Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What do you eat?

I just looked at a Runner's World article about running on empty.  I was a little surprised to see it.  Apparently, runners are starting to experiment with not eating before a run, which after about an hour of running will have you dipping into your fat reserves for energy.

Why was I surprised?  Because I have always run without eating before hand.  Anytime I've tried to run after eating anything, I felt sick.  Especially if it's hot out.  So, for about 4 years I never ate anything before a run, no matter the length.  I just felt too scared to eat something.

Then during a long training run for Philly last fall I crashed.  I went out for (I think) a 12 mile run and when I came home I felt like death.  I couldn't eat. I wasn't hungry.  My stomach hurt.  I think I messed with my electrolytes or some such.  I didn't feel well for three days.  It was after that run I figured I needed to eat something before a run...even though I had never needed to before.  (I wonder to this day why I need to eat something before a long run now when I never did before...)

So, I started eating half a peanut butter sandwich before a long run.  I didn't eat anything before Philly and I felt just as bad as I did after that training run.  Dumb mistake.

I haven't made it since.  Long runs (8+ miles) have me eating that half a slice of bread with peanut butter before heading out.  I freaked before the Shamrock Half Marathon because I forgot to pack it.  I grabbed crackers with peanut butter and had that.  Completely worked.

So, while I still don't eat anything before going out for a run of under 8 miles, I think it all depends on the person in question.  What about you?  Do you eat before a run?  Only before long runs?  Never eat before a run?


  1. I never eat before a run under about 8-10 miles. For longer runs I'll have a serving of Hammer Gel and take a water bottle. If the run is going to be longer than 2 hours, then I add Perpetuem. Depending on the weather, I'll also take Endurolytes. (

    This worked during marathon training and for the marathon I ran last month. I also think it's trial and error by person - what your stomach can or cannot handle.

  2. Thanks for your input Kathy! I use sports beans before a shorter run sometimes if the weather is really hot. I don't need too many calories for a quick few miles, but I know I need something.

    And yes, it's trial and error on the person. What works for me might not work for you. Hoping people might see some ideas for themselves to try.