17 Mile Run on Empty

Many times, I've run short runs without eating first because sometimes it's just easier to wake up, skip breakfast and to go for a run.

This week, I did that for my longest run of the week. I woke up, skipped breakfast and then I ran without anything but water. This was my longest run in which I hadn't eaten before starting my run or even during the run.

Since I didn't know how I'd feel on this run, I brought a couple of gels, just in case. By the time I got to my 5th mile, I felt a little hungry, but I didn't eat the gel I brought for an emergency and the feeling went away. When I finished, I was tired, but I was glad I had made it to 17 miles during this experiment. I ran the run at an easy pace - that's all I can do on a humid day during a long run right now! (More on fasted long runs by Greg McMillan.)

I came across an article about ice baths. I used to take ice baths after long runs, but I haven't for a long time - two years, maybe. I haven't noticed a difference and I certainly don't miss them. Of course, the fasted long run may go the way of the ice baths!

I didn't eat on my long run, but there's been lots of eating going on when I wasn't running. I baked some delicious baked potatoes faster than usual by cutting them in half after seeing this potato recipe. I baked some crispy kale chips, too. I sauteed yellow squash and now I have some zucchini to cook, too. Lots of good vegetable eating going on!


Comments

  1. Impressive! What did you eat the night before? and what pace was long run at? I did a fasted 15miler last week and had to take 2 gels while running - I got really hungry but I didn't eat much the not before.

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    1. For dinner, I had a baked potato topped with beef brisket and corn on the side. If I have a snack around 8PM, like the pretzels and cherry juice I had, I don't usually wake up starving. Good for you on getting 15 done!

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  2. Wow! I don't think I could ever run that long on empty. I am totally impressed. Were you hungry a lot the rest of the day?

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    1. After the run, I drank a peanut butter/milk/banana smoothie. (That was breakfast.) Then I just ate the usual amount of food the rest of the day with lunch, dinner, snacks. I'm not saying everyone needs to try this, but if you wanted to, you could do it!

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  3. Sometimes I think it's good to force yourself through long runs w/out fuel just so you know you can. Maybe you won't be at your peak performance but I think it's good, mentally, to be strong that way. Congrats on running that far!

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    1. I agree, knowing I can get through 17 miles with only water adds some extra confidence. If I'm in a race and miss taking a gel or lose a gel, I'm guessing that I wouldn't lose it mentally!

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  4. Do you see a benefit of not eating during your long run? I eat a lot the night before and then only minimal during my long run. I feel better, especially my digestive system feels better.

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    1. I don't usually have digestive problems on the run and I don't have enough experience doing this to see any physical benefits just yet, but time will tell!

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  5. Way to go! I ran 15 miles Fri late afternoon/evening after not eating any major, substantive foods during the day. It was rough, but I felt good to finish! I've been eating a lot this weekend :)

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    1. Now that would be much harder for me, to not eat much all day! Congrats on the 15 miler!

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  6. Nice job! So far the longest I have done with no breakfast is 8.5 miles. I think I can keep working it on up though.

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    1. That's what I did! It will give you the confidence to try running farther on empty.

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  7. Nicely done! I always eat before I go, but have been trying to do the runs with little or no fuel.

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  8. I wouldn't be able to run if I didn't eat something - not much 1-200 calories.

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  9. awesome! i have tried that with runs a few times up to 12 mile runs. that is so great you made it to 17. i love to experiment to see what my body can do. i recently read the same thing about ice baths and my hubby told me about an article like that (it may have been that one) a year or two ago. psychologically they make me feel better but lately i skipped them and seem to be just fine. i honestly prefer to just foam roll after long runs and i'm good to go. :)

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  10. I'm really impressed. I don't think I could run that far on an empty stomach.

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