Some of my friends has been asking how to train during Ramadan. The rule of thumb I follow is not to go over my 60-80% effort. Why? Training while fasting will be challenging due to the lack of hydration and fuel in your body. Therefore try not to push too much, especially in the first two weeks of Ramadan, just to get yourself to adapt to your current body condition.
Suggested time to train would be before breaking fast (iftar), after breaking iftar with very light meal, after tarawih ( 2-3 hours after breaking fast with heavy meals) or just before Suhoor. I don’t really suggest before suhoor because you might feel hungry at the middle of the day or lack of night sleep since you have to wake up early for training before suhoor (assuming you sleep at 11 pm after tarawih and woke up at 4 am, which would leave you with 5 hours of sleep). And training just after suhoor will definitely make your day much more challenging. Therefore, choose when is a suitable time for you to run, according to your capability & availability. For me the best time would be just before breaking fast, as I can drink up after completing my training and just focus on attending tarawih and sleep adequately before suhoor.
This is a suggested a week training plan for someone who has been running regularly. But feel free to tailor it according to your effort and goal. If you have a big race coming up just after 2 weeks or less after the end of Ramadhan, I suggest you keep the speedwork and long run in the plan. And when you plan to keep the speed workouts and long run, watch out for the fatigue, it might creep in a few weeks after fasting. Below training plan has one to two rest days (2nd & 6th day), but if you need more rest, please eliminate the speed workout and/or long run. I think 4-5 km or 30-40mins is sufficient to maintain your fitness level throughout Ramadhan. Some runners in the idea of teaching your body to utilize fat instead of carbs as a fuel during the activity, but I’m not really sure how far is this true.
If you think your leg itching to race while fasting, I recommend you to sign up for Pacemakers Anniversary Relay, it a 4 x 3km road race held during the fasting month. But proper nutrition planning required to prepare you for the race and sustain throughout the day. Below is my post which I share my nutrition plan during one of Pacemakers Anniversary Relay I participated with KyserunKrew.
Some of the things you should keep in mind if you are training while Ramadan:
- Stay Hydrated – Drink more water while not fasting. Suggested to have electrolytes (Hammer HEED) or recovery drink (Hammer Recoverite) after your training while breaking fast or after your night run. Monitor your urine colour to understand your body hydration level. While fasting and after breaking fast, your urine colour might show you are dehydrated which is understandable. But during suhoor, your urine should indicate you are adequately hydrated after breaking fast the day before, if it’s still not normal (dehydrated) you might want to increase the amount of water intake during suhoor. Bring a water bottle along while performing Tarawih and have some sip some thought the prayers.
- Avoid Salty food and Caffeine – These two things might lead to dehydration.
- Eat smart – We are taking fewer meals, so make it count. Try to eat complex carbs instead like brown rice or whole grains bread. Take power foods (small quantity but packed with nutrients) such as chia seeds. I drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of chia seed during suhoor and have a lot of dates. Dates are tasty and give you energy throughout the day. Rules to remember, quality over quantity. Check out @nutritiontrack Instagram for tips and trick on nutrition.
- Last but not least, make sure you had enough rest as we might have some trouble to get 7-8 hours sleep time during Ramadhan!
Happy #RUNMADHON !