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I am eating less and less during racing and training. I did the Seattle Half Marathon without breakfast or fueling during it. While the race was not great for me it was the result of beaten up legs and lack of training, not bonking.
A couple things will affect my decision though. If it is really hot, I make sure I get electrolytes of some kind for workouts of 90' or more. Usually SCaps! If I'm out for more than 2 hours I'll do some calorie planning. I usually use real food though. When running for that long I'm not running hard so munching on pretzels or half a PB&J sandwich is easy. I eat every 30 minutes so I stay fueled without having to have a full belly. I plan for 100ish calories an hour. Will eat a light breakfast and start fueling an hour in. So for a 2 hour run I'll eat 50 calories an hour in then 50 more 1.5 hours in.
I don't think sugar is bad for fuel. It has saved my ass more than once. Watermelon, a cookie or a cup of coke has gotten me through a really long day. I did a 12 hour ultra that I fueled myself with homemade chocolate cake and watermelon for the last 2 hours. I felt like a superstar. Key for the food is to stay away from processed stuff if you can help it. Although I have a friend who has gotten thru an IM on gummy worms.
I have also been working on this intentionally. I'm not a fan of gels and most drinks. I have some in the house but haven't opened them. The high concentration of carbs without fat or protein usually kills my stomach unless there is something solid to slow down the digestion, like with pretzels. I do use recovery drink, Endurox, when I don't feel like making real food after a workout.
I think people tend to overeat during regular training.
My POV comes from running ultras where people tend to snack on whatever is at the aid station and gels/energy drinks aren't very common.
Jen - @ultragrrl
"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
To your question, though, I have also been experimenting with a lower amount of fuel this fall. I am training for a 50K (my first!) and most of my runs are first thing in the morning without breakfast or fueling. I have done this for runs up to 17 miles. I extended my non-fueled runs on purpose as you seem to be doing, but the 17 miler was just an accident because I just forgot to pick up my GUs before I left the house and didn't carry any $ that day.
In my experiment of 1, I have discovered that I can do runs up to about 10-11 miles without breakfast or fuel with no problems, but longer than 11-12 miles (~2 hours for me) and my performance suffers. I feel very tired and get that shakey/queasy/stupid/uncoordinated feeling. Eating a GU approximately every 5 miles works well for me. If I ate before my runs, I would likely want less GU. However, because I have a lot of GI issues (digestion as well as plumbing), I do not like to eat before I run and I stick with GUs for my fuel because they are a known quantity that I have found does not upset my stomach or make me cough (like pretzels). While I agree that it is probably a good thing to moderate or limit sugar in my regular diets, I just don't see a need to do it in training.
I agree 100% about sugars not being bad per se -- I always crave fruit (pineapple, mango, blueberries) immediately after a heavy session -- I guess my body likes to replenish with fructose. Am also not averse to Marshmallow Fluff w/ peanut butter (or even Nutella, god help me) on a bagel if I'm on a long ride . . . I know if I weren't active I could never get away with it, but I'll burn through it, and it's an excellent way to prevent that vaporous-flakey mindset that comes on pre-bonk, given the hairy traffic I need to deal with along the rides.
I guess I'm more concerned about the really engineered sugars -- the gels, the energy drinks -- and would like to take a more real-food approach. (Not that I'm kidding myself that Fluff is real food). But this winter, instead of the gels, I'm going to experiment with good old gorp, baby boiled potatoes, other stuff that's portable and won't smoosh too bad from here to there.
I can't imagine running for nearly two hours without breakfast! But you sure earn it that way!
If I'm doing 30+k, then I'll wear a camel back with gatorade and take some gels, mostly so that last hour isn't a sufferfest. You shouldn't need any calories until your time hits 90min or so - regardless of workout - IMHO.
Try it, see how it goes.
"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
I have a cliff bar every morning before working out... I need the calories and something so coffee doesn't upset my stomach (I like it black)
That said, I am starting a new med that has to be taken with just water first thing (pre food) in the AM and I can't have anything but water for 2 hrs after. I'm sure I'll adjust but what I am most not looking forward to is delaying coffee! (Taking it then going back to sleep is not an option; I have to be upright)
to the OP: the only time I'd use gatorade or something in a spin class were if it were several hours long.
I also think that what you need during a workout is somewhat dependent on nutrition the day before - there are days I can go a couple hours with nothing and other days I get hypoglycemic at an hour and need a gel or something.
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disclaimer: PhD not MD