A common question we hear is regarding to what nutrition to take in and when. The following is a short guide to help better understand this complex challenge. Note, this article is referencing products we carry such as GU, Huma, Honey Stinger etc. This is not a total nutrition guide.
20-60 min before the run: This is as good a time as any to drink something. A Nuun or GU tablet can be helpful here. You’ll gain essential nutrients and hydration without putting calories into your stomach. This is especially helpful to those who don’t hold their food well. You can also eat some gummies. I recommend Honey Stinger Energy Chews. They taste like fruit snacks and you can get them in the caffeinated or non-caffeinated variety. Others are big fans of Clif Shot Blocks, which are similar to the Honey Stingers. Regardless, you’ll be fortifying your energy stores with between 130 and 200kcal!
During: This is the tricky part. Some people can scarf peanut butter sandwiches mid-run and not have issues but the majority of us are human and cannot. The two traditional means of taking calories during exercise are via gels or drink mixes. The most popular variety of gels are from the company GU. GU gels come in flavors ranging from chocolate, to fruit, to tasteless. An advantage to using GU vs other products is the inclusion of amino acids. These, in theory, help the muscles recover more quickly. Another gel brand is Huma. Huma is a gel based on natural ingredients invented by an Afghanistan veteran. For people with a more holistic diet, Huma can provide a bump without a gut bomb. Tailwind is the drink mix alternative to gels. At 200 calories per sleeve, you might want to use half the pouch per pour.
After: The body craves three things after a run: Carbs, protein and hydration. Any carbs will do and a Nuun tab is awesome for rehydrating after you finish. For protein anything will do if you follow this rule: 20g minimum 30g maximum. You’re selling yourself short if you take in under 20g of protein and but the body cannot process much more than that so keep it at or under 30.
Hope that’s helpful!