When You Start Needing Fuel on a Long Run?
I tend to start taking in nutrition when I run 10 miles or more. Some resources will tell you to start fueling after 75 minutes, and in 45 minute increments until the end of your run, others suggest fueling more often, while others don’t fuel at all. I think the answer lies in what works best for you as an individual runner.
Some people have sensitive stomachs and can’t handle much fuel, and they feel fine. Others might feel lightheaded or weak if they don’t take in fuel at regular intervals. I HIGHLY recommend experimenting on your long runs (well in advance of your race) to find out the best formula– it will likely take some trial and error. Don’t forget to hydrate either!
What Are the Different Options for Fueling on a Long Run?
The following are some of the most popular nutrition choices for fueling your long run (in no particular order):
- GU Energy Gel (pronounced like goo—and that’s what it looks like!)—you have undoubtedly seen those little foil packets with GU on them at races. GU Energy Gel comes in a myriad of flavors from mint chocolate to vanilla bean. There is even an espresso flavor that contains caffeine! Although it took me quite a while to try my first GU, I actually like it and find it easy to eat on the run. The only trick is not getting your fingers sticky or accidentally squirting GU on your iPhone speaker (yes, I did that!).
- Sport Beans– These are jelly beans that have electrolytes added into them. They are made by Jelly Belly and are super yummy! I have used them with much success. The only issue I have with Sport Beans is that sometimes it’s a little hard to chew them when you are running. I do love how they taste just like a regular jelly beans.
- Clif Shot Bloks—Clif makes Shot Bloks which are a kind of gummy block of nutrition. I have yet to try them, but I know many people that swear by them. They seem to be easy to pop in your mouth and soft enough to chew and easily swallow.
- Gummy bears, pretzels, and other snack foods—You don’t need to purchase specific “running” or “sport” snacks. In fact, you can probably raid your cabinets for something that will work just as well (gummies, raisins, bananas).
- Honey Stingers—Honey stingers are made with real honey and come in waffles, gels, protein bars, energy bars, and chews. I have tried the waffles before, and I think they taste great! If you love honey, definitely give them a try!