Running on Empty

I much prefer running on an empty stomach rather than eating breakfast before going out for my run.

However, I was definitely running on empty this morning without much in my system.

I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. feeling hungry, but I was too tired to get up to eat, so I slept until 6:30 a.m. By that time, my hunger pains had subsided. Has anyone else noticed that if you wait it out, your hunger pains go away?

I decided to have just a few of these PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts before leaving because I didn’t want to eat very much.


Love these—they remind me of Gushers!


I sometimes procrastinate quite a bit before heading out for my run—especially now when I don’t have any obligations—but I didn’t want my hunger to strike again.

Plus, I had a new pair of shorts to wear! (Here is another picture.)


For my workout this morning, I headed to the track:

2 miles: warm-up to the track

dynamic stretches (leg swings, carioca, knee-highs)

6 x 400 meters with 200 meters of recovery jogging in-between

800 meters of barefoot running

2 miles cool-down back home

I have not embraced the whole Vibram or minimalist shoe fad (?), but I do like to do some barefoot running on the track occasionally.

We used to run 800 meters barefoot once a week in college at the end of track practice. I was told we did this to strengthen the muscles in our feet, but now I also know it forces your body to run efficiently and fore-foot strike instead of heel striking.


Distance: 7 miles

Time: 58:00

While I felt decent overall, I could tell I was dragging because I didn’t have enough fuel in my system. I was hungry and started to get lightheaded at one point.

I have read that training on an empty stomach isn’t always a bad way to train though because when I am running my marathon, my body is going to have to learn to operate on less fuel than ideal.

I know this depends upon your body. For me I usually eat something when I know I’ll be running longer than an hour or 9+ miles.



As soon as I got back, food was essential. I thought about oatmeal but decided on a bagel because it was faster.


iced decaf coffee


1/2 cinnamon raisin bagel with Laughing Cow Cheese (loved this combination!)

I don’t feel guilty eating “white” bread after a run because I know my body needs easy-digesting foods that can be absorbed quickly—versus whole grains that take longer to digest.


A little while later I had a banana with peanut butter on it. Totally hit the spot!


Time to shower and get ready for the day!



Do you eat something before running? If so, how much?


6 responses to “Running on Empty

  1. It kind of depends on the day for me–I usually like running on empty (or just having a couple shot blocks or something) but my body actually doesn’t run well right out of bed anyway. It needs an hour or two to wake up. If I have the time to wait around I will usually eat breakfast, digest for about 2 hours, then go out. (That’s why summer time is nice!) But during the winter, I kind of just have to get up and go. If I eat too close to running it makes my stomach hurt like crazy!

    My ideal running time would be about 4 pm–I would have eaten lunch at noon and had plenty of time to digest. That’s when my body runs best, but unfortunately I usually don’t have a flexible enough schedule to run in the afternoons.

  2. It depends on the time of day. If I run in the morning, I will eat breakfast. If I am running in the afternoon around 3, I eat lunch. It all depends, but I always eat something.

  3. I normally eat pancakes about 3 hours before. If I’m running right after I wakeup then I normally eat a snickers marathon bar. I can run on empty because I have a fairly big dinner at night but I normally like to run 8-10 miles in the am so it’s not wise to do that I suppose.

  4. I ALWAYS eat before exercising. I’m a big fan of banana and peanut butter before running, although I do need about 30 minutes to digest after eating. I also really like eating graham crackers before exercising. They just hit the spot, and seem to be fairly easy for my body to digest?

    If I’m really in a rush, I’ll drink something with calories in it, like gatorade (or bring it with me!)

  5. I had been eating before running but I have to wait an hour after I get up to do so due to medications. With summer heat here where I live, that was no longer do-able, so I run, then come in for a cup of decaf coffee and either a smoothie or a bowl of overnight oats; or even a piece of Sprouted Grain bread with almond butter and a banana. 😉

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