On Tuesday we talked about what to eat before a run. There was some great discussion in the comments and I updated the post with recommendations from some of you. Keep your suggestions coming – I love it!
Just a quick reminder that I am NOT a nutritionist – this is just what works for me. It may or may not work for you. This is intended as my opinion based on my experience, so you can make your own decision.
Today, let’s focus on what to eat while you’re running. The first question is when should you eat and/or drink during a run? For me, I get thirsty early and typically bring water with me on any run over 3 miles. For many people, water isn’t needed until over 5 or 6 miles. Experiment here and find out what works for you.
For shorter runs, I’ve started carrying a hand bottle. I also use this in long distance races where I don’t mind refilling the bottle along the way. For longer runs, and races where I don’t want to slow down for refills, I use a FuelBelt with 4 bottles. I typically just fill these with water, but have also used a sports drink in both styles.
For runs more than 90 minutes, I add calories to the plan. Adding calories is when things get a little tricky for me. I mentioned I have a sensitive stomach – it’s the worst while I’m running. Right now, I’m using Vega Sport Gels for my longer runs. They are made from whole foods, all natural, and feel the best in my stomach. They have more of a texture than most other gels I’ve tried – which I love (but Kirk doesn’t like). After drinking the pre-workout energizer 20 minutes before my run, I eat 1 Vega Gel every 4.5 miles throughout the run.
Other gels I have tried with mixed results are Powerbar Gels (not quite as natural) and Clif Shots. If you can handle a little more solid food while you run, check out the chews on the market, like the Clif Blocks. There are so many flavors and types of sports nutrition to choose from, there’s bound to be something you will like!
I have tried many different things throughout the years and I’m still figuring out what my body can handle. I know that the closer to liquid, the better; the closer to solid, the more discomfort! I love running with all liquids, but it gets more difficult to carry enough calories in liquid form to fuel a long distance run.
Most people don’t have as many issues with tolerating nutrition as I do, but do test your nutrition strategy during your training and see what works for you. I would also suggest trying out your nutrition as higher speeds, to be sure you can still “stomach it” when your heart rate is elevated. If you remember my last half marathon, what worked well during training DID NOT work well during the race. Learn from my mistakes. =)
Now it’s your turn! What are your tips for nutrition while you’re running? Any favorites or ones you abhor? Any questions I didn’t address?