Happy Friday Five ya’ll! It’s that time of the year again. Runners of all experience levels hit the pavement with joy now that the winter has passed and the temperatures are warming up. Some of us train year round, but a lot of us look at the winter months as a way to dial back and rest up for spring and fall marathon training.
Whether you are new to endurance running or are a pro you probably use some sort of running fuel or have heard others talk about what fuel they use. Today I thought I would share some of my favorites. I love reading what others are fueling with so I thought you might enjoy what I currently love.
Oatmeal. An oatmeal cup with almond butter is always my go to pre race or long training run breakfast. Right now I love the flavors from Think Thin. I use packets most of the time for the convenience and also because they pack really easily for racecations and trips.
Honey Stinger Waffle. These are my go to when it comes to eating something while waiting in the corral at the race start. They are just enough when I ate breakfast hours earlier and need a little boost which is typical for runDisney events are large marathons. I also love that the Honey Stinger Waffle isn’t so sweet that it might hurt my stomach if I take a gel later or am nervous before the race. Honey also provides a more consistent energy source so you don’t crash like you would with a sugar product.
Nuun. Not only am I an ambassador for Nuun, but I truly believe in their product and use it on the regular. Also they have recently improved their formula for even more awesomeness. I will typically carry some Nuun in my handheld or use it post run. They also have formulas with and without caffeine as well as a formula for all day so there is something for everyone.
Coconut Water. This is another one of my favorite fuels. It’s not as sweet as Nuun so I sometimes like to mix coconut water with filtered water for longer runs when I know I might want to take a gel or chew. You can read more about why I love coconut water here.
Dried Fruit. I used to only fuel with dried dates, but somehow got introduced to the world of gels and forgot about them. I am now working to add more dried fruit into my fueling routine. I am currently experimenting with dried mango slices, apricots and banana chews. Dried fruit is great because you actually have to chew something and it is less likely to make your stomach hurt if you are sensitive to gels or looking for a real food option.
Orange/Clementine Slices. I usually only find these in a race, but would love to add a couple slices into marathon training runs. Oranges are refreshing (especially during summer) and are packed with nutrients. I think it would be easy to peel a couple slices and throw them in my fuel belt for longer runs. Once again, since this is a whole food option there is a smaller chance that you will feel sick after eating them.
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets. I stopped using these as often because I got tired of carrying them, but want to try them again. Sometimes I just want something salty that tastes like real food and these are perfect. Most big box stores sell these in a massive tub for cheap. They are tasty for runs and in real life.
Gels and Chews
Huma Gels. These little cuties are currently my favorite gel. I like them because they are made with chia seed and aren’t as difficult to digest as some other brands. These work for me because I can fuel with them for an entire race without feeling like it’s too much gel. The mocha, chocolate and lemonade are my favorite. Those varieties contain caffeine, but they have other kinds that don’t.
Clif Blok Energy Chews. The bloks are ideal for shorter runs when you want a little something, but don’t want to commit to an entire gel. I don’t prefer them for longer races because I get tired of chewing, but some people like that. The flavors are tasty and they are easy to open and pop out a blok or two.
Clif Shot. The vanilla flavor tastes like frosting so it is worth mentioning. This is just the boost you need to get through that half marathon. I don’t know that I could take more than one of these in a race or training run, but they are tasty and the texture does remind me of frosting. These are popular at runDisney events, so I usually just fuel on the course and search out the vanilla variety.
More Nuun, Coconut Water and Filtered Water
Smoothie. If I am not ready to sit down and eat a real meal then I usually always make a smoothie to have after a training run. My favorite combo lately is almond milk, ice, frozen banana, peanut butter, flaxseed and vanilla or chocolate protein powder (always the Vega variety). I like to enjoy part of my smoothie while I stretch my muscles before hitting the shower or an ice bath.
Everyone is different and it’s important to try a lot of different strategies and products out before a big event like a race. What works for you might not work for someone else, but the best thing is that there are infinite options when it comes to running fuel. Find what works for you and tweak it accordingly.
Happy Running, ya’ll!
Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links, however each product opinion is my own.
What is your current favorite fuel?
Do you prefer gels or whole foods?