This is something I've never been able to do - eat before a morning training run. I've done as much as 2.5 hours or approximately 16 to 17 miles without eating and without any problems. I do drink liquids during my runs though. And the night before a training run I try to eat more than usual in anticipation of the increased fuel needs the next morning.
I try to eat a few hours before the marathon, usually a Powerbar and a banana or something familiar.
In the days leading up to a marathon, I also try to drink extra smoothies than usual to increase my hydration levels and to get added nutrients I don't get from eating.
I once tried running afternoon X-country races without any food all day because my coach kept telling us how this worked for him. After conking out after only 2 miles and finishing poorly I decided to always eat something prior to a race to ensure nutrition doesn't get in the way of my performance.
This just goes to show that what works for one person may not work for another. You have to learn by trial and error and/or experimentation to see what works for you.
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