Running on fumes? (fueling) (Read 179 times)

    In conversations with other runners about fueling, I find myself in the underwhelming minority in that I rarely eat prior to a workout and never fuel during a workout.  When I say minority, I mean that I'm the only one I know who ignores this aspect.  I think I do this for two reasons:  1) Ignorance: It never occurred to me when I started running that pre-run or mid-run fueling was necessary, so I never made it a practice.  2) Practicality:  Most of my runs start early (4am to 5am) so there just isn't time to get in breakfast before lacing up.  I'm perfectly okay with continuing this 'cause it works for me.  For others it doesn't, and that's fine.


    I routinely go 15M - 18M on my long runs without any energy issues.  My question is for others who generally limit their fueling (during training), how long is enough for you need to consider pre-run or mid-run fueling?  

      It depends on a lot of things, including how depleted I already am from the past several days' training, and how fast I plan on running, but generally 15 or so is my upper limit for not having to at least consider pre-run food. Not coincidentally, that's about the farthest I ever run mid-week before breakfast. Before weekend long run I generally always eat something. I usually don't consider mid-run food until I'm up around 20 miles and even then if it's going to be an easy paced run I don't usually worry about fuel at all. I probably carry food (usually a single Gu) on 4-5 runs per year.

      Runners run.

        I primarily run in the early morning and never fuel before a weekday run. (outside of 2 cups of coffee).


        On my long runs, generally if I'm under the two hour mark I don't bother. If I'm going longer then I might grab a bagel or pop tart. Rarely do I fuel during the run. If I do it's more than likely watered down gator ade. I will use gels in training runs prior to an approaching marathon.


        Like yourself, I find myself in the minority...I know people that carry two or three gels for 10 mile run. It seems most of these people tend to be newer runners, or dare I say it..triathletes.

          I eat before my Sunday morning run, but mostly out of habit and only a banana, slice of toast, or bagel--when I'm running late, I've skipped it for all but my longest runs without issue.


          Before shorter (<10 miles) runs, I never even think about pre-fueling, be it a morning run or an after-work run.  For longer than that, I will eat if I'm feeling that "pit in stomach" kind of hungry.


          I've done 16-26 miles in training at "easy" paces without fuel. I keep a "just in case" gel for longer than 20, especially if I'm planning to fast-finish, but I haven't yet used it.


          I think this can be pretty personal, though.  I get by on 3-4 gels plus 3-4 little cookies for a trail 50K.

          "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
          Emil Zatopek

            No fuel for me before or during any runs.  Seems to me the process of digesting just diverts energy from my running, and the energy from food doesn't become available soon enough to be worth it.  The only exception is during my last marathon I had one gel, a couple of orange slices, and a few ounces of Gatorade.

            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.


              Running 50-70 miles per week and only 20ish miles for a long run ... I think this approach is very reasonable.  If you start every run reasonably full of Glycogen, it really should not be an issue.


              It is when I start running multiple times a day or high mileage weeks or really long runs that I start needing fuel during a run.  That or I am trying to lose weight, so my glycogen stores are always in some state of depletion.


              I am grossly out of shape, so the 30 mile run Monday night took almost 4.5 hours, I took 5 gels.


              It is the only time I have taken gels in recent runs

              Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler




                  so the 30 mile run Monday night

                Back at it!   Great to hear!!

                  It is when I start running multiple times a day or high mileage weeks or really long runs that I start needing fuel during a run.


                  Good insight.  I don't do enough miles to push into this territory, but I can see where you'd be starting from a depleted state when doubling or doing BTB long runs for you ultra folks.  And by "really long runs", I'm guessing you are talking about marathon-ish distance and beyond?

                    If you're getting up that early, you are probably still full from a good dinner?


                    I tend to do best with habits. So every Saturday is my long run and every Saturday I have more or less the same thing regardless of how much I am going to run.

                    "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                      I'm not feeling that "empty pit" feeling that early, but it's still 9 - 10 hours since eating.  By the time I finish my workout and get ready for work, food better not be far away.


                      Faster Than Your Couch!

                        On another note, what's the point of not eating during a long(ish) run?

                        Run for fun.

                          What's the point of not wearing a tutu during a long(ish) run?

                          Runners run.

                            Yes, wouldn't the question be "what's the point of eating during a long(ish) run"?