Emon’s expert tips for training during Ramadan

A reality TV star who ran back to back marathons while fasting during Ramadan is now aiming to inspire his fellow Muslim runners ahead of the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run 10k and half marathon.

More than 14,000 people are set to take part in the event, which starts on Broad Street and takes in the best of Birmingham, including the Jewellery Quarter and Bournville on Sunday 5 May. Ramadan, a time when Muslims fast during the hours between sunrise and sunset, is expected to begin on the evening of Sunday March 10 and finish on April 8.

So Muslim runners face an extra challenge training ahead of the race.

But Emon Choudhury, who shot to fame after winning BBC Two’s Race Across the World in 2020, says people shouldn’t be deterred by the need to fast and has revealed his tips for keeping your fitness levels up during Ramadan.

The charity ambassador, who has taken part in the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run and AJ Bell Great North Run, explains: “I’ve had quite a lot of experience of running during Ramadan, including running back-to-back marathons whilst fasting last year.

“This year I’m taking on another challenge during Ramadan and I have a few tips for my fellow runners who are training during this time.

“From my experience fuelling is key and I tend to have a lot of oats, porridge, dates and bananas and a lot of fluid around 5 am just before I start my fast.

“These kinds of foods give you sufficient energy and the fuel you need to go on runs.”

Pacing yourself is also important according to Emon, who has won a Pride of Britain award for his fundraising.

He explains: “Having a consistent pace is crucial and knowing what your body can do and can adapt to whilst fasting is important.

“Don’t overexert yourself and try to go for a personal best in these races as it will be very difficult. The key thing is just to get around the race or your training run.”

Emon says getting to know your body is also vital.

“If you’re going on a training run during Ramadan then experiment with what you can do,” he suggests.

“Listen to your body and if your body is not having it or if you’re getting dizzy or lightheaded, then just slow your pace down. Even if you need to walk so be it.

“The most important part is being safe and knowing what you’re capable of doing on the actual run itself.

“Try not to get overwhelmed with the whole situation on race day. Listen to your training and be consistent with your pace and be safe.”

Emon also advises running with a friend rather than on your own. He explains: “I think running with a friend or a group of friends is wise as you do sometimes get lightheaded and it can be dangerous whilst running or training during Ramadan. So having somebody with you is a good idea just in case anything happens.”

He also believes timing is key. “I tend to go on my training run straight after I’ve started my fast. So around six or seven o’clock in the morning I tend to go on short training runs.

“If I need to do a longer distance then I’ll go just before I break my fast, so about four or five o’clock in the evening. I’ll finish just in time to break my fast.

“Training and doing runs during Ramadan is completely doable but it is all down to the individual.

“Everybody’s body and mindset is different. So the most important thing to take into account is to know your body and know your limits. Be safe and Happy Ramadan.”

Emon’s Tips For Training During Ramadan

1. Fuel your body with the right food before fasting. Emon recommends oats, porridge, dates, bananas and lots of fluid.
2. Pace yourself. Know what you can do while fasting. Don’t overexert yourself and try to go for a personal best.
3. Listen to your body. Experiment with what you can do while training and if you’re struggling then slow down and even walk. The most important thing is to be safe and know what you’re capable of during the actual run.
4. Run with a friend or a group just in case anything happens.
5. Timing is key. Emon recommends going on short training runs straight after starting your fast. He saves longer distances for just before breaking his fast.


There’s still time to sign up for the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 5 May. Find out more here.