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Heading out the door to run while the sun is just beginning to peak over the horizon can be the best — or sometimes, the only — time for many runners to pound out a training run. However, balancing proper fuelling with getting out the door for a morning run in a timely fashion can be a constant struggle.
Finding the early morning fuelling strategy that works best for you can be like discovering a diamond in the rough, and Claire Shorenstein, a running coach and New York University clinical nutrition student, said this is because nutrition needs are different for each and every athlete.
“It’s a very personal thing,” Shorenstein said of morning nutrition. A muffin might be a great mix of simple carbs for some runners, but can wreak GI havoc for others. Practicing your nutrition and experimenting with different options is the best way to perfect your morning fuelling routine. You are likely to have several workouts hampered by GI problems, but practice makes perfect, even if there are some unwelcome hiccups along the way.
When running in the morning first consider how far you plan to run, as your fuel needs will change depending on distance and intensity, said Eric Skelley, running coach and owner of Rock Hard Runner in Redondo Beach, Calif. For short, lower intensity runs the fuelling strategy is pretty simple, he said.
“The rule of thumb is if you’re running up to an hour you don’t necessarily need anything” Skelley said.
Shorenstein agreed, adding she can run up to six miles without worrying about fueling in the morning. However, Skelley notes this is a rule of thumb that works for most runners, but not everyone, including himself.