Is it all in your head? : the need to be fuelled up for runs and exercise?
The reason I ask is that I did an hour and a half moderate run this morning before work… on an empty stomach. I drank a bit of water before I went out… and had a recovery milkshake, good breakfast, and plenty to eat through out the morning. But I managed the fasted run fine.
I usually train (up to an hour) fasted in the morning. Any more than that and I’d usually eat some low GI carbs. When I do runs fasted, I drink plenty of water to keep my hydrated, but will happily do a run for up to an hour, or some strength training without anything to eat. The idea behind it is that if you eat carbs before you exercise, your body goes to the carbs / sugar / glucose for energy as opposed to accessing your fat stores for energy. 🙂 And your body gets better at using fat for energy (reducing the chance of bonking as your body uses fat more readily – which most of us have plenty of!)
I’m by no means suggesting fasting and exercising for long periods of time is a good idea, but you can train your body and mind to be able to deal with it. You need to eat to fuel your machine, and that’s precisely why I’ve got a big lot of good food with me today. 🙂 A great mixture of carbs, protein and fats.
Today I thought I might be pushing it a little by doing a 10 miler on an empty stomach. Would I run out of energy, bonk or have to stop to walk? No, the fact is I was fine. Although I did feel hunger pangs after about an hour, I was ok to keep going (and even get faster) on the run.
I was careful with my effort, I took it easy (HR less than 150 / 80%) for the most part, only increasing my heart rate (between 150-170 / 90%) with around 2-3 miles to go:
(Tip: The more you push your body into higher heart rate zones – the more it goes to carbs / glycogen for energy – keep your heart rate below 80% to get your body to use fat stores more readily).
I feel fine a few hours later and made sure I fuelled up and rehydrated right after (recovery milkshake, water, eggs, smoked salmon, cheese and nuts) and in the following hours after the run (protien shake, banana, plenty of water, chicken box). My brain knew I’d be fine and I kept on running comfortably until I was finished. 🙂
It’s as if because of past experience my brain knows I’ll be ok without added energy before the run, so it’s ok to keep going until I get my food and water. I can keep motivated and get myself through the hour and a half. I’m careful to drink plenty as I’ve suffered from dehydration headaches before after long runs.
Easy peasy – even in this hot weather. 🙂
Do you train fasted at all? Or have you tried it and bonked?