Should I Eat Breakfast Before an Early Morning Run?

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When life is incredibly busy, weekday training is often squeezed into very early morning slots. ‘Should I eat breakfast before an early morning run?’ is a question many runners ask.

When we wake up in the morning our blood sugars are at their lowest because we haven’t eaten since the night before. Most of us need to eat something to kick our body and brain into action!  The problem we runners have is that eating anything too close to a run may impair our running and play games with the gut. What’s more, getting up an hour before a 6.45 a.m. run to give enough time to digest breakfast properly is not exactly practical!

For shorter sunrise runs or 5 or 6 km, a small banana or an energy ball will boost the system just enough fuel your workout, especially if you have eaten a carbohydrate-rich meal the night before, such as a bowl of pasta. Top tip – get something down you as soon as you wake up, before you bother getting your kit on, to give yourself maximum digestion time.

For longer runs of over 1 hour, however, and, of course, on race day, make the effort to get up early enough to eat a proper breakfast; at least 1-2 hours before you run.  Oats, in the form of muesli or a bowl of hot, steaming porridge are a great option for runners.

So why is porridge a great pre-run breakfast?

  • Porridge oats are a great source of unrefined carbohydrate, the most accessible source of energy for runners.
  • Oats have a low Glycaemic Index, which means that the carbohydrate is released into your bloodstream slowly and will therefore sustain your energy levels for that extra mile.
  • Regular consumption of oats can help maintain a healthy digestive system and lower cholesterol.
  • Oats also contain protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and minerals, including iron and calcium.
  • Oats are cheap – much cheaper than sugary processed over-packaged cereals!

Porridge with toasted walnuts, blueberries and honey

COOK TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients for 2 large servings

  • 100g porridge
  •  550 ml water or milk or ½ and ½
  •  Pinch of salt
  •  150g punnet of fresh blueberries
  •  Handful of walnuts
  • Good quality runny honey to taste


  1. Put the oats, water and/or milk into a pan with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil over a high heat and then turn the heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The porridge with become thick and creamy.
  2. Meanwhile, pop the nuts onto a baking tray and roast in the oven at 160°C for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour into two warmed bowls, sprinkle with the blueberries and nuts and drizzle over the honey

Nutrition per serving

  • Energy 382 kcal
  • Protein 12g
  • Carbohydrate 50 g (sugars 19 g)
  • Fat 15 g (saturates 2 g)
  • Salt 1.1 g
  • Fibre 7 g

Good luck with your training!

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