"One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is heading out for a run in the morning without eating anything first," says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, director of the Laboratory for Elite Athlete Performance at Georgia State University in Atlanta, who works with Olympic distance runners (10,000m and up) and oversees the nutrition program for U.S. Figure Skating. Your blood sugar is already low when you wake up, so you should have something carb-laden to eat, like half a bagel or some toast, as soon as you get out of bed. That way, 30 to 45 minutes will have passed before you actually head out the door. If you're not used to eating in the morning, start small, says Benardot. Drink a glass of apple juice before your workouts until your stomach adjusts, and then add in a piece of toast. Mixing in protein (cream cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, etc.) is fine, but it slows down your gastric emptying rate, so you'll need more time between when you eat and when you hit the road.
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