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Dealing with lack of hunger during long workouts

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

"But I'm never hungry"-- I hear it all the time from athletes when talking about their long workouts. And what they are saying is valid because when we are exercising, our body shunts blood flow away from our gut and directs it to places that need it more. This is why you may not feel hungry during or even right after a longer workout. It is normal.

During a long workout is not the time to practice being an intuitive eater. If we only ate when we were hungry or drank when we were thirsty on a long run, we would be in trouble.

Why is it important to eat/drink if I'm not feeling it? Your body still needs that fuel even though you can't hear the signals. Underfueling and being dehydrated can impact performance and if let go long enough can even cause serious medical issues.

So what can you do if you're just not feeling hungry?

1) Start Early : DO NOT wait until you feel hungry...that may not happen and if it does it's too late. Start eating something at the 30-45 minute mark

2)Mix It Up : When you use the same product for hours, you may get tired of the taste which means you're less likely to eat/drink. Add some variety to keep it interesting

3) Set Reminders: It is so easy to FORGET when you last ate something...Especially during those later stages of longer runs! Set reminders on your phone/watch for every 30-45 minutes so you don't even have to think about it

4) Practice: Don't wait until race day to start eating during your runs! Practice on your long runs and even practice on some shorter/faster runs so you know how your gut will handle the faster pace you may have on race day

Kayla Fitzgerald is a Registered Dietitian & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor located in Charleston, South Carolina. She works with clients 1:1, through small group coaching, and self guided programs. Her goal is to help you fuel your body for whatever the day has in store whether it's a 100 mile race or getting through the work day.


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