What to Eat During Long Runs

Health and Nutrition

No matter if they are starting out or are veterans, almost every runner knows that hydration is very important during your run, and an overall balanced diet also has many benefits.

However, there are many runners who tend to neglect the importance of nutrition and eating while on the run as well. Negligence can lead to several health problems as well. Therefore, to prevent health hazards, you need to think about your diet plans beforehand.

When considering nutrition during your run, there are many things that you must take into consideration. You’ll want to get the most out of your nutritional snacks while you are running.

When determining what kind of snacks to consume while on the run, it is important to consider factors such as portability. The item that you will be consuming on your run must be easy to carry so that you can multi-task comfortably and eat while maintaining your current pace as well.

Let us discuss this in a bit more detail, further exploring the what, why, and how much eating you should do during a run.

Why You Should Eat During a Run

Many people think that eating during a run makes you sluggish and proves to be detrimental to your run. However, that is far from true.

On the contrary, depending on the food item you consume, such as energy gels, nutrition can benefit your run, making it more productive.

When determining whether to eat during a run, you should consider the duration at which you run. Not necessarily the distance that you cover during your session.

This is because if the duration at which you run is around 60 minutes or less, then the majority of your energy utilized during that session will consist of what is stored in the muscle glycogen.

However, when your run exceeds that duration and is more than an hour, then the energy which is stored in the muscle glycogen will eventually become depleted. When this happens, the operation of your sugar levels and glycogen comprised within your liver will become essential.

When this happens, you should start consuming food items and beverages that are rich in carbohydrates. This will help prevent you from emptying your energy reserves. It will also help you sustain your pace during long runs.

Furthermore, not only will these foods help you sustain yourself during the long run, but they will further improve your overall performance. This allowis you to cover more distance and run for a longer duration than normal.

How Much Should You Consume

We have discussed the importance of consuming carbohydrate-rich foods to build up your energy pool. Another factor that is important to consider is the amount that you should consume to ensure peak efficiency and productivity.

When determining the amount of food you can consume during your run, many factors come into play and will be influencing your decision. This includes your body type, how intense your route and run are, and the overall duration your run.

Due to the many variables involved, figuring out how much you can eat can become difficult. However, a great tip to properly ascertain how much you should consume during your run is to properly time your run using a smartwatch. You should also monitor the caloric intake of the food that you consume on an hourly basis.

You need to make sure that the amount of food that you consume every hour does not exceed a hundred calories. Although this tip is helpful in most cases, the number of calories you consume can also change depending on your body type and the speed at which you run.

Due to this, it is important to keep an additional gel or two on hand as a precautionary measure. This way you can consume them if your energy depletes before an hour.

What To Consume During a Long Run

In addition to why and how much you should consume in the long run, it is also important to consider what type of food you should consume as well.

There is a vast variety of different protein snacks and gels catering to runners and athletes that have now flooded the market. It is advisable to experiment with the different types to determine what is best suited for your run.

Sports Drinks

These are not your average run-of-the-mill drinks. They are made with the purpose of providing the carbohydrates and electrolytes necessary to prevent energy depletion during vigorous physical activity.

Sports drinks are greatly beneficial to top up your energy pool. They provide you with hydration along with the energy necessary as well.

Gel Packets

Designed specifically for runners, the main selling point of energy gels is that they are highly portable and incredibly compact in size. This allows you to easily store them and consume them on the go.

In addition to the portability and ease of carrying factor, the other major selling point of energy gels is that it does not require any sort of chewing to be done.

Solid Energy Foods

A woman is holding a banana in her stomach.Although it is recommended to consume sources of nutrition and energy that do not require any biting or chewing, it is not necessary.

This is because there are many chewable foods in the market as well. There are sports gummies and energy bars, which offer just as much energy and carbohydrates to the user and are designed to be consumed while on the run.

Real Food

Furthermore, there are many instances where athletes and professional marathon runners prefer to consume average sugary foods such as pretzels or bananas.

They are much more economical than getting sports foods or energy gel and are just as productive in getting the job done.

Wrap up

Many products have been designed to be consumed while on the run; due to this, it is always a good thing to experiment to find what works best for you.

This may be due to a food item’s portability or the type of food, but the importance of consuming food while on the run can never be understated.


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