Running on Empty


I made mini strawberry cupcakes and ate a couple after having some very good chicken and basil topped pizza last night. Every once in a while, I splurge. Oh, I had salad, too, so all is not lost!


Speaking of food, I'm rethinking my eating and running strategy. Recently, I read the May 2010 Running Times article Running on Empty. And I had already read Greg McMillan's Marathon Long Run where he writes:

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.

This week, I didn't eat before I ran and I was fine, surprisingly to me. By the way, I ran six miles yesterday and hope to run 5 miles tomorrow, bright and early.

I'm going to experiment with this for a little while, but I'm not encouraging anyone else to try it! Wasn't it only last week that I was nagging my husband (in love, of course!) about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day - how you must eat something before you run? ; )

Update: a related post, Carbs on the Run by Matt Fitzgerald

Comments

  1. I use to always go out for my morning runs without eating. I did it again this week but not a long run. Got up, had coffee and water, ran about 4 miles, had breakfast with friends, ran home. It is doable but I don't think I would do a long run without eating something first.

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  2. While I am not disputing how carbs aid in running, I am also realizing that fat is a much higher in energy (9cal vs 4 cal) fuel. We just need to train our bodies to use it more efficiently.
    I am slowly getting out of my injury and need to re-learn how to run again so I will be trying to ease into longer runs without much carb support.
    I'll be curious to see how that goes for you.

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  3. Tina, I always get these 'mysterious' food cravings when I stop by your blog. Pizza, cupcakes, mmmmmmm! I don't eat anything before I go out for my early morning short runs (5 miles) but I am afraid I would crash and burn with no return on a long run without any fuel beforehand or during. I think it may be easier for women to tap in to their fat stores for fuel but from what I've read, easier said than done. It sure would be nice!
    K

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  4. Not sure if you know about this website, but it's call athlinks.com Anyway, you type in your name and it has all of your race results on it. It's pretty cool. It had all of my and Beth's race results going back to 2006. I know that I run b/c I enjoy it but I also like looking at the results and seeing what I've accomplished. And it's cool b/c all of the results are right there on one page to look at. So anyway just thought i'd tell you about it.

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  5. Both the cupcakes and the pizza look delish!

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  6. Thanks, Tony! That's a great place to see all of your results in one spot!

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  7. Those cupcakes look delish!

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  8. Really interesting! I've heard of this before. I don't usually fuel for runs under 13 miles, but I have gotten into the habit of eating something in the morning before I go out. Mostly as an incentive to get out of bed! :) Re the fast finish run, can you IMAGINE picking up the pace for the last 9-10 miles of a 22 mile run? I am slightly intrigued by the idea of joining a half mary partway through the run, though. I could have tried that tomorrow if I'd made better plans, but I think I'm better off sticking with planned slow 22. And those cupcakes look gorgeous (and yummy)!

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  9. there is some tasty stuff on this blog. yummy

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  10. I am TOTALLY a fuel runner, my problem is I over do it. My stomach is fairly tough, so food is not typically an issue, so I probably eat too much before runs. I rarely run without eating. I can do around 5 miles without it, but longer and I will be fueling.

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  11. We had the same dinner on the same day but thousands of miles far: pizza and salad + pepsi.

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  12. That food looks so good. Interesting idea on the food thing.

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  13. I don't usually eat anything before my morning runs and I do just fine. However, if I'm running anything over 8 miles I definitely need the fuel

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  14. Those cupcakes look wonderful!

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  15. Hi! I just found your bog! I experimented with a long slow run over 2 hours with protein for fuel instead of sugars. I suffered no ill effects and finished strong, keeping in mind I was running slower than normal long run pace. Okay, it got a little boring so I may have run the last half a little closer to normal pace than I had intended. Overall, I call it a good experience and will try to incorporate the carb-less long run once a month. I think the science is sound, but that's just my opinion.

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