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Fueling long morning runs

emilysusanaemilysusana Posts: 368Member Member Posts: 368Member Member
I’m sure everyone does this a little differently, but I’m curious to hear from runners: what do you do?

I’m training for a half marathon, and my weekly long run is now in the 9-10 mile range (9 miles this past week; 10 this week). Before last week (building to an 8 mile long run) I was essentially eating the same breakfast I always eat before a morning workout — coffee with milk, fiber one bran cereal, fruit of some sort (a banana or a big bowl of berries). I was eating a bunch more on long run days throughout the rest of the day, of course (meeting my calorie goal, which does have me at a deficit), but the breakfasts were the same as shorter run, cross training or rest days.

Anyway, on my 9 mile day I decided to eat much more before going out (an egg, sourdough toast, a banana, a yogurt) and of course I felt much better going the distance (duh, I know).

My question is: should I aim to eat a certain percentage of the calories I’ll burn for a long, post-breakfast run? How many calories do you consume before a long workout with a high burn?

My goal for the half is to run the whole thing. I run about 5.5 mph.

Thanks, runners!
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Replies

  • DjproulxDjproulx Posts: 1,309Member Member Posts: 1,309Member Member
    Fueling practices vary amongst different runners.

    Are you running for more than about 90 minutes? If so, you could also think about fueling during your long runs to see how you feel. You may or may not like that approach better than consuming a large breakfast.

  • mbaker566mbaker566 Posts: 8,370Member Member Posts: 8,370Member Member
    my half is 2:50ish
    before i run i usually eat a granola bar or stroopwafel from honey stinger, donut, or cookie and a few slugs of milk.
    then gatorade chews every 3-4 miles.
    edited April 9
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,844Member Member Posts: 35,844Member Member
    I just eat a bigger bowl if cereal for breakfast.

    The night before my long run I eat at maintenance and I eat all my exercise calories back.
  • MPDeanMPDean Posts: 29Member Member Posts: 29Member Member
    My OH uses gels. I tried one when I was flagging, it was disgusting. Some warm gooey, vaguely banana flavoured stuff. They work for her though.

    Now I just add a large banana to my breakfast.
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,844Member Member Posts: 35,844Member Member
    I also have salted caramel gu... 1 on training runs up to 12 miles, 2 on race day
  • Legs_McGee23Legs_McGee23 Posts: 52Member Member Posts: 52Member Member
    I do morning runs fasted up to about 8 or 10 miles. Longer than that, I'll have a packet of oatmeal or a scone or something beforehand. On runs longer than 15 miles I'll fuel during - I like the warm gooey disgusting Gu. Marshmallow flavor and Birthday Cake are my favorites.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Posts: 2,058Member Member Posts: 2,058Member Member
    I just have cereal or bagel and coffee for breakfast before my long runs, with a banana or juice just before I head out. That's the same thing I eat before races. I take gus every 5 miles during runs over 2 hours.
  • emilysusanaemilysusana Posts: 368Member Member Posts: 368Member Member
    Thanks everyone! I figured everyone would have a different answer. I did feel better with a bit more food, but I probably won’t continue to increase the breakfast size. I’ll check out the gu. That was going to be my next question (should I fuel during?). No way to know if it helps me except to try. I don’t think I need it at this stage but I’m about to start going over two hours.
  • dewd2dewd2 Posts: 1,953Member Member Posts: 1,953Member Member
    Many times I do long runs fasted (or nearly fasted - I must have my morning tea and yes, I put sugar in it :D ). I do this so my body becomes more efficient at burning fat for fuel. Other times I do eat something like a small bagel because that's what I would do in an actual race.

    You have to experiment a bit to see what works best for you.
  • apullumapullum Posts: 2,830Member Member Posts: 2,830Member Member
    For long runs at dawn, I have been eating a Trader Joe’s “nothing but nuts” patty (80 calories of nuts and dried fruit). Then I have a gel every 5 miles. I eat breakfast as soon as I get done.
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,844Member Member Posts: 35,844Member Member
    Thanks everyone! I figured everyone would have a different answer. I did feel better with a bit more food, but I probably won’t continue to increase the breakfast size. I’ll check out the gu. That was going to be my next question (should I fuel during?). No way to know if it helps me except to try. I don’t think I need it at this stage but I’m about to start going over two hours.

    My first half marathon I didn't fuel. Subsequent ones I have done. I think it feels easier, and I am less rungry after a run if I have had a gel.
  • BrianSharpeBrianSharpe Posts: 8,619Member Member Posts: 8,619Member Member
    I don't enjoy running within a couple of hours of eating unless it's something very light like a banana and/or yogurt. (Drinking coffee before goes without saying). When my long runs are getting up to the 10 mile range I'll get up a bit earlier and have some toast & PB with a banana, wait to digest for a while, then go for my run, anything much shorter than that I'll run fasted.

    I'm also fond of GU's salted caramel gels, they're delicious and I'll usually take one a few minutes before a race and one every 45 minutes after that. For triathlons I take most of my calories on the bike i liquid form (easy to digest) and will pop a couple of gels on the run.
  • beerfoamybeerfoamy Posts: 1,482Member Member Posts: 1,482Member Member
    I cannot eat anything on the morning of a run! I have tried several things, light stuff, hours before etc, my stomach informed me in no uncertain terms that it was not going to play ball.
    I have a fair amount of pizza the night before. Works ace for me. Then I have a SIS gel about every 35-45 mins of the run along with my water (2hrs40 odd for 12 miles for me atm)

    Now I have a goal of running a half without fuelling!! :# thanks @TavistockToad :#

  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,844Member Member Posts: 35,844Member Member
    beerfoamy wrote: »

    Now I have a goal of running a half without fuelling!! :# thanks @TavistockToad :#

    Why?!
  • firef1y72firef1y72 Posts: 1,106Member Member Posts: 1,106Member Member
    Every one is different. My routine is
    Drink more than my usual amount of water the day before (I don't like taking a lot of water on the actual run).
    Fairly high carb day before, including a pasta bake for dinner.
    On the morning around an hour and half before I run, overnight oats with berries, nuts and banana.
    Then my imodium instants.
    And a take a couple nakd bars chopped in pieces out with me. (Have a chunk every couple miles if I want it).
  • Wen2RunWen2Run Posts: 58Member Member Posts: 58Member Member
    Morning long runs would be a peanut butter bagel, coffee and a banana. Would make sure I had that at least an hour before I headed out. That way the coffee would have it time to work it's magic :open_mouth:
  • beerfoamybeerfoamy Posts: 1,482Member Member Posts: 1,482Member Member
    beerfoamy wrote: »

    Now I have a goal of running a half without fuelling!! :# thanks @TavistockToad :#

    Why?!

    I don't know lol - competitive streak?
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,844Member Member Posts: 35,844Member Member
    beerfoamy wrote: »
    beerfoamy wrote: »

    Now I have a goal of running a half without fuelling!! :# thanks @TavistockToad :#

    Why?!

    I don't know lol - competitive streak?

    well, as the Americans say, have at it!!! :drinker: but the reason i do fuel them now is to make it a less miserable experience....!
  • DX2JX2DX2JX2 Posts: 1,877Member Member Posts: 1,877Member Member
    Totally up to the individual. I personally don't eat specifically to fuel a run and do most of my runs in the morning on an empty stomach. I generally don't even bother with a gel or gu for an easy long session less than 2 hours unless I'm training my stomach to deal with them during a race.

    Water, on the other hand, I will drink the hell out of. I'll down about a quart before my morning runs and will generally drink something like a gallon per day as a normal thing. I don't carry water for any run 2 hours or less (this usually means anything up to ~13 miles).
  • collectingbluescollectingblues Posts: 2,255Member Member Posts: 2,255Member Member
    beerfoamy wrote: »
    beerfoamy wrote: »

    Now I have a goal of running a half without fuelling!! :# thanks @TavistockToad :#

    Why?!

    I don't know lol - competitive streak?

    well, as the Americans say, have at it!!! :drinker: but the reason i do fuel them now is to make it a less miserable experience....!

    Seriously. Could I run a half unfueled? Probably.

    Does it end well? Not usually. I *like* remembering how to put on pants.

    (I know people are all "but you carry enough glycogen stores to fuel a half!" I typically don't -- I'm not low carb/keto, but I'm lower than the SAD, and average 130 gm or less of carb a day... I was *shocked* at a recommendation I saw in Runners' World to eat something like 4 gm of carb per pound of body weight when pre-half carb loading, and I was all... OMG, I barely eat half of that when I load.)
    edited April 10
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