Friday, October 14, 2011

Long Run Fueling Advice Needed

On Sunday I'll be completing my first eight mile run. I've done a seven-miler twice. Next week, I've two nine mile runs and a ten-miler the week after. Starting in December I'll be starting the RLRF half marathon training program. Since all of my runs thus far have been less than an hour minus one, I haven't had the need to refuel on the go. I don't even bring water to drink.

It's now time to start experimenting with fueling during my runs, but I honestly don't know where to start!

How long do you run before refueling?

What have you tried? 

What products work the best for you? 

What are the easiest to carry and eat while you are huffing and puffing down the road?

Do you carry a beverage and how?

I really appreciate any suggestions you have. This long run newbie needs your expertise!


  1. Okay - this is what works for me...of course, it doesn't work for everyone!

    - runs of 10+ miles
    - tried gu - hated it, love shot bloks, love sport beans, love sharkies (
    - safety pins work well, but I have a belt that I use sometimes, or put into camelbak
    - yes - 10+ w/ camelbak ... days before camelbak, we'd stash water somewhere along the rail trail OR bring cash/debit card with us and stop at a store in Hallowell

    (but that $ thing doesn't always work when said market is closed on Sundays and your long run is on a Sunday! we actually went into a bar and groveled for water and the bar tender felt bad for us and gave us some!)

  2. Here is what works best for me ...

    I refuel anytime I'm going to be running for more than 1 hour but usually I start to refuel between the 30 and 45 minute time frame because I've found that fueling early and often works better for me otherwise I crash and burn.

    I have tried Gu {don't like it}, Gu Chomps {love them}, Powerbar Gel {love it} and Shot Bloks {also like them}. The Powerbar Gels are easier for me to digest than the Gu gels and I like to use chews sometimes to mix it up so I don't get sick of one type of fuel. I also sometimes use Welch's Fruit Snacks :)

    I think the Powerbar Gels and the Gu Chomps work best for me and the Welch's Fruit Snacks.

    I have a Spibelt that I use to carry my fuel and/or in my Camelbak. Stashing gels in the sports bra works well but beware of chaffing. I haven't tried safety pins like Jen {above} mentioned so I might need to look into that since sometimes I just don't want to carry my belt or Camelbak.

    In the summer months / hotter days I carry my Camelbak anytime I'm going to be out for more than 1 hour. I just can't go that long without water, especially if I need to take in fuel. And for long runs I add 1 Nuun tablet to the water because I feel like I need the electrolytes to help me from bonking. I also have a couple of hand held water bottles that I use occasionally, like for shorter runs on hot days.

    My best advice: use this time {long run / training} to figure out what works best FOR YOU. Everyone is different. I know what works best for me due to trial and error and crashing and bonking too many times to count :)

    Good Luck! You'll figure it out and when you do, it will all come together!

  3. I fuel on anything longer than an hour and eat something (right now I use Gu gels but I also like Gu chomps) every 40 minutes. I use an iFitness has special loops for carrying gels or you can put something in the pouch. As far as water, I ALWAYS have my Nathan handheld bottle, no matter how far I am going! It is usually filled with water or nuun. For super long runs I will stop back by my car and replenish everything. Like everyone has said, everyone prefers something different so try different things and have patience while figuring out what is best for you!

  4. I eat about 2 hours before a long run...usually a bread/peanut butter combo, small cup of coffee, and water. I have run 10-13 miles using just plain ol'gatorade (I carry a 10 oz bottle on my belt) and 20 oz of water. I start drinking gatorade about 45 minutes in and alternate between water and gatorade. One time I drank too much and had a lot of swelling in my hands. It is possible to "over-do" hydration.

    I have tried Gu in several different ways, but my stomach always hurts. I feel fine on gatorade only. I have also read up on the subject quite a bit and from what I have read just using an electrolyte is fine for most people for races under about 15 miles. Glucose depletion usually happens around mile 20...thus the reason to start with something sooner when completing a full marathon.

    One other thing...good thing you are starting with this now...I think everyone is different and you could get 300 different pieces of advice. The only way to know what works for you is to try it!


Thanks for your comments!