You’ve finally reached a point in training where you runs become longer. You’ve also realized that you can’t last as long because you become tired! This is because you need to learn how to fuel during long runs. Although, eating the appropriate amount of foods the night before a run is a great way to get yourself fully energized for that run, you will reach a point during your run where you become tired and needing of some energy! This is why they create easy and simple ways to help you get re-energized during your longer than normal runs!
Although mid-run snacks isn’t necessary unless you’re exercising for more than hour, it’s good to start eating between 30 to 60 minutes in, at the rate of about 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. The challenge of teaching yourself to fuel during long runs, is that it needs to be full of energy and easy to digest. During the middle of a long run, many conventional dietary rules go out the window. Rather than protein and healthy fats, the body needs fast-absorbing carbohydrates. This food will spike insulin and send sugars rushing through the bloodstream to fuel the muscles needed.
How To Fuel During Long Runs?
Below is a list of great ways to fuel during long runs to keep you energized and have you lasting longer during these longer runs. This is a combination of drinks and foods that you can bring along with your on your runs.
- Coconut Water – This provides a great source of calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. It’s also more easily digested than most sports drinks, so gulping coconut water is less likely to exacerbate the nausea brought from a run.
- Water and Salt – Simply add a teaspoon of salt to your water bottle, this is an easy way to replenish the liquids and salts that are being excreted when they’re needed most.
- Flavored Water – Take a water bottle and cram in fruit slices, berries, and herbs. Avoid drinking straight juice because of its high content of fructose.
- Sports Drinks – A 20 oz bottle of Gatorade or Powerade contains about 35 grams of carbohydrates, and there’s evidence that they help to prevent fatigue during exercise.
- Iced Green Tea with Honey – Honey contains antioxidants than regular sugar and is a good source of potassium, which helps improve muscle function and reduce soreness.
- Sports Gels – These are high in carbohydrates and electrolytes, fast digesting, and just the right ratio of fructose and maltodextrin, two sugars that when working together, can enhance athletic performance.
- Bananas – One medium sized banana contains nearly 30 grams of fast digesting carbohydrates that can be just as effective as a carbohydrate drink in terms of performance, blood sugar, and oxidative stress.
- Baby Food – This is a good way to quickly take in the sugars from fruit without losing as many nutrients as the juicing process.
- Raisins – They are high in calories and barely feel like you’re eating anything. Recent studies have shown that raisins can be more effective than sports gels.
- Dates – These are easy to chew and high in simple sugars and carbohydrates than other dried fruit, dates area also a good source of potassium.
- Dried Cherries – With more carbohydrates than any other fruit. They help to reduce muscle soreness caused by exercise.
- Gummi Bears – Contains lots of sugar and virtually no fat or fiber to slow their absorption.
- Marshmellows – Same if not better than gummi bears, this food carries the same properties as gummi bears.
- Homemade Energy Bars – A great way to combine several foods on the list. The servings are typically small enough that it’s not much of an issue. Play around with different combinations.
- Jam/Honey Sandwich – If the bread is white and there’s no fatty peanut butter slowing digestion, this is a delicious way to shuttle a lot of simple sugars into those aching calves.
- Pretzels – High in refined carbs and packing plenty of sodium, pretzels aren’t a bad choice for replenishing your energy and salt stores, particularly since they’re low in fiber and won’t take long to hit the bloodstream.
- Frozen Grapes – High in sugar, relatively low in fiber and refreshing. These are great source of vitamin C, which may increase the amount of fat burned and reduce exercise-related damage to the body’s cells.