This week we talk all things running nutrition and challenge your assumptions and current habits around fueling your runs.
TODAY we ask the question, should I eat before my morning run? Spoiler: YES if you are a woman. If you are male, not necessarily.
For all things women's sports I turn to Stacy Sims, author of the book, Roar. In that book she covers this topic of to eat or not to eat and says, "Most women I see who want to try this approach [to fasted training] are doing it because they believe it will help them get lean more quickly. It nearly always backfires." She goes on to describe how exercise in a fasted states puts your body under extra stress which in the morning comes on top of the time when the stress hormone Cortisol is already elevated. Extra stress means extra Cortisol and hormone disruption which stimulates fat storage. Men can do aerobic efforts up to 90 minutes in a fasted state and do not have the same hormonal effects.
In a Q and A on this same question she goes on, "Regardless of gender, the final consideration when thinking about fueling before a workout is your energy availability: You want to avoid being in a low energy availability state. As athletes, you may have limited recovery time between sessions and fasted training is known to decrease appetite hormones and daily energy intake, so it is critical to really think about fueling for each session and recovering well. Every now and then it’s OK to do a short, low intensity session in a fasted state, but for long-term health and performance, it is best to eat something small beforehand to reduce the overall negative stress on hormone balance and avoid running yourself down."
Your challenge for today is to step back from your normal habit and look at how your are fueling before your runs. Are you getting enough fuel to run well and recover? If you aren't fueling pre-run, try it this week and see how it feels.
Here is a good pre-run muffin I love and another version here.