Breakfast for Runners

Yesterday I got in a semi-wonderful 12 miles! It wasn’t as “emergency-filled” as last Sunday’s long run… but I still had some stomach issues! I tried the clif bar on the run, and it definitely did better than the gel last week. But… ya. Still not great.

I am thinking that I need to change my morning breakfast. I am pretty certain that is where my stomach issues are coming from (not so much what I am fueling with during the run).

I never have trouble with evening runs. So I think instead of eating a big breakfast, waiting 2 hours, then running… I am going to try running on a much more empty stomach. I think this is why my evening runs are no problem– I have about 5 hours to digest my big lunch and my stomach is more “empty”.

Having read so many of your awesome blogs and talking with other runners, many seem to run in the morning on an empty stomach. In fact, I was surprise at how man of you do not have more than maybe a few bites of a granola bar before hitting the road.

I usually have 3-4 apples, 2-3 bowls of Kashi cereal with Almond Milk, handful of animal crackers dipped in peanut-butter, handful of grapes, lots of coffee, lots of water.

Runners World has broken it down for us runners to see just how much we need to fuel before a run ((of course, every runner is unique and what may work for you may not work for me)) READ THE ARTICLE HERE!!

For under 60 mins, they said empty stomachs are just fine!

For 60-90 mins, they suggest having a little something something.

**That something something is DEFINITELY less than what I have been eating.

I want to try this, but I have the disadvantage of being such an early riser that I would have to really exercise some self control in not eating a big breakfast out of boredom and habit ((This is one of the main things my nutritionist, therapist, and doctors are working with me on-a “normal” breakfast)).

I cannot and will not run alone in the dark for safety reasons, so I have to wait until 6:30 or 7 am.Β  I get up sometimes at 4:30– that is a long time to wait!!

But, I think this is a great time to experiment how my body reacts to less breakfast.Β  And who knows… this also may be a great way to work on “normalizing” my meal by forcing myself to relax and not be as quick and obsessive in my large-breakfast/morning-routine.

Who knows… something to look into, right?!

Have a great start of your week guys!!

What do you eat before your runs? How MUCH do you eat?

Do you like baseball?! ((watching a baseball movie and can’t decide my thoughts on it!))



  1. Breakfast for me is generally the same everyday: oatmeal with raisins and almonds sprinkled with cinnamon…coffee…V8. I’m up at 5am to give my dog a shot of insulin and feed her and I go for my run around 8am but that morning run isn’t written in stone….sometimes I’ll run in the evening. I do like baseball…most sports actually. The Mets, Knicks and Giants are the teams I follow.

    1. That sounds like a great breakfast — cinnamon goes on anything and everything in my opinion!! And I LOVE raisins! Getting ready to make some oatmeal raisin cookies this afternoon!
      Thats good to hear that you are flexible with your run times– me too. I try to shoot for a morning run, but if it doesn’t fit in until the eveining, that works too. I try not to FORCE any of my run times, you know? Then it is not enjoyable!

      I love sports so so much… but baseball is just HARD for me to get into!!

  2. Do you have a running partner? or did you do your 12 mile run alone? Do you read Running Times along with Runners World?

    1. Solo run! I am hoping to join the Bloomington running club when I head back to school for good next week and start running with people– this will help make it more of an enjoyable social event as well!!
      Mainly Runners World, but if in Barnes and Nobles will browse through Running times as well!

  3. klopez415 · · Reply

    For breakfast, I have oatmeal (1/2 cup) with a combo of water/almond milk and cinnamon. And coffee of course! I usually wait about an hour until I run and haven’t had any digestive issues. I hope you figure out what works best for you! Stomach issues during runs are the worst.

    I like baseball…in moderation…I’ve been to a few games and usually start out enjoying watching, but by the 6th inning, I’m usually bored.

    1. Yum oatmeal! I always forget about oatmeal in the summer time haha… I associate it with winter I think! But i love it! And cinnamon is great on everything!!! Maybe I will get a try! Thanks girl πŸ™‚

      haha Yes thank you! I get bored very quickly too!!

  4. If you’re going to run on empty, you shouldn’t wait 3 hours after waking-up to run because you will be super-hungry by the time you hit the road. I usually eat breakfast before a run (yogurt with nuts, dried fruit, 1/2 banana and handful of cereal), but if I have to run super-early, I’ll eat when I get back. I’m betting it’s the fiber from all of those apples that is causing your stomach issues. Try eating one bowl of cereal and a banana, and see how that feels. Did you ever decide on a training plan for your marathon?

    1. Ya I have been aware of my apple consumption problem for a while now… I bet it is causing the problem!
      That sounds like a good plan– one bowl and a banana. I will give that a try, thanks!

      No I have not choosen a marathon plan! I am just winging it so far! mid distance during the week runs with 1 speed or hill workout, then a long run on the weekend… I guess I am loosely following hal higdons!

  5. pickyrunner · · Reply

    I think it’s good to experiment and see what works for you! If you’re someone who loves breakfast but your stomach can’t handle it, eat half before and half after your run! I’m not a breakfast fan so I have no problem waiting until after. I don’t like the feeling of food/water in my stomach when I’m working out so I do this instead and it works for me!

    1. I would love to do the half before half after– I just hope I have the self control to do that… breakfast and my love for it has always been a weak point for me. But if I run soon after eating hopefully that will work rather than waiting around. Bahhh so many different options!
      Glad you have what works for you!

  6. I run on an empty stomach all the time. I usually will have a scoop of peanut butter before I head out on longer runs. I’m in the process of experimenting with fuels DURING the run. Just eat lots of carbs the night before πŸ˜‰ Good luck with your experimenting!

    1. Glad you found what works for you! You definitely arn’t the only one that likes the empty stomach feeling! I will give this a try this week sometime (maybe tomorrow) and see how that feels!
      Hope you find something to fuel with during the run! Those are hard to get right!!

  7. So I’m an evening runner, but when I go home to visit my parents, it’s too hot in Louisiana to run in the evening before it gets dark. When that’s the case, I usually just have a couple of bits of a granola bar or maybe some toast, and then I run. What really works for me is that if I know I am going to run in the morning, I eat a later dinner. If more than about 10 hours have passed between dinner and running the next morning, I can’t do it without some fuel. The other thing is that I generally wake up, get dressed, and immediately go run, so my body doesn’t have time to get hungry yet.

    I’ve read that running on an empty stomach makes your body work harder, which can actually be a GOOD thing for training. It just doesn’t work for me unless conditions are right, but you should give it a try!

    1. Very interesting!! That makes sense for training, making your body do it on less fuel…That is definitely something for me to consider!
      That is also a good idea for eating a dinner late if you are going to run in the morning! I will try that this week! I think I may run early tomorrow…. we will see! But I will pay attention to it! Thanks πŸ™‚
      If I wait until I have been up for 2 hours or so to run, I will try a lighter breakfast of a granola bar! thanks for the advice!! have a good one!

  8. I think a lot of the problem may also be a result of the amount of fiber you’re eating before your runs. It’s usually better to stick with foods that are more easily digestible beforehand if you grab something right before going out on your run. However, since you’re awake for so long before running your fiber rich breakfasts are moving through your body. When you go out on your long runs that fiber pushes anything that was previously in your colon out, causing the bathroom stops. I was a big fan of high fiber cereal throughout recovery. Now I try to stick with cottage cheese with PB or Greek yogurt, maybe toast with PB. It seems to help. You definitely need something though, especially if you’re awake for several hours before running. You’re doing great though and you’ll get it all figure out.

    1. I know… my apple consumption ((all the fiber)) is out of control. It is seriously an addiction!! I am really really working on cutting back (especially before working out!)

      Thanks for the suggestions of other breakfast ((and I am so thankful for your advice since you seem to understand disordered eating and recovery… )). I love greek yogurt and pb and toast. I will give those a try. Yes, since I am up so early, I honestly can’t imagine NOT eating something.

      Thank you so so much for your advice,suggestions, and support! I love hearing your (and others) feedback. It really really helps πŸ™‚

      I hope to get it all figured out soon! thanks for your encouragement! Have a great great day!!

  9. I usually have a banana for short runs and oatmeal with blueberries for longer runs. Before 5k’s and 10k’s I always eat an all natural energy bar.

    1. Oh yum! Sounds like you have it pretty well planned out! I am glad you found what works for you! I will definitely try the oatmeal thing before my long runs on the weekend and try NOT to eat a million and one apples ((fiber overload!))!

      What type of natural energy bar do you like!?

  10. I definitely have more issues when I run after eating dinner – but I think its like you said, I don’t give my body enough time to fully digest everything before I go for a run. When I go for a run in the morning, I typically don’t eat anything at all, I try to get out the door as soon as possible because I ❀ breakfast and if I wait too long I would definitely be feeling hungry before I left for the day. When I do eat before I run, its typically no more than 1/2 a clif bar.

    As for baseball…I like watching most sports in person, but baseball is definitely the most difficult for me to stay engaged throughout the whole game!

    Hope you had a great weekend!

    1. I LOVE breakfast too!! Maybe too much! I need to relax with it i think haha… but that is a good idea to get out of the door fast so you can look forward to a yummmy meal!
      Thanks for the tips!
      Yay clif bars!!!— my fave!

      My weekend was busy but great!! Hope yours was great as well πŸ™‚

  11. Yeah, I believe that everyone is different when it comes to how much you should eat before a run.. It took me a little bit to figure out what to eat and how much. I have a pretty sensitive stomach in the mornings. So I eat a handful of almonds, and a banana with some almond butter and honey. That usually does the trick for me. It’s enough to get me through my runs, but not enough to make me sick.
    I hate baseball movies, and don’t particularly like watching them lol

    Hope you figure out what works best for you πŸ™‚ Have a great day!

    1. So glad you found a good prerun meal that works with your stomach! I am going to keep experimenting.. but it sounds like a lot of people like banana/pb thing– I will give that a try this week and let you guys know how it goes!

      Baseball is super boring to me…and a movie on it depends on the actors/plot I think! I love all sports.. except baseball haha I need ACTION!!

  12. If i’m heading out for anything over 12 miles, i always have an English muffin with pb and fig butter beforehand. It doesn’t hurt my stomach and usually keeps me going for 6-8 miles before i fuel again. If i wake up super early, i’ll do the same. I think i’m going to try oatmeal before my 20 miler this week, though, just to see how that works. I might try gummy bears or a granola bar during my run too. Gels have been too hit or miss for me in regards to how they make my stomach feel afterwards, and I don’t feel particularly confident in relying on them for my marathon in September.
    Figured I’d use this last long run to try something new and see how it goes before the big day!

    1. I love english muffins!! And I just went a little crazy over buying my fave pb by purchasing like 4 jars today…
      let me know how the gummy bears work! I have heard they are a great fuel during runs!!
      I always forget about oatmeal in the summer time.. but I might have to bust that out again and try it for my prerun meals. I will no longer do gels… i like munching on something. I feel like it really gets into my body for some reason haha
      Glad you have found a good breakfast that works for you! I will keep searching and try some of your suggestions! thanks!! πŸ™‚

  13. I almost always have peanut butter with honey on a tortilla before a run. Or just peanut butter with honey in a cup (without the tortilla if i dont have one). It’s my go-to pre-running meal! Good luck with everything.

    1. You are the first one to mention a tortilla! interesting! I like! And sometimes just pb/honey mixed in a cup!? crazy! Sounds AWESOME! haha glad that works for you! I will keep experimenting! thanks girl πŸ™‚

      1. I like tortillas – they seem to last a while and don’t feel like they take up too much room in my stomach. And sometimes I throw some granola on the peanut butter/honey before rolling it up, just for fun πŸ™‚

      2. Ok with that granola idea you just had me literally licking my lips with craving!!! haha and YES tortillas totally seem to last forever!! I probably keep them longer than I should.. haha oops!! πŸ™‚

  14. Give some different things a try and see what works for you. If I’m running first thing in the morning it’s on an empty stomach. Especially for short runs (I do eat the second I walk back in the door though). Occasionally I will have a couple bites of a granola bar too.

    1. Ya I think i just gotta keep experimenting. If I am ever able to sleep until a little bit later (like 6ish) then I would love to wake up and go straight for a run on an empty stomach and see how that feels… so many people seem to do it and have success. I can also see me being a quick granola bar eater though too…Lots of different options it sounds like, but you are right– i will just have to see!! πŸ™‚ Thanks have a great night!

  15. When I run super early, I either go empty-stomached or (if it’s a longer run), I have 1/2 a protein bar and then just fuel on the run. You’ll figure it out!!

    Also, avoid fiber pre-run. All those apples etc are probably REALLY exacerbating the issue.

    1. I know I have an apple obsession problem!! But you are right– I know that is a huge factor for why i have to go to the bathroom so much!! granola bar/english muffin/oatmeal/banana/pb sounds like what lots of people are recommending. So maybe on mornings i plan on running just cut out those 4 apples! maybe that is the trick!! haha ahhh i just love them so so much!

      I will keep experimenting I guess! Thanks for the suggestions πŸ™‚

      1. I love apples too! I eat them in the evenings as a snack…It helps move things along so I can “clear the pipes” in the morning pre-run!

      2. That is smart! maybe i should do that, and hold off eating them in the morning… then maybe my runs will be “bathroom free!”

  16. I have to run at night for my marathon clinic every Tuesday, we’re in week 7 and I still can’t figure out what works so that I don’t feel so heavy or have heartburn/sloshing even though I eat hours before. I’m definitely a morning runner, and lately my favorite has been a baby banana with peanut or almond butter. Long run days I’ll add a slice of GF toast. I find for me, coffee sometimes doesn’t settle well. I also read an article recently, though, from – he has some really great articles I think you might find helpful on fueling- about a sensitivity some athletes have to fructose. I was thinking about it on my run this morning after my usual banana thing and felt kind of bleh in the tummy and wondered if maybe that could be it, paired with the coffee. So sad though because it’s something I look forward to lol Anywho, maybe all that fiber and fructose is doing you in? My next thing to try before a long run is a smoothie. One thing that usually worked for me though was Vega’s Berry Bliss Vibrancy Bar a couple of hours before a run.
    I was also wondering if not only do you need to find the right fuel for you, but if it just takes time to train your stomach to digest while you’re active? Who knows, I just want to sort it out so I can run without worrying about having to sht my pants lol

    1. Wow interesting about the fructose thing!! I have not heard of that and I will definitely be checking into that… as well as that bengreenfieldfitness– thanks so much!
      Banana and pb sounds like a good fuel– not too much but… enough πŸ™‚
      And coffee– i look forward to that when i go to bed at night for the next morning. I LOVE IT!!
      I hope you are able to figure out the sloshy stomach/heartburn thing– very frustrating and annoying for evening runs!

      I bet I am having way to much fiber with the 4 apples before the run… it is a problem that I am trying to get a handle on!! I just love them!
      Yumm smoothies sound like a great idea too!
      Thanks for such helpful suggestions!!! I will let you know what I find out!!

  17. I have a fairly sensitive stomach but have gotten my running breakfast routine down and it has made a huge difference. I always eat some sort of toast with peanut butter or almond butter before my run (my favorite is a toasted English muffin). After the run I am always hungry again so I will make a smoothie or have some Greek yogurt. I can’t do anything dairy before I run so I always like having it afterward. Good luck figuring out something that works for you!

    Oh, and baseball is a no go for me. I think its boring! Much more of a football and basketball girl πŸ™‚

    1. Yumm a whole wheat english muffin is my favorite!!! Especially nice and toasted so the pb melts onto it…
      Thanks so much for sharing! I love greek yogurt too and always have that when I get back! It never sounds too good before a run though… i like to treat it as a “treat” when i am done!!

      I should try something simple like your breakfast before my next run– english muffin and pb. simple, fueling πŸ™‚
      Have a great night!!

  18. I almost NEVER eat prior to running. I just don’t like to have anything on my stomach. I try to eat 200-400 calories maybe an hour before I run if I’m running in the evening, but if I run in the morning, it’s always on an empty stomach. MY long runs are always on an empty stomach, because I run them early in the morning and I don’t want to get up early enough to eat and let it settle before I run.

    1. That is so common after reading other peoples comments! It seems to work for a lot of people… I will try that out if i am able to sleep long enough that when I wake up it is light out for me to run.
      I am glad you know what works for you– stomachs are tricky things!! Thanks for sharing and the suggestions– I will let you guys know what works!! πŸ™‚

  19. I can’t run on an empty stomach either! Usually its a big thick protein smoothie and a piece of GF toast with almond butter πŸ™‚

    1. Yummy!! I need to hire you to drive to my house everyone morning to make me one of your delicious smoothies or oatmeal or yogurt bowls… They always look amazing !!!!

  20. […] was so excited to hear all of your thoughts the last few days regarding pre-run nutrition and how you define a “Successful Run“. You guys are all amazing in your approach to […]

  21. […] and I woke up and I didn’t have a single apple!! Not a one!! Most of your suggestions revolved around cutting back on the intense fiber overload in my 4 apples I eat in the […]

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