Fueling for runs

Fueling for runs

Fuel History

My running background is all shorter distances — 1 or 2 miles, 5K’s, and 10K’s — so during training and races I feel fine running on an empty stomach.  I’ve never had to give a thought to fueling for runs until now.

In the process of training for my first half-marathon, — in JULY in the SOUTH — I’m faced with the reality that I’ll need to hydrate and fuel before, during, and after runs.  On the few training runs where I haven’t hydrated, I feel super sluggish and my pace suffers.  Since I don’t make a habit of eating before training runs, I often run out of steam on the long walk/run/walk interval that are 5+ miles.

All this led me to research running fuel.

Running Fuel Options

Goops, Globs, Bloks, and Chews *OH MY!*

In my research, I stumbled across a wide range of fuel options.  This article had the following picture that showcased a few of the fueling products on the market.

break down

As someone that doesn’t like the idea of spending a fortune on fueling gunk that may or may not sit well in my stomach, I continued my search for more fueling options.  I accumulated a short list of normal food products that can be used for running fuel.

  • Pretzels
  • Honey
  • Jelly Beans
  • Swedish fish
  • Gummy bears
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Starbursts
  • Sports Drinks
  • Homemade fruit gels

All you have to do is portion out your fuel choice based on your carb needs.  A little baggie or plastic wrap to hold your pre-portioned doses and you’re off!   Bonus:  You get to eat candy!!!  While running!!!

I plan to test a few of these options out on my next run that’s 5+ miles long.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Fuel Plan

This article, from Runner’s World, talks about how to fuel for morning runs.  Since it’s as hot as a demon’s butt-hole here in the south, most of my runs are early morning runs — so I read this article and found some MATH!!!

Here’s an excerpt regarding fueling before runs:

When trying to determine how much fuel to take in before a long run (longer than 75 minutes) begins, the general rule is to consume approximately 0.5 grams of carbohydrate for every pound of body weight and then multiply that number by the number of hours you have before you will begin your run.

Let’s say you weigh 180 pounds, and you have one hour before the run will begin.
180lbs x 0.5 = 90
90 x 1 hour = you need to eat 90 grams of carb to fuel your run.

In your case, you have only half an hour. So your equation will look like this:
180lbs x 0.5 = 90
90 x ½ an hour = you need to eat 45 grams of carb to fuel your run.

So what does 45 or even 90 grams of easy-to-digest carbohydrate look like? It might be a ½ a bakery bagel (~30 grams) and eight ounces sports drink (~15 grams). It might be an English muffin (~25 grams) topped with two tablespoons jam (~30 grams). If you want to eat a gel chased with water instead, that will give you about 25 grams of carbohydrate. For some additional easy-to-digest carbs, you could add in four ounces of fruit juice or half a large banana; either will supply you with approximately 15 more grams of easy-to-digest carbs.”

What about fueling during runs?

Again, Runner’s World has our backs!

“In general, runners need to add in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate each hour that they are running longer than 75 minutes. But you’ll need to start fueling earlier than 75 minutes into a run; by that time, your tank will be empty, and once you hit empty it is very hard to recover. Start taking in fuel within 30 minutes of hitting the pavement.”

My plan is to start at the low end of the carbohydrate spectrum and build up from there.  My stomach is pretty sensitive and I don’t want to puke everywhere!!

My plan for my next 2+ hour run.

I’m going to try these Fruit Snacks!  Each pouch has 19 grams of carbohydrates, so for a 2+ hour run, I’d need approximately 1.5 pouches.  Each pouch contains roughly a dozen snacks so I’ll try to evenly space the bites starting at the 30 minute mark.

I’ll write another post about how it goes!  Especially if I PUKE it all up!

How do you fuel for runs?

Do you have a favorite type of fuel?  

Have you ever had a bad experience with fueling?

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