enough to be able to get going in the run. My friend swears by a half a powerbar, yoghurt and a banana though so I guess you just have to try out lots of different things to see what works for you.
    The downside of coffee for me though is that it's a diuretic so I often end up needing a bathroom break during a longer run lol.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Like the others, it depends on how much time I have. But a banana at the very least keeps me going, otherwise I'm dead weight. If I have an hour before running, I eat a piece of peanut butter toast with banana slices and drink some coffee (to get things moving and avoid embarrassing incidence on long runs).

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Eating is a must for me before I run. A banana will usually do the trick but if I'm really hungry I'll make oatmeal with a dollop of peanut butter in it and top it off with some raisins. If you buy the canister of oats you can make as much or as little as you want.... I've been known to load it up with brown sugar though... makes it goooooooood! =)

    answered over 3 years ago |edited over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I agree with Heather, who's post is somewhere in all this, that you have to do WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU. I've read all types of articles and information on runner's nutrition. Some people say caffeine before a run gives them some extra kick. I tried that and felt awful. I've heard to eat something with a high glycemic index so that you're body can quickly convert it to fuel. (eg. a banana, or toast or oatmeal) I do this when I'm feeling hungry before a run. Most of the time I do not eat because I go just after I wake up. (The information provided by Steven M makes sense to me regarding why this works so well.)
    I think the most important thing is listening to your body and making sure you eat something highly nutritious in the 'golden hour' following your workout to help with repair and replacement.
    Good luck Shannon!
    Kim

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Depends on the distance. Short run (under 10 miles)= coffee and no food. 10-15miles= Coffee and some fruit. Over 15miles=you have to figure out what works for you. Take weather conditions (humidity/temp./windchill) into consideration. Good luck!

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • It will typically depend on what I'm running, usually it's only water tho. For me it depends on how late I ate the night before. If I had a light dinner, then I might have a small bit of toast or something if I'm going to be running anything over 8-10. I'm generally best if I stick to water.

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  • It depends. If its a morning run under an hour them no, but any other time I try and eat something small an hour before.

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  • I usually eat a Clif Bar an hour before a run or a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter or maybe a banana...and I always drink lots of water.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • Personally, I feel a lot better with some calories on board. So, I'll roll out of bed and have a banana first thing, then get prepared for my run, so I have 10-15 minutes to digest. If I'm going on a long run, I'll get up 75 minutes prior to start time and have a piece of toast or two with peanut butter, or, I'll use a gel 5-10 minutes before and one or two during the run (depending on the mileage.)

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  • I had beans about a half hour before running.

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  • I run at around 4.30 am and only have coffee before heading out the door and don't feel like eating anything until after my run. If you had a good dinner the evening before you should be fine to run energy wise without eating beforehand.

    answered over 3 years ago |Report

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  • I don't eat much for a morning run. Usually drink some coffee. Sometimes if I'm hungry I eat a bagel or some toast nothing to heavy.

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  • A few slices of apple dipped in honey. I carry water with me in a Nathan hand held water bottle.

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  • I always try to eat a piece of bread or half a bagel an hour before normal runs. Before morning races it's half a bagel and banana 2-3 hours before. If my run is particularly long I'll eat a little more but I always try to eat at least 30 minutes before running and nothing heavier than a piece of bread.

    answered about 2 years ago |Report

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  • No. I don't eat anything. I drink a couple glasses of water and head out the door. I usually run at 7:30am.

    answered about 2 years ago |Report

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  • half a banana and a fruit buddy about an hour before my run. some water too if i know there is a bathroom stop on my route.

    answered almost 2 years ago |Report

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  • I always try to eat something (no matter what the distance.) I ALWAYS, always make sure to eat on race day. I'm usually eat an hour before I run so I can eat and let it digest. What I eat varies (and depends on the distance and how hard I'm running): oatmeal, pbj, waffle (without syrup), bagel, granola bar. Everybody is different. Some people can eat just about anything (within reason) before they run, others have to eat specific things. Be careful with coffee. It's a diuretic, so you might be making potty stops! Also, water should be drank within an hour before you run.

    answered almost 2 years ago |Report

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  • When I do a long run (20k plus) early in the morning, I always make sure I eat a bowl of cereal and get a cup of tea in about 20 mins before leaving. Then I carry a 500ml mix of High Five/Water and a gel to eat after about 10k.

    answered almost 2 years ago |Report

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  • I generally do not eat before I run if I go first thing in the morning. I don't like bellyaches. If i do it is like a banana or toast as early as I can to allow for some digestion. They say there is some benefit to running on empty as it burns fat more efficiently and helps train the body to clear the lactic acid more efficiently. However, you won't generally be setting any personal bests due to the lack of fuel. So i try to alternate mornings. Don't know if that helps much.

    answered almost 2 years ago |Report

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  • I run in the mornig but I can't eat food before I run. The only thing I could eat with out upsetting my stomach is Gu energy gel.

    answered almost 2 years ago |Report

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  • Usually I don't eat until I get back, which usually is raw plain oatmeal in which I add in a raw egg and then microwave it until the eat is cooked . I do have one or 2 cups of coffee before I run.

    answered almost 2 years ago |Report

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  • Nope, I actually get queasy if I try a morning run after eating. Oddly, the same doesn't happen in an afternoon run and I have no idea why.

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  • I make a quick shake with Vega and Greens + extra energy

    answered over 1 year ago |Report

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  • If it's under 8 miles I do a fist full of cheerios and a GU chomp about 30 mins before, 8-12 I'll have a yogurt, 12+ I have a yogurt and a banana beforehand. I'm usually out the door by 6am and I'm NOT a morning person so I'm usually rarely awake more than 30 mins before the run

    answered over 1 year ago |Report

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  • I always fuel before my run. Otherwise the run tends to suck! Best for me is my protein shake with fruit and veggies! Yummy!

    answered over 1 year ago |Report

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  • I usually eat a small cup of oatmeal if i have 30/45 minutes or a half of banana like some people suggested. You might want to try bringing 1 running gel on the run and just eat it about half way out its a good way of getting 100 calories in your system so you don’t get extremely hungry. They don’t always taste the best but they are instantaneous energy and plus you get to practice eating while running which is great for marathon training.

    answered over 1 year ago |Report

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