Fueling Strategies for Long Runs

After my long run yesterday I bought some running supplies.

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I actually already had the Cherry Frost G2; I just wanted to include it in this photo because it’s delicious. Plus, it doesn’t make me look like I have clown lips like regular cherry does.

A lot of runners have certain foods they have to avoid or else they’ll be running for the port-a-potties. I’m fortunate that my stomach doesn’t seem to care what I eat when I’m on a long run. (Hope I didn’t jinx myself.) So for me it comes down to what’s easiest to carry/consume while moving. I find Gu a little messy; I feel like a bear eating a pot of honey. So I decided to buy a variety of non-Gu options.

The Nuun is an alternative to Gatorade. Each pack has a bunch of tablets and you dissolve one into water, like Alka-Seltzer. The ones I got contain caffiene; not sure if all flavors do. I tried the Cherry Limeade this afternoon and liked it a lot. I’m not sure if Nuun fans use it because they don’t like Gatorade or if there are other reasons but since I like both I’ll probably continue to consume both.

The Honey Stinger is something else I’ve heard of but never tried until today. I ate a chocolate waffle (not pictured because I ate it) before my run today and it tasted ok but I don’t understand how someone could eat one of those while on the move. It was too crumbly for me and I prefer fuel you can eat the entire portion of rather than something like this where you’ve got to take bites.

I used the Shot Bloks for the first time on Sunday (hence the partially eaten package). The packaging they come in made holding the pack and squeezing them out one at a time very easy. The consistency was a little gummy. I felt like parts stuck in my teeth but I suppose dealing with that was a nice distraction from how many miles I had to go. They tasted pretty good (strawberry). I can’t remember how many come in a pack but I didn’t need the whole pack on my 12 mile run; I took one around mile 5 and then 1 more every couple miles. That fueling strategy seems to be most effective for me–it keeps me mentally engaged and I’m getting a steady stream of fuel before my tank is ever totally empty.

So I’m thinking my race day fueling strategy will go something like this:

  1. Drink one Gatorade/Nuun immediately when I wake up.
  2. Eat a banana and either half or a whole Clif bar depending on how hungry I am.
  3. Carry one pack of Shot Bloks and take them at regular intervals after about 45 minutes. I’ll try to time consumption with when I’m approaching water stations.
  4. If I eat them all and feel like I need more fuel I’ll get one of the free Gus on the course.

I always do the first two things for long runs/races but previously used Gu during the run. I like the Shot Blok strategy better.

I also got fancy socks! I never thought I’d spend $15 on a pair of socks but here we are. I was drawn to these socks because they have extra cushioning on the heel and front and sides of the foot. I think this will help with the blisters I get sporadically.

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I got two pairs, both in neon colors, because neon clothing reminds me of stuff I’d wear as a kid in the 80s and that makes me happy.

I wore these on my run today and they were very comfortable so I’ll probably start phasing out my cheap socks and buying more like this. I’ll do this over a series of years because $15 for socks? Yikes! I’m slowly accumulating nicer running stuff and most of it needs to be hand washed. I normally don’t have the patience for that but given the financial investment, I’ve adapted. 🙂

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9 responses to “Fueling Strategies for Long Runs

  1. The experia socks are awesome! I, like you, never thought I’d spend that much on socks but glad i did. They work wonders over long miles. I also use shot bloks during my long runs. They taste good and the texture is way better than the gels. The only thing i don’t like is how long it takes to chew one and i have to watch my breathing. Keep up the great training!

    • Thanks! I agree on the breathing issues, that’s a detail I forgot to add. I was chewing so long I realized after I was done I was breathing much harder. So with the ones I ate after the first I tried to hold part of the chew in my cheek (like a squirrel, ha) so I could breathe more naturally while chewing a smaller portion.

  2. I just found Nuun and I swear it changed my life!

  3. You know I saw Experia socks on sale at Marshalls the other day 🙂 I can’t imagine not using running socks anymore. Anytime I’ve run out because I need to do laundry, I’ve ended up with blisters using normal socks.

  4. OK. I just ordered theses socks based on your recommendation. How do they compare to your compression socks?

    • The compression socks are thin and tight and I haven’t used them in runs–just to recover after runs. The experia socks are wicking material but are soft and remind me of cotton. The extra padding in areas I get blisters is great for me. (Which is another reason I hesitate to wear the compression socks on runs.) For now I’m saving my experia socks for long runs only since they have to be hand washed. Let me know what you think!

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