Fasting Month as an Opportunity to Develop a Good Habits for Runners


The holy month of Ramadhan has it own special challenges for runners, especially new-beginners to the sport, or those who are bound inside a specific training period as part of preparation regime towards certain racing goals. Nevertheless, the fasting condition can also be seen as a golden chance for runners to optimize the natural body ability to fuel itself by using body fat, thus resulting to an improved state of body fat composition by the end of Ramadhan. I assume you want faster racing weight, right?

When and how to train while fasting?
The main challenge of sport activities while fasting is the risk of dehydration, for that reason, here are a few tips that we all can try to practice daily during Ramadhan :

  1. Avoid heat and direct sun exposure during your fasting workout and choose to still maintain your routine under an air conditioned room with suitable facility.
  2. If you don’t have the time to do exercise straight after breaking your fast, try to do it just an hour before that.
  3. When time comes for your long run, split your distance goals into two running sessions. For example, do the first part before sunrise and the second part just before sunset or make other adjustment that best suits your schedules.
  4. Take time to get into the rhythm of your Ramadhan training plans, by doing a shorter run at first and then gradually improving them the next day, giving a chance for your body to adjust with your daylight fasting.
  5. Perform a low intensity running, to train the body in harvesting energy from your body fat supply.

How about nutrition plan?

Nutrition is a discipline to be followed by runners who are eager to maximize the body work function throughout the entire day. Good balance on nutrition also become first and foremost the important component that will be affecting your performance during your training period all through your racing tracks.

In times of Ramadhan, nutrition become increasingly vital to maintain exercise routine while also fasting and keeping the body energy healthy. It is also the perfect time for a detox, cleaning your body from poor diet of ‘junk’ foods. With only a small window for having a meal, the perfect choice of nutrition is essential for fasting runners. The good habit that build up during Ramadhan – as you eat less and more aware of your intake – is somewhat a nutrition training of building a better diet that you can continue to live up as a healthy lifestyle, even after Ramadhan.

Bottom line is, that you should consider nutrition as something important, whether your fasting in Ramadhan or not. It is merely the time frame of less eating and specified hour that sets the two period apart. Let’s run through the recommendation below :

1. Sahoor hour
It starts around 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, with more less 45 minutes to an hour as time frame that allows you to consume before the Subuh prayer is calling. What you eat at this hour will determine your energy levels for the rest of the day. Complex carbohydrates is the one that you should choose first, for example if you are a white rice eater, try to change into eating brown rice instead. Incorporate some fruits and high fiber ingredients to make you feel fully energized all day. Choose proteins and good fats as your menu in this early hours, to slow down the process of feeling an empty stomach. Fluid intake is necessary, drink water right from the moment that you wake up to the time sahoor needs to be finish. Try to take less or no sugar added drink, the insulin spike and drop will make you hunger late morning.

2. Breaking your fast
The principle of breaking your fast is to choose nutrition that are fastest to be absorb by the body after a day long break from any food or fluids. Start with something naturally sweetened, such as dates. You can also try the kolak, a special Indonesian dessert based on palm sugar or coconuts sugar, pandan leaves, coconut milk and banana or cassava as variation. Normally at early days, you may experience times of razzle eating, as you crave so many food and decide to take them all in at once, up to the point of exceedingly full. This is not a wise move because it triggers a shock to your digestive system, and may cause you unpleasant feeling afterwards.

Along the rest of the night after breaking your fast, try to split your portion into two meal times. The first light meals should contain good proteins such as egg whites, fish and chicken breast along with high nutrition carbohydrates such as whole wheat and fruit choices. And then the second meal, may be taken a few hours apart, can contain complex carbohydrates and good fats such as fresh avocado, unsalted nuts and grains. Make sure to hydrate yourself with sufficient water intake and you may add a dose of isotonic drink before you start your evening workout.

I hope these tips will come handy and useful for your training and nutritional journey towards a healthier lifestyle.  wish you a blessed month of fasting in the Holy Ramadhan and stay safe on your every run.

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