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What and How Much to Eat During Long Runs

Fueling your body with quick digesting carbohydrates during your long runs is ESSENTIAL to keep you from bonking, cramping, dropping blood sugar levels, and losing energy.

Here’s the catch – you likely won’t FEEL hunger or even want to eat during your long runs. Why’s that?

Well, during endurance activities, your body moves blood away from your stomach and pushes it to your outer extremities like you arms and legs because they are currently more important.

This causes your hunger signals to not really show up, but you NEED to eat and fuel.

👉 We ~typically~ want to start incorporating intra-run carbohydrates when we are creeping up on runs that are greater than ~75-90 minutes in duration.

A general rule of thumb is anywhere between ~40-70g every HOUR while on our feet. Not everyone’s gut can tolerate the higher end range, so this may take some tolerance building by starting on the lower end of the range.

You MAY also realize you need to narrow the ~60 minute window down and start taking in carbs around those ~30 minute marks. This is very person dependent you will typically see that ~30 minute mark implemented on race day or for 3-4+ hour runs.

Again — each individual person is UNIQUE in their needs. This will take trial and error in figuring out your intake sweet spot [practice during training runs – don’t wait until race day] AND some getting used to if you’ve never incorporated intra-run fuel before or are starting to play in those longer duration runs.

Gummy bears are a great snack to eat during your long runs as the sugars will give you a quick boost! The image shows colorful, tasty looking gummy bears.
My motto… EAT EARLY – EAT OFTEN.

As previously mentioned, since hunger may not be present, quick digesting carbs will likely do the trick! Some people will prefer drinking their carbs as well!

You will want to avoid foods with fats simple because they are SLOW to digest.

It is crucial to make sure we are eating ENOUGH as a whole/across the day to support your running too!!

Intra-Run Carb Ideas:

  • Tailwild
  • Gatorade
  • Juice
  • Gummy Bears/Worms
  • Applesauce Pouches
  • Energy Gels/Blocks/GU
  • Waffles
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • YOUR FAVE CANDY
  • Honey Packets
  • Maple Syrup
  • Dried Fruit

Need support with dialing in your intra-run fueling strategy or ensuring you are eating enough food to support your training, recovery, and LIFE? Book a Stoke Strategy Session with me or let’s chat 1:1 nutrition coaching!

Meet the author

Bethany Taylor

I’m a PNW-based outdoor educator, adventure athlete, highly-caffeinated creative, all-women adventure trip host, safety advocate, and obsessed dog mom. I am here to help you chase more stoke-filled days outdoors with confidence through education and empowerment.

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