There is no shortage of polarizing conversation in modern society: Android or Apple? The style cred of Ugg Boots? Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Superman?
When it comes to running, there’s one topic of conversation that causes strong opinions to surface. A source of endless debate, experimentation, and discussion. That topic? Eating and running.
What To Eat During Long Runs
I will preface this post by saying I speak from experience, not expertise. I’m not a nutritionist or a dietician (or even a legitimate foodie)! But, as an ultrarunner, I often do get asked what I eat during long runs. I’m here to share what works for me, and what I’ve heard works for others. And of course, I sourced all of my snacks in Kitsilano!
During exercise you reach a point where consuming energy (eating) helps you continue exerting energy (running). When it is time for me to eat, here’s what I go for:
Bananas or coconut water: Why? Potassium. It helps with recovery.
Honey Stinger Waffles: I know Lance Armstrong is on the packaging, but I’m fairly certain these waffles are clean. European cyclists have been eating stroopwafles (the inspiration for these) for years. Speaking of polarizing conversation – I’m still a Lance fan 🙂
Bounce Natural Energy Balls: These were a recent find for me at Whole Foods, and they delivered. Thumbs up for their tagline, “what would you do if you had the Balls?”
High-calorie gel punches: Gels are key in my running repertoire.The appeal here is high calories, low effort. Honey Stinger’s Organic Energy Chews remind me of very sweet gummy bears. Clif Shot Bloks are bite-size squares of energy. This is what you can eat when you no longer want to chew real food 🙂
Potato chips and flat Coke: While it’s not the picture of health, you can’t go wrong with potato chips and Coke! Flat Coke. The potato chips offer a quick salt boost and the Coke…well…sugar and caffeine! Say no more.
Everyone has their opinion on food. Everyone has learned the hard way what not to eat. I’d love to hear what works for you (also – smartphone choice? Uggs? Spiderman?)
See you out there,
P.S. – Happy Easter!
Bananas, Coconut Water, Bounce Natural Energy Balls, Honey Stinger Waffles and Vega Gels: Whole Foods Market, 2285 West 4th Avenue. 604-739-6676
Honey Stinger Chews, Clif Gel and Shot Bloks: Atmosphere Kitsilano, 1625 Chestnut Street. 604-731-6181
Lays Chips and Coke: Maple Market, 2002 West 4th Avenue
Peeps: The Candy Aisle, 2083 West 4th Avenue. 604-739-3330
Photos: Chelsea Siler
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Chelsea is a Kits-based ultrarunner. Read more about her adventures on her running blog Fresh-steps.com. Have a question about running in Kits? Post a comment and she’ll give you a hand.
Last modified: June 30, 2021
3) Spiderman obviously
If you plan on running longish, the key is eat often eat early. However, there are machines out there like Kilian Jornet who seem to be able to run for days on almost nothing, but that is the exception, not the norm. The general rule is 200-300 calories an hour (depending on weight).
Generally I scrounge whatever my running buddies have, but what works? 1) Gels always: quick and easy, just how I like em’
2) Salt & Vinegar chips
3) Ice cold ice team is the most baller thing in the world in hot runs for some reason
4) Almond butter/jam wraps work wonders and are delicious
There are a million running supplements now that replace actual food to make absorption fast and digestion easy. I am just an old dawg with no new tricks.
thanks for posting.
Thanks for the info and I’ll agree that cold ice tea is about as baller as it gets on a hot day. I do enjoy almond butter and jam wraps too – I thought about putting them in this post too but they just don’t photograph as well as florescent yellow Peeps 🙂
And you know what they say about old bulls versus young bulls. The old bull (experience) wins every time. Cheers and thanks for reading! Happy running.
Just curious, what does an ultra runner consider a ‘long’ run?
As somebody who has done marathons in the past, I consider 20 miles to be a long run but I don’t like to eat during them.
I run on the west side regularly and don’t see runners who appear to be carrying much food–where do they carry it? I can’t see a spibelt carrying that much–like a bottle of coke and chips? Really? Or do you run with a backpack?
My rule of thumb is to bring food if I’m out for more than 2 hours. That distance can vary depending on terrain. I often bring a handheld bottle and stuff a few gels in the pocket (like this: http://nathansports.com/our-products/hydrationnutrition/handhelds).
For my long runs (which have gone up to 21 hours but are usually around 5-8ish) I have a Salomon pack (like this: http://www.salomonrunning.com/us/product/skin-pro-3-set.html) that I can carry water and food – along with extra layers and emergency supplies. I find a place for a baggie of chips in there every time 🙂
For long runs most people will hit the trails away from the regular pathways where there’s enough real estate to keep from doing laps. That may be why you don’t see them around the West Side as often.
You are right, it would be strange to see someone carrying a glass bottle of Coke on a run! In this case I thought it was a good photo op to get my point across (I was shocked to find a store that sold old-fashioned glass-bottle Coke)! During ultra races there will always be cups of Coke available for race participants (especially nearing the end of the course) and many people will carry a small can on a run for that pick-me-up energy boost. Also – I have never eaten Peeps on a run (although with the sugar content might not be a bad idea), that was my clever way of saying Happy Easter to our readers!
Hope that answers your question Debra! Have a great day, enjoy this sunny weekend, and a high-5 is in order if we cross paths running on the west side 🙂