Running first thing in the morning

I needed to do a long run at the weekend as I am training for two events in March, and the only chance I had (due to having three children with various commitments!) was to get up and go at 6.30am on Sunday. I ran 14.25 miles and felt great, but my brother (a fellow runner) said it could cause damage to run that far on an empty stomach- I just wondered what other runners thoughts were on this? He's worried me now!


  • No probs with that, I've done upto 16m on empty, but usually carry jelly beans or energy gel for longer, just in case!
  • kenyans do it for training. look where it gets themimage

  • Bizarre; where did he get this gem from.

  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    i do my long runs that early too...what your brother probably meant was make sure you warm up and fuel correctly as its early on your body might not be "awake" and if you are not fueled correctly you could become more tired and get an injury.  Pretty much the same as running at any other time of the day!

    I think you are fine to carry on running in the morning, plus lots of time to recover when you get back!

  • I do all my long runs at around 5am and haven't suffered any adverse effects. Just make sure you eat plenty the night before and refuel when you get back.

  • Same here (too early for breakfast, long run, no adverse affects).  I am always a bit slower running early morning though. Is there any good way to counteract this apart from just being awake longer before the run?

  • damage? what kind of damage.

    I wouldn't personally fancy running long with no fuel, so I tend to get up at 6am on the Sunday, eat 3 weetabix, and that can fuel comfortably up to 16miles at 7am. The hour between getting up and out the door helps you wake up properly too.

  • i wake up hungry , i  haven't tried to run as far as what you guys are saying yet, i can do 6-7 miles at the moment but i always have breakfast first, usually shreddies  or shredded wheat, then go out around half  hour or so , then i eat when i get in , toast and scrambled eggs, like  hobbit having second breakfast 

    not sure about damage,  i just can't imagine life without breakfasts , now lunch i can skip image work doesn't allow for such meals 

  • McMillan recommend running without fuel as a training benefit (just not all the time).

    From the above link;

    Finally, (and this is optional) a great way to ensure that you will deplete your carbohydrate stores on these long, steady runs is to not eat any carbohydrates immediately before or during the run. Any carbohydrates ingested will be used by the body for fuel, and we don't want this. We want to deny the body carbohydrates in these runs so that the muscles will become better at sparing the carbohydrate stores, more efficient at burning fat and used to running with lowered blood glucose levels. Now, many people think I'm crazy when I say this, but it works. It takes time to get adjusted to it if you have always been carbing up before and during your long runs, but with time and practice you can do it. I will note, however, that it is important to drink water and electrolytes throughout these runs so that you don't get dehydrated. I also recommend carrying an energy gel with you just in case you run into trouble (like taking a wrong turn, having to run longer than expected and getting a little woozy).


    I try and run 2 x 22 milers without taking carbs during the run. This time around I have currently run 1 x 22, were I did not have anything to eat prior to leaving the house or during the run.

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