To eat or not to eat before your morning run? This is a hot topic, and rightfully so – there are many schools of thought that may have an impact on performance. Here’s my two cents on why you SHOULD eat before you take that morning stroll:
Calories are simply energy that your body ingests to carry out functions. These functions include normal day-to-day functions like breathing, talking and normal movements, as well as running and lifting weights. Training for a mud run, especially those like the Lozilu, where you are running around three miles or running less than 60 minutes, requires your body to first burn off calories from carbohydrates for energy during your run.
Where does your body get these carbohydrates? Typically from the food that you ingest before a workout. However, if you ate dinner the evening before around 6:30 pm and had no snack, your body has likely been digesting and fasting through the night for 12+ hours. With no food left in your body, if you run on an empty stomach, your body is then forced to find fuel elsewhere. How, you ask? From muscle!
Yep – that’s right! Your body has to work overtime (using more calories or energy) to then convert the muscle on your body to usable energy. That means that you are losing muscle mass that you desperately want to keep on your body! (Note: You want to keep muscle! It not only makes you look nice and toned, but your body needs to use more calories to maintain the muscle on your body. Building and maintaining muscle helps you fit in those skinny jeans!)
So, now that you are convinced you need to eat before a run, what do you eat and how long do you wait to actually run?
Luckily, many of your pre-morning run foods are portable and can easily be put by your beside so you can eat them before you even lace your running shoes. Try a banana, unsweetened applesauce, a peach or a handful of raisins for runs under 60 minutes and consider eating them 30 to 60 minutes prior to hitting the pavement.
Go get fueled!