Running fuel is one of the most discussed topics in the various running groups I belong to on Facebook. Everyone has their favorite manufactured running fuel and many have their favorite “normal food” choices. I’ve used various gels and waffles and sports beans, but my stomach tends to disagree with the amount of sugar in those. So, I’ve had to experiment with some other choices. Thankfully, I’ve run a lot of Mainly Marathons races, so I’ve had the opportunity to eat everything from pickles to pancakes to cups of soup. Confession: if I could figure out how to carry salty vegetables and noodles on my long runs, I totally would. Since that’s a little unlikely, here are my favorite normal food running fuel choices:
- Pretzels and raisins – I love the combination of the salty and the sweet and my stomach finds this bland enough and not over the top sugary.
- Rice Krispy Treats – This is a fairly new obsession and I have to admit that the pre-packaged Kellogg’s Rice Krispy Treats (affiliate link) are the best for carrying with you. They just hold their shape better. I ran Marine Corps Marathon with one of these cut up in a baggy and it was the perfect fuel for the race.
- Animal Crackers – These don’t upset my stomach and they are super easy to carry, but if you aren’t carrying water, these can be a bit too dry.
- Gummy Bears – Run and eat candy? Yes, please. I have to be careful with these because to many can have just as bad an effect on me as manufactured running fuel. They are just a little too high in sugar for me.
- Hard boiled eggs with mustard – OK, I still haven’t figure out how to carry these with me, but I ate them during my back to back marathon races and they were fabulous. It’s particularly odd because I never really ate many hard boiled eggs, but now I crave them after any long run.
One “real food” running fuel that I haven’t tried yet is a date filled with nut butter. That suggestion comes up a lot on the Marathon Maniacs page. I know I’d have no issues with the nut butter, but I am admittedly a bit nervous about the dates. Sometimes my stomach is not a fan and that’s not something I need to experience on a long run. BTDT. Do not need to do it again.
What is your favorite running fuel on long runs or at races? Do you eat anything besides gels and other similar foods?