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Do you have to eat before your morning run?

As the weather gets warmer, runners are hitting the road even earlier. Here's when you can get up and go versus when you need some fuel and hydration pre-workout

We’re in the hottest months of the summer and lots of runners are waking up early to get their miles in and beat the heat of the day. As runners exercise through the warm months and prepare for their fall races, here are some guidelines to follow to optimize your morning run.

RELATED: What to eat before your early morning run

If you’re running for under 45 minutes

If you’re doing a shorter, easier run, your morning routine can be kept very short and simple. For an easy run you don’t need to worry so much about hydrating or fueling. If you had a good dinner the night before and a glass of water before you head out the door in the morning, you should be fine. Be sure to have lots of water and a good breakfast post-run, but you don’t need to do much to be ready for an easy morning 6K run.

If you’re doing a hard workout or long run

Jen Sygo is a dietitian and sports nutritionist who was a guest on the Shakeout Podcast last week. She told host Kate Van Buskirk that when you’re running fasted, you’re sacrificing speed and intensity. “The downside of running without any food in your stomach is that the run is going to feel a little more difficult, especially the longer it gets. The other thing you sacrifice is peak intensity–so your capacity to do intervals or sprints.”

If you’ve got a hard morning run on the docket, waking up with enough time to at least have a snack and digest it, for example peanut butter and a banana, can make a big difference in how your body feels during your hard morning workout. Giving yourself some extra time in the morning also ensures that you can get some water in before you hit the road. Staying hydrated is key on a summer run, and this is a topic that Sygo really dives into in this week’s podcast.

The above recommendations are for a person who’s used to running fueled. If you’re interested in introducing fasted runs as a staple to your workout programme, consult with a coach and dietitian.

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