top of page

Eating during your Run

Eating during your run

Running costs a lot of energy, if we are out for a long time we need to fuel our body and make sure we have enough energy to complete our run. So let's have a look at eating during our runs.

When I started out running I never used tot drink or eat anything. When I would drink something it would swoosh around in my stomach, it felt uncomfortable plus I didn’t want to lose time during a race having to slow down to drink something. Same with food, I tried a couple of times to eat something during a race. One time they were handing out pieces of bananas and the whole time after I ate it I was burping up banana, it made me very uncomfortable. I tried gels, but timed them wrong and the brand or taste just wasn’t right and they really just gave me a bad experience during the race, so I just didn’t eat or drink anything.

drinking water

For shorter distances this is fine, I can still run a 5K or 10K without any water stops or eating something, but with longer distances it becomes more important to refuel your body during your run. So I had to train my body to get used to this on my training runs. I started with drinking before going out on my run, than zipping a little bit of water during my run and building that up to actually drinking a bit while out running. Same with the gels, I found a brand that I like, a flavour that I enjoy and started taking it a little bit before my run and now I can eat it during my run and I feel fine about that.

Whether I drink or how much I drink depends on the time of year, the type of run and the distance I’m running. During the summer when it’s hot out I will need to drink more than in the winter when with some runs you barely break a sweat. When I do an interval or Fartlek run I drink water before I go out, but I don’t stop to drink during my run. Same with shorter runs, if I’m running 5K I can do without having to drink anything, but when I’m running a half marathon a water break is usually a welcome thing.

sport gel for runners

Gels I only use on longer runs. It depends on how I feel before I go out too. I mostly run in the morning, so when I wake up and I already feel a little bit hungry I will take a gel before I go out, cause I know otherwise I will run out of energy somewhere half way down the line. When I’m running a half marathon or more I will take a gel with me and have it while I’m running somewhere after 15K. When I run a marathon I start with my gels at 15K, the reason for this is because I noticed at a couple of races that at 18K there is a need for more energy, the gels take a little bit of time to kick in and if you take a gel at 18K and you’re running a half marathon it will kick in once you’ve crossed the finish line.

sport beans jelly belly

Once I start with the gels I normally will take something every 5K, so at 20K I will use some sports beans, at 25K another gel, at 30K again some sports beans or something similar small but with some extra energy and one more gel at 35K. I will use most of the water stops and will drink water but also the Powerade or Gatorade depending on what they have during the race. Now that I’m used to that it doesn’t bother me during my race and my body can use the hydration, the electrolytes and the extra energy boost during my run.

During a race there are water stops, but how do you do this on your training run? Find out if where you run there are water fountains you could use and make sure your route goes along them. Not everywhere has those, I know where I run there are a couple. If you don’t have any drinking fountains near you, you might want to run a loop passing your house or park your car somewhere and run by it and drink something during your run. I know there are people who hide a water bottle in bushes for their runs. And of course there is always a belt you can wear with water bottles, a camel bag or just cary a water bottle in your hand, whatever works for you.

And that is the most important thing, do what works for you, find out how it feels for you to drink or eat when you run, if you are training for longer runs like a marathon, it might be a good idea to train drinking and eating as well if that is something you have trouble with. You’ll need the energy on your run, but you don’t want to feel uncomfortable on race day, so try different things when you’re training and see what works for you.


bottom of page