One of the key parts of marathon training is figuring out what works for you during runs and what doesn’t. This goes for everything from shoes, to gear, to hydration and finally, to fueling. I’m still trying to figure out the best fueling strategy for me, and while every runner is different, I decided to seek some advice from my followers on Twitter. Here’s what they had to say! – H.M.
I have had great success with Power Bar gels! I sometimes have GI issues but find that these are easy on my stomach and the best thing is they are more liquid than gel like the Gu is. I hope you find what works well for you!
One of my co-workers really likes the Power Bar gels too. I haven’t tried them yet but really need to test them out!
Oh god please do not try to put fat into your stomach on a long run!!!! DON’T DO IT! Long distance burns STORED fat, not fat coming in. It will take a long time to digest, sit in your stomach, and probably make you feel like crap. Literal crap. If you are tempted to experiment, however, let me know how it goes.
I’m not really all that picky, but i do love shot bloks and all sorts of gu have worked in the past. One run when I was home for a quick stay and forgot to bring anything, i found some stale gummi bears in the junk drawer that had to suffice, but I definitely prefer something intended for the purpose. In my cheapness, I have seriously considered taking handfuls of honey packets from Cumby’s but unfortunately we don’t have Cumberland Farms in Louisiana. Bummer.
Yeah I usually prefer Gu over anything because I like the added caffeine. I’ve never had anything with any significant fat content while on the run mostly because I always thought it would make me feel too full. The honey packets are a good idea too though!
There are shot bloks with caffeine too! Check em out!
I love Picky Bars as pre and post-run fuel. As for on the run, I really like the vanilla flavored Clif shots!
Yummm! Picky Bars are SO good!
@Lauren – really? Fat has a greater calorie content that carbs (4kcal per gram as appose to 3kcal). So in practice it is a better source of fuel than carbs. The downside, as your rightly allude to is that it isnt as easily digested as carbs. The thing about the long run is (assuming you pace it right, natch) that you are operating at a fat burning pace and an intensity that allows one’s body to digest fat and carbs. I’d ask the question whether you even need those carbs…we all have plenty of fat stores (even elite athletes)
My experience as a coach and ultra runner is that too often athletes pace poorly (they run too fast), rely on carbs (in excess of what can be handled by the gut) and then end up with GI distress. Learn to pace properly, use one’s fat stores and you need very little carb intake. Don’t be suckered into the marketing hype.
Check out an ultra marathon feed station sometime. I bet you there is a whole load of fatty stuff on that table alongside the gels and energy drink. If you train your body right its amazing what it can use as fuel and I can tell you it isnt a whole load of processed sugary junk that is sold to you by sports nutrition companies.
James, thanks so much for your comments! I totally hear you about ultra feed stations, those guys know how to fuel! While I do agree people tend to over-fuel and the body is pretty self-sustaining, I sometimes have the problem of under-fueling, which can lead to tons of other issues. I like my fuel to be as clean as possible and would rather have real food than processed gels but for me at least, I’ve found gels are really helpful during long runs. I usually only have one, maybe two if it’s 18+ miles but I find that I definitely need some sort of fuel on long runs.
I have pretty rough GI issues on a normal day, so race day is incredibly crucial to make sure i get the right stuff in my belly. I found out (the hard way, during my first 1/2 marathon) what makes me REALLY sick, so the only things I stick to now are Nuun hydration tabs for pre-, during and post-race/run, and Honey Stinger gels for fuel during a long race. Afterwards, I like bananas, pb&j’s and pretzels.
Uf, so sorry to hear about your GI issues, that’s definitely not fun. I LOVE Nuun hydration too! I actually prefer it to Gatorade because it’s not as syrupy. Pretzels are also one of my post-race favorites! :)
That’s exactly why I love Nuun! Gatorade is so syrupy thick and so mug sugar that is absolutely wrecks my stomach. Nuun has been fabulous to me!
I’ll have to remember to take gummy bears on my next run!! BEST IDEA EVER!
I’ve tried it and they are definitely yummy! They can be hard to eat though if it’s very cold outside because they get kind of hard.
Lol:) I will remember that.
GU is my preferred fuel. For my last race a took along a bagel and took bites every now and then. I still had my GUs but I think the bagel helped.
For one marathon I took 2 large Snickers bars. Tons of sugar but probably not the best thing to eat. My stomach felt fine and I ran the race I planned to run that day.
I think the real test of any running food is, are you able to run the race you planned on. If you run out of energy or if the food makes you sick it’s not right for you. But if you can keep your energy level up, not get sick and finish the race near your goal time then what ever food you tried is something you can stick with.
A lot of this is trial and error whether it is food or running shoes.
Reblogged this on Meghan's Blog and commented:
I found this great article about fueling up for long runs and thought it was a cool article for those of you who like me are training for half marathons or doing long distance running. Various runners providing their input on their favorite ways to get fuel. It’s neat to see how many different options there are and how everyone is different. Check out some suggested fuels and try them out. There is something right for everyone. Let me know what you find works for you!