How do you fuel a 6am run?

I often head out running without having a second thought to the fuel to get me through. Lets face it most runs are short, and to be honest you technically could get by without anything additional to water and electrolytes.

But what happens when you plan in a 6am long run? Yesterday we planned just that. Originally mapping out just under 11 miles, Jo and I decided to smash it out early. Both having busy schedules and taking advantage of the quiet roads at that time of day, we were happy to get it done. However with it being so early, getting up at 5am and thinking about eating breakfast made my stomach turn. Not only would I feel the food was sitting heaving in my stomach but there is always the fear having to use the bathroom en route.


So – I had nothing. My Camelbak was filled with water and added electrolytes so I felt that this was sufficent. Naughty – I know.

The run itself was amazing. Starting in the darkness we made our way through the industrial side of Harlow. Running up to the Pinnicles I managed to overcome hills that had previously brought me to tears, without even thinking about it.

Chatting our way along the country roads to Roydon, I ran up a hill and didn’t even notice until we got to the top. Amazing! It just shows that having Jo as my training buddy, chatting away can be great to distract you from the challenges in front. And it shows that I am continueing to make progress with both my running and recovery from the illness I faced this year.


Hills all complete – we just had a long beautiful run along the River Stort back to Harlow Mill. What an amazing route it was. With the sun rising and mist coming off the fields and river, we couldn’t help to stop and take pictures. It is so amazing to have such scenery on your doorstep. Never having run this route before, however, we were unaware that the river path was open on a cow field. There is nothing like fear of 50 cows looking like they are going to charge to get you moving faster.



Heading back past Harlow Town station, around mile 9, fatigue hit. We realised that the 11 mile route we planned might end up being more like 10. This is when I knew that I have to start thinking about fuelling properly for a long run.

Although I simply cannot eat before a 6am run I need to start thinking about having some form of energy for half way. I clearly needed some fuel at 9 miles, when the fatigue set in and the lactic acid was building in my legs.

Having tried energy gels before, with a bad experience, I am very sceptical as to what I use going forward. Any suggestions anywhere? I know a bad experience with one type of gel should not put me off. Now really is the time to test different sources; when my training is not yet critical and my body has suffcient time to get used to having gels or bars in my system.

So over the next few weeks I will welcome any suggestions, testers or advice about what to use for long runs. I myself will be spending a lot of time researching the different types to see whats best for me.


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