What do you eat before an early morning run? (new to running)

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 two_tapirs 10 Sep 2021

I'm going to start going for early morning runs (fields, bridleway and woodland).  I really don't want to be running with a belly full of Weetabix sloshing about, but also don't want to go out without having eaten something.  What do you find works best for you?  I'm thinking toast and honey might be a good start, and banana isn't an option as I can't stand them.


 daWalt 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

whatever works for you - give different things a try; don't waste money on overpriced sports guff: gels, powdered-egg-shakes, etc.

Post edited at 14:12
 mrphilipoldham 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Everyone is different. Not that we're often early morning runners, but even at other times I often go and run on a full (or at least satiated) belly whilst my wife will have nothing more than a banana in the five hours before. I think it depends on the type of outing too, a long run then I'll definitely want something decent inside whilst shorter quicker runs I'm happy to go hungry if I know there's a meal soon after the return. 

 mountainbagger 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I definitely don't eat cereal with milk. Agree about the sloshing, plus I find dairy before running a bit, er, unpredictable shall we say! Sometimes just a banana, or cereal bar. Most of the time though, I have a breakfast smoothie blend of oats, flaxseed, mixed berries and oat/almond milk. Sounds annoyingly wholesome I know, but it works for me, don't always have all of it, will just have it whilst getting ready and the rest when I get back.

In reply to two_tapirs:

Personally nothing unless it is a race, in which case I will make a special effort to get up early and have something a couple of hours before, usually a bit of toast and jam.

Realistically you shouldn’t need anything for a morning run, certainly if it is for an hour or less. There is a bit of a myth that running before breakfast is running fasted, that is only really true if you didn’t have anything to eat the night before.

That doesn’t really answer your question. However, if you feel that you must eat before you run, go with whatever is gentlest on your stomach, toast and jam is best for me, but we are all different.

In reply to two_tapirs:

I only do short runs of 5 miles or so, but find that mostly they go best if fuelled only by coffee. If I do have anything solid, then it's toast or a spoonful or two of whatever's left over from last night's meal.

The main thing is to go the toilet first.

 daWalt 10 Sep 2021
In reply to daWalt:

I'v realised I didn't actually answer the question.

personally I like "solid-soft-food", typically carb-based.

although, I'm sometimes inclined to think that any food is ok (if it doesn't react badly with you) and it's just as much to give your metabolism something to do.....

In reply to two_tapirs:

I'd avoid strong coffee (or take bog roll).

You don't say what distance, but generally one has enough energy stored for at leat 90 mins of activity.  I've regularly done 30k with no breakfast (~3+ hours).

Your toast and honey option sounds good. See how that works. Maybe go crazy and try toast, honey and peanut butter, or porridge. I wouldn't make it a big deal, just get out there.

 mountainbagger 10 Sep 2021
In reply to mbh:

> The main thing is to go the toilet first.

😂 Oh yes! More than once in my case! I find a cup of tea will help move things along 😁

 wbo2 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:  I'm in the nothing camp, but I'm normally only running 40 minutes . 

 Hooo 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I only run first thing in the morning and I have no appetite at that time, so I just have a double espresso. I usually run 5k to 15k, and I've never felt that I should have eaten something.

 Forest Dump 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I need to eat within 30 min of waking up, otherwise i feel nauseous and my morning goes wrong. I also like running first thing.

I find a snack bar or a couple of rice cakes with peanut butter plenty, sometimes a banana too if I'd eaten early the night before

My partner will happily run for 90min fasted, which sounds like the devils work to me!

 r0b 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:


 Justaname 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I just have a coffee beofre my morning run but this is pretty much always followed by a #2 before I leave. If I'm running over 90 minutes I'll either take food with me (gel / bar) or have a piece of toast with jam and peanut butter about 30 minutes beforehand. Being able to eat before running may take practice, indeed it could form part of your training regime if you're thinking of doing an ultra.

Running first thing in the morning takes a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn't let the thught of going out running on an empty stomach bother you too much.

 girlymonkey 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I don't eat anything before. Just up and go straight away and have breakfast after. 

 Matt Hill 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I don't eat anything before my morning run, I just drink a glass of water when I wake up.

I would recommend trying for a number 2 before you go, running can loosen things up down there.

 plyometrics 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Nothing, even on long runs. 

In reply to two_tapirs:

Marmalade on toast! (or nothing)

Post edited at 18:44
 Sealwife 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Im usually ok with nothing up to about 10k.  I did run a half marathon last month on an empty stomach and thought I was going to pass out on the final 1.5k.

As others have said, definitely try for a poo before you head out.  

 Wilderbeest 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Porridge of course… but I have only half what I would normally eat…

 Chriswhoruns 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I tend to have porridge with a few raisins and peanut butter about 90 mins before I go out on an early run. But I have that most days for breakfast running or not!

it’s just the nause to have get up earlier than I like to eat, but it gives me time to prep my kit. If I’m running early it’s usually my long slow effort of 20-30k

 steveriley 10 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Quick cup of tea this morning. Normally a coffee to be fair. When I was training for ultras I’d gradually taunt my belly with food first to get used to running and digesting. I’d be mostly fine with toast, teacakes, that kind of stuff. You’ll be fine on nothing / last night’s glycogen for most runs though. The feast you can have afterwards is just reward for any privations before.

Post edited at 22:18
 VPJB 11 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I don't eat anything before a morning run but still require a number 2 within a km.

If I have a race I eat 4 hours before.

 wbo2 11 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:  I'm genuinely surprised at the amount of eating going on , but what time are people getting up and out.  I'm up at 6.30 or so as j need to be at work 8, 8.30...

In reply to two_tapirs:

Strong cup of coffee tea. Breakfast afterwards

In reply to two_tapirs:

Nothing, maybe a glass of water.

As others have said, the last thing I want is a coffee or food as I'll end up wanting a dump a mile or so in.

Post edited at 19:43
 mountainbagger 11 Sep 2021
In reply to wbo2:

>   I'm genuinely surprised at the amount of eating going on , but what time are people getting up and out.  I'm up at 6.30 or so as j need to be at work 8, 8.30...

I'm not a morning person, so don't usually run first thing. But up to about 10 miles and if I had to get out early I would not need to eat. At the weekend I'm not running that early so can have breakfast (smoothie with oats as I posted further up) before a long run. I sometimes run to work, on those days I have breakfast at home first just out of habit/convenience, but the commute in is a gentle jog and not very long. I save the harder effort for the run home.

 SouthernSteve 12 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Just a coffee for me. Not really a breakfast person though!

 TMM 12 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Nothing for me please.

For anything up to 30k or 2.5hrs it's two pints of tea, plenty of time to contemplate the world on the throne and go. 

My wife finds that a little to frugal and finds that half banana makes all the difference.

Different strokes for different folks.

 GDes 12 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Definitely worth experimenting with nothing. Just take a bar just in case. I find pre breakfast with nothing is my most reliable time for not bonking. Usually fine for 1.5 hours. When I run after lunch it always seems a bit hot and miss how energetic I'll feel 

In reply to two_tapirs:

Greek yoghurt with honey

 Albert Tatlock 12 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

I follow the Alf Tupper diet.

 Marek 12 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

One point worth mentioning (I don't think anyone else has done so) is that if you have aspiration of moving on to longer runs at some point, then it becomes increasingly important to teach your body to digest food on the run. Running on an empty stomach is fine for an hour (perhaps two), but beyond that you're going to have to eat and that's something that you have to learn how to do. Sometimes the hard way!

In reply to Marek:

Depends what you mean by longer. I'm not a good eater when it comes to running, as a consequence I find the marathon distance challenging. I wouldn't eat for a twenty miler, but I can't sustain that for a marathon. For an ultra, particularly in the hills in where I might be aiming for an average of ten or eleven minute miles, rather than six something in the marathon, eating becomes a lot easier.

My wife, who has won a couple of ultras and is very good at eating on them, ran her marathon PB and afterwards informed me that she hadn't eaten or drunk anything.

 stubbed 13 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Mine would be a banana but failing that a couple of oakcakes with butter / cheese would be ok

In reply to two_tapirs:

As you can see from the responses, everyone is different.

My runs are normally between 6 and 13 miles, mostly between 6-8 and in the evening.

I wont eat anything less that two hours before a run other than a coffee or two. I get a sloshing but no issues really. 

A mate of mine can nail a full English and pop out for a 10k. 

 Jon Greengrass 13 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Eating and exercising falls down to HR Zones for me.  Z2 and below I can run or cycle on a full stomach, above Z3 my guts starts to shut down and I start to feel them slosh, prolonged Z4 and above I start feeling sick.

I've only been running for just over a year and find my legs still give out before my HR climbs into Z3, so eating beforehand is never a problem, in fact I do most of my runs immediately after eating lunch.

I've never run straight after waking up but have done plenty of cycling first thing on an empty stomach.  Riding hard (Z4-5) I find that I'm bonking after 45minutes, whereas on an empty stomach  I've ridden 3hrs no bother on an empty stomach if I stay in Z2.

 Marek 13 Sep 2021
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> As you can see from the responses, everyone is different...

Plus, it's what you're used to and have trained for (as mentioned above). The body is very adaptable, in digestion as well as running. You just have to work at it.

 Dave Mahon 13 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs:

Nothing generally. May have a single slice of toast and marmalade if over 30km. 

 mattyP 13 Sep 2021
In reply to two_tapirs: To be honest, I’d post this question on a running specific forum. With the greatest respect to the UKC hive mind, they aren’t known for progressive thought with regards modern sports nutrition (there’s a long thread on eating on the long run which is good read if you search for it). What’s based on science/research and what people do are very different (FYI I nailed a bag of jelly babies on my very slow 19miler on sat, scientific? No, tasty? Yes)

 two_tapirs 14 Sep 2021
In reply to everyone:

Thanks everyone for some genuinely useful information and ideas.  I hadn't really considered needing to throw away underwear half way around my run, so I've taken that info on board for the sake of my marriage.

I'll keep it light if anything, as I begin running I won't be hitting any of the distances that some of you manage to do, and as suggested when I (if I) manage to increase distance substantially then I'll be paying more attention to planning my run and pre-set off food.  

Good shout on taking a cereal bar along, especially I head out without any food.  

I did consider asking on a dedicated running forum, but tbh I just wanted the opinions and experience of a good cross section of runners,  even if one of them has a friend that runs on a full English

Cheers, it's appreciated!

In reply to two_tapirs:

You have just reminded me. The English National Cross Country Championship men’s race takes place at 3pm. I always have a full English at about 9am (we usually make a weekend of it, so am often in a hotel). The breakfast always feels well digested on the start line, I’m fine through the race. Three years on the trot, I saw my breakfast again at the finish line.

In reply to mattyP:

Did you ever try that idea you were talking about on the other thread of 150g / hr of carbs?

 mattyP 14 Sep 2021
In reply to The New NickB: Ha! No, turns out it’s nailing 28jelly babies an hour. I also got sciatica and had to stop running for 3months. I’m planning on a 20miler on sat, if I can get my hands on jelly babies/gels/drinks mix I’ll give it a go and report back.

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