For shorter runs (around an hour or less), I eat a banana before starting. Afterwards, I try to have something within an hour ~ usually a protein shake.
For longer runs (anything over an hour), fueling is a bit more tricky and it takes some trial and error to figure out what works. I’ll share what I’ve done, but our bodies are just as unique as our personalities, so you’ll need to play around, test different things and find what works best for your body.
My husband is going to try out Hammer Endurolytes. They are an electrolyte replacement, just like Salt Sticks, but have less sodium.
In the past, I’ve used Nuun tablets in my water, which worked great. I just really missed the taste of water without flavoring. If you would prefer not taking a pill, then you might want to give Nuun tablets a try.
Every 45 minutes, I take another Salt Stick and a GU flavored gel.
Almost everything I’ve read says to replace about 1/3 of the calories you burn per hour. That’s somewhere between 100 – 200 calories you should be replacing. This will be different for each of us.
My daughter tried out some Clif Shot Bloks, instead of GU, on one of our recent training runs and she really enjoyed them.
Right after a long run, I eat a Clif Builder Protein Bar. I eat this in the car on the way home. As soon as I get home, I make myself a protein shake.
The Day Before a Long Run
You want to be extra aware of what you’re putting into your body the day before a long run. I try to limit anything that might upset my stomach or cause me to dehydrate. The day before a long run is not the day to indulge in a bacon cheeseburger with fries and a few beers. Especially if that’s not how you normally eat.
You don’t want to be in the middle of your run the next day and have that bacon cheeseburger and those fries come back to mock you.
Stomach issues are not something we want to have while out on a run, right? Just be wise.
Also, and I’ve learned this the hard way, hydrating the day before a long run is important. Make sure you are getting in enough water.
What Works Today May Not Work Tomorrow
I think how you fuel will change. During my first half-marathon training, I exclusively used the Espresso Love flavored GU. I loved them and they worked great! Training for my second half, my stomach couldn’t handle them.
Also, before heading out on my long training runs for my first half, I would eat toast with peanut butter and a banana. My second time around training I only ate a banana.
Links to Articles
Now, if you want to do some more in-depth reading, here are some great articles: