Fueling the Long Run

Jun 28, 2023


Fueling properly for a long run is essential to maintain your energy levels and optimize your performance. Here are some tips to help you fuel effectively:

  1. Carbohydrate Loading: In the days leading up to your long run, increase your carbohydrate intake to maximize glycogen stores in your muscles. Include foods like whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, and legumes in your meals.

  2. Pre-Run Meal: Consume a balanced meal rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat about 2-3 hours before your run. This allows time for digestion and reduces the risk of stomach discomfort. Examples include oatmeal with berries and a small amount of nut butter, a bagel egg sandwich or a fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt.

  3. Hydration: Stay properly hydrated before, during, and after your run. Aim to drink water regularly throughout the day leading up to your run. In the hour before your run, drink 16-32 ounces of water. If your run is longer than an hour, consider a sports drink or electrolyte replacement to replenish sodium and other electrolytes lost through sweat.

  4. During-Run Fueling: For runs lasting longer than 60-90 minutes, it's important to consume additional fuel during your run. Aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour, which can come from sports drinks, gels, energy chews, or easily digestible snacks like bananas or dates. Experiment with different options during your training runs to find what works best for you.

  5. Recovery Fuel: After your long run, replenish your glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery by consuming a snack or meal within 30-60 minutes. Include a combination of carbohydrates and protein to optimize recovery. Examples include a protein shake with a banana, a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread, or a bowl of yogurt with granola and fruit.

Remember, it's important to listen to your body and adjust your fueling strategy based on your individual needs and preferences. Experiment during your training runs to find the foods and timing that work best for you, and consult with a registered dietitian if you have specific dietary concerns or goals.

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