Fueling on the Run

Figuring out the right way to fuel along the way during your races can be tough. For my first few marathons, I honestly had no clue and no plan. I just drank the water and Gatorade along the course, and well, there was that Kit Kat Bar I basically stole from some guy at mile 18 of my first marathon!

Eventually, I smartened up and got a better understanding of how important it was to give yourself some fuel along the way. What a difference! My stomach is usually pretty strong, but I still had a tough time figuring out what to eat since I can be a bit picky. I remember just taste testing a Gu once that came in a bag of post-race goodies and thinking it was the grossest thing ever. That was probably in 2003, but I wasn’t about to give it a second chance so I started looking elsewhere.

I tried breaking a peanut butter Powerbar into pieces, but it could be really dry and tough to get down, especially later in the race. When various gummy type energy bites started to come out I got very excited. I used the Gu Chomps at first, but they could also be tough to chew through. PowerBar blasts were my savior. They were a lot easier to take since they are juicy in the center.

In my last two marathons though I haven’t taken my last set of planned bites around mile 21. The first time I felt sick to my stomach and the second time I just couldn’t stomach the idea of eating more of them. My plan this time is to have some variety so I’m not eating the same thing. That means trying something new though.

I’ve been practicing with things during my long runs and I noticed Gu has flavors like chocolate and peanut butter, so I thought it might be time to drop my decade long grudge against them. I’ve tested out the chocolate Gu twice now, and not only does it taste alright, but my stomach handles it well and it’s actually easier to down the Gu then fumble with 5 or so PowerBar blasts. I have some Honey Stinger gummies to try out soon too, and I’m going to keep experimenting till I’ve found just the right combinations.

How do you fuel your long runs and races?

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Just be sure to take your Gu with water, not Gatorade!

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