Happy Tuesday! If you were off from work yesterday I hope that you had a great long weekend.
This week’s Tuesday Topic: How do you fuel for a run? You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post. Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida and the bottom of this post!
Fueling on the run can be very tricky. You want to make sure that you eat enough to have energy for your run, but you don’t want to overeat because that can lead to GI issues. To be completely honest, I’m a fan of fasted cardio (which means no food before a run) if the run is under 6 miles. I don’t have a super sensitive stomach, but for some reason when it comes to running, my stomach rejects a lot of foods that I usually love (like oatmeal).
So, what works for me as pre-run fuel? Dry toast or a mini bagel with a little butter. I know, not exciting but it’s what has been working for me for the last 2 years. Sometimes I can stomach toast with a little peanut butter too. I also drink about 4-6 ounces of water or if i’m doing a long run, I’ll add Tailwind to the water to give me an extra boost.
Learning how to fuel during a run is a constant work in progress for me. I still haven’t nailed it down 100%, but at least I do know what doesn’t work for me. What has worked for me during my past few half marathons is a combination of Tailwind (for hydration/electrolytes) and Honey Stinger gels and/or mini pretzels. I discovered the pretzels by accident during my last marathon. Around mile 18 a very kind spectator was handing out Sweedish fish and pretzels. I took the mini bag of pretzels and it was heavenly. I guess it was the combination of the salt and actually chewing food that made me feel so much better. Ever since then, I always carry a handful with me for races and long runs.
It’s also important to fuel properly post-run as well. Within 30-45 minutes of a run I try to take in some sort of protein. If I know I won’t be home for a while after my run, I always keep a Quest bar or convenience packs of Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance in my bag. The Quest bars have 21g of protein and the collagen endurance has 13g of protein (and can easily mixed with water). If I’m going home after a run I love to eat fruit, eggs and bacon or sausage, or I’ll do a protein pancake or waffle. It all depends on the length of the run and how hungry I am when I get home.
Tell me: How do you fuel for a run? Also, if you make your own running fuel, let me know in the comments!
Join the Link-Up!
Topic for next week – Stinky running clothes, how do you deal with it? We hope you’ll link up with us!
I’m also linking up with Lora from Crazy Running Girl, Marc from Train With Marc and Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs for Coaches’ Corner!
Kimberly Hatting says
I have used pretzels, too! Sometimes, depending on my hydration, they can bedifficult to chew (lack of saliva LOL), so I suck on the salt and spit them out. I’ve done that with peanuts, too.
Agreed! Luckily I had my water with Tailwind with me so I was able to drink that after eating the pretzels.
Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy says
I should’ve stuck to the topic, cause you know how much I love to talk about food. 🙂
I used to bring PB Pretzels with me as a end-of-the race treat, when I really didn’t want something sweet. I’m always experimenting, but I’m lucky to have a very strong stomach — so far, anyway, knock on wood.
One of my favorite fuels is a date/oatmeal/almonds bar/balls (got it from the Strength Running Nutrition guide). I also like HS Chews, for the convenience — except it’s been so cold that I haven’t been able to use them this training cycle (they get too hard).
Pre is usually overnight oats. Not a fan of fasted cardio, although I have done it in the summer when I need to get out there early — but I find I just don’t have energy when I do it.
A friend recently recommended Lorna Doones or ginger cookies . . . intrigued, I ended up with just plain shortbread. They’re high carb, but not very sugary — they do have some fat (obviously) so for some people they probably wouldn’t work but HS Waffles (which I often take with me) have the same amount of fat.
I do Nuun before & after — but plain water during.
Rachel @ Runningonhappy recommended Payday candy bars, so I’ve experimented with that on the run (towards the end, again).
And I always have a protein bar immediately after, unless I’m at home and can just have a meal or a smoothie.
Payday candy bars sound cool – I may have to try that out! I’m also intrigued by the shortbread cookies. I’ll probably experiment with some different things this summer when I’m training.
Before a race oatmeal and coffee and chocolate milk and bagel after. Gu during and plain water. One every 4 miles.
Before a run which is after work, a protein bar or a banana and dinner after.
I really wish I could eat oatmeal before a run but it gives me major GI issues for some reason 🙁
Figuring out what works best can be tricky but it sounds like you have it down! I love honey stingers, too! 🙂 My pre-run fuel is usually either a banana or Clif bar and I do love most flavors of GU for a mid-run boost.
I have been thinking of trying Clif bars for pre-run fuel too. Thanks for the recommendation!
As I just said to Zenaida, this is in perfect timing for me as I know I need to quit winging it.
I’m not sure I could chew pretzels on the go, but love the idea of salty. If you like Swedish fish, them wrapped around a sour patch kid is crack.
Yeah definitely experiment with a few things – it take a while to really figure out what will work best.
Thanks for the sweetish fish/sour patch idea – that actually sounds awesome!
It’s seriously crack. Love/hate colleague for telling me about the combo
Zenaida Arroyo says
Before a race I like to have either a Clif Bar or a bagel with peanut butter. It depends on the distance too. Once I had a Egg McMuffin for McDonalds before a 5K. 🙂
I agree on the pretzels! Those are amazing!!!
The pretzels save me during my last marathon – I was so close to hitting the wall!
Deborah @ Confessions of mother runner says
Since I run a little later in the morning, fasted runs did not work for me. Before a race or long run, I like a PB and J. On regular everyday runs, I have been into my oatmeal bakes with varying veggies. It’s working very well for me
The oatmeal bake is a good idea. I can’t stomach oatmeal before a run but maybe the oatmeal bake would be easier on my stomach. Also peanut butter and jelly sounds like a great option too!
I am glad to hear you’re also a fan of fasted running. It’s not that my stomach is super-sensitive, but I usually prefer heading out of the door in the morning (before I change my mind LOL)….
Thanks for taking over the Tuesdays on the Run link-up spot…. 🙂
LoL very true! Sometimes you just have to get dressed and get out the door before your body figures out what the hell is going on.
Michelle @ Running with Attitude says
This is a great topic for me since I feel like I’m back to starting at square one – what used to work for me doesn’t seem to anymore. I’m a fan of fasted cardio too – for anything less than 6 miles I’m good. I also really like Tailwind – it’s one of the few things that doesn’t mess with my stomach.
Isn’t it funny how something can work for a while and then suddenly your stomach hates it?!
Tailwind really works for my tummy. Sometimes I can stomach taking a quick swig of Gatorade on the race course if I’m desperate.
Thanks for these ideas! Aside from using water and rehydration salts I have never fueled during a Half Marathon. And at my last one I really regretted it – I felt so sick when I was done and as soon as I had a gel and some Coca Cola I was back to normal functioning, LOL. That was a big learning moment. And can you believe I actually carried gels and some snacks in my pouch for the run. I think I was just nervous about using them as I had never had to before.
Sometimes I have done a half marathon without fuel. Although I got through the race, I was wrecked for the rest of the day so I won’t do that again, lol.
Typically I just have some almond butter on gluten free toast with a cup of coffee. During longer runs I use Nuun and gummies to fuel!
i might try a little almond butter on a slice of toast – thanks for the idea!
Renee @runlaugheatpie says
pretzels! I hadn’t thought of that!
I can’t drink much before a long run – I already was blessed with a somewhat-weak bladder and now that I’m older, well, let’s just say it can be challenging to know how much water / liquid to have before running. Usually if before a big race then I stop drinking all together about 1.5 – 2 hours in advance (on a long run you can always stop somewhere to use the loo 🙂 )
I would like to train more as fasted cardio but I’m not quite there yet…
Why? What’s the advantage of “fasted cardio”? why is it all the rage?
If I can start my run by 7am or earlier, I can do the fasted cardio. Anything later than that can be a bit of a struggle, lol.
I am hooked on the Quaker Lightly Salted Rice Cakes with PB as a pre-workout snack. I have one almost every day. Before a race I’ll fix PB toast or a PB + honey sandwich on wheat bread. Gotta have that PB!
Ohh that’s a good idea for a snack – I never thought of trying rice cakes as a pre-workout snack.
Jenny Albertson says
For me, it depends on the run. Most practice runs I do in a fasted state if they are in the morning. For a longer race, I’ll eat a piece of bread or a honey stinger waffle with water. And that seems to work well for me.
Thanks for reminding me about the Honey Stinger waffles. I used those when I first started running.
Great topic! I usually have a banana before a run. If I’m not hungry I’ll just skip it. For longer runs I use my nuun Performance plus carry a few Gus. I have made my own fuel for the run before, using dates, fruit, a little salt. I blogged the recipe, so let me know if you’d like the link. It was actually very good and of course had no unnecessary ingredients.
I am going to check your blog for that recipe. It sounds really simple so it should be easy on my stomach.
I usually only eat “real” food, even on a long run. No gels, gu, bars, etc. I eat dried fruit, nuts, pretzels. The best is when I run a trail race. They have so much yummy food at the aid stations.
I know a few runners that only use real food as well, or they make their own fuel. I know that would be the much healthier option. Thanks for the reminder to try real foods.
My needs change pretty often. Right now, I don’t use anything up to 8 or 9 miles (depending on weather).
On race days, where I’m not rolling right out of bed and going out running immediately, I usually eat a plain bagel with some electrolytes. During the run, I do like Gu (vanilla bean, or caramel machiatto) because I hate chewing. I am a sweaty runner, so I do need to focus on replenishing my salts, and have been known to dump a teaspoon of salt into my Gatorade or Nuun in my water bottle to keep that up.
I’ve run with HS waffles, gummy bears and even frozen mini Snickers. Just depends on how my stomach feels.
That’s interesting about adding salt to your hydration drink. I’ve thought of doing that, especially for summer runs. The idea of taking a salt pill or saltstick kind of freaks me out so this would be a good alternative.
I have another friend that runs with gummy bears too. That’s something I will try during my next training cycle.