Running Essentials: Fuel

I see and hear a lot of questions about fueling for runners. I can’t really tell you what the best strategy for you will be, but I can tell you about my own experience. This fuel strategy has come from a lot of trial and error, and I really do believe that is what it takes to find it.

About 20 minutes before I run, I will have a carbohydrate snack. For me, it needs to be something very mild and easy to digest. If I have a race, which requires me to get up very early in the morning, I’ll start with toast or half of a bagel and peanut butter. I will then eat a pack of belVita Breakfast Biscuits spread out over the time before the race. If it’s just a training run, I will eat a banana or just two of the belVitas. This seems to work for me for any kind of workout, not just running.

If I am running for more than an hour, I need a steady source of carbohydrates to keep my energy up. I have tried a lot of things and have not had a bad experience with any of them. Through my trial and error, I have determined what works best for me, and is the easiest for me to carry and eat. Honey Stingers makes a lot of good products, which are easy on my sensitive stomach. My favorites are the chews and the waffles. They work really well, but are harder to carry in my belt. The chews are sticky and take up a lot of space, and the waffles crumble easily. I just continued trying things until I found something that worked for me on all fronts.

My current fuel of choice is Jelly Belly Sport Beans. According to their website (www.sportbeans.com), “Sport Beans jelly beans are a first-of-its-kind carbohydrate replenishment for sports performance from the makers of Jelly Belly®. They have been specially formulated to fuel and replenish the body during exercise. As glycogen stores in the muscles become depleted during prolonged exercise, a carbohydrate source helps maintain blood sugar levels to keep you going.” They come in Lemon Lime, Orange, Berry and Fruit Punch. There are also “Extreme Sport Beans” that have caffeine, but I have never used those. Sport Beans are easy to eat, and carry, and they are basically candy. Who doesn’t want to eat candy?

I know there are some who can run on an empty stomach, but I am not one of those people! As I said, the right fuel is different for everyone, and takes a lot of experimentation. I hope this has given you some ideas for different things you can try. For those of you who are runners, what do you use to fuel? Feel free to reach out to me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and let me know if there are any other running or fitness questions you would like to see me cover. I am by no means an expert, but I would be happy to share my experience!

Note: All products mentioned here were purchased by me and all opinions are my own, and just that…opinions!

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