What to eat on the run
Updated: Nov 7, 2018
It's a useful reminder that you don’t need to take on board any nutrition if exercising for under an hour to 90 minutes, depending on your fitness. However for exercise over 90 minutes at moderate intensity your bodies existing energy stores may not be enough.
Consuming carbs during exercise will keep you going mentally and physically. They sustain blood glucose levels and provides fuel for muscles cells and conserving glycogen stores for later. Consuming an effective source of carbohydrates can delay fatigue.
Timing is important as it can take 30 minutes for some carbs to make it to the blood stream, so don’t wait until you feel tired or low on energy before taking on food. Aim for a little and often approach and start 45 - 60 minutes into your run or race.
Eating 70g of carbs per hour is recommended for best glucose utilisation. Eating more than this has no effect as your body can't absorb it, and can cause discomfort in the stomach and bowels.
70g of carbs is quite a lot! It's also the maximum your body can absorb, and it varies person to person. So I usually advise people to aim for between 30-60g of carbs per hour. Take a look at the labels on your food to get an idea of what 30/60/70g of carbohydrates looks like.
Carbohydrates eaten during exercise need to get to muscles quickly; so eating high GI (Glycemic Index) foods containing glucose and sucrose can help. What you choose to eat is much down to preference for texture, volume and taste - so it’s recommended you experiment with lots of different options in training!
One way to find out what you might be able to stomach on a long run is to run past a corner shop or garage whilst running and, as you go past, have a think about what you'd want to buy if you went in. It's a great gauge of "gut reaction". if you are feeling hungry and have money with you go inside, buy and try something you fancy eating!
Here are some examples;
- Sports drinks
- Energy bars
- Jelly beans/sweets
- Dried fruit
- White bread
- Rice crackers
- and my favourites - mini cheddars or small snack pretzels!