Any suggestions on the best types of food to eat while running?
It depends how long you are running for and what your effort level is. If we are talking about running ultramarathons then I like to take a mouthful at a time every 20 mins starting at 3-4 hours or so. For races 8-12 hours plus, try to minimise processed food and take in a range of nutrients including fat. I think fat is as necessary as protein and carbohydrate in a type of enfurance event that means you have to keep replenishing your energy reserves. As we know, we can go a few hours on what our bodies naturally store. After that we have to have a steady replacement strategy.
Experiment and see what works for you.
Eating well during a long event will also help you recover quicker after. You may not get a quick rush from less processed foods but also you wont crash 20 mins later either. Save the sugar for the last couple of miles – unless its serious of course.
Fruit is good – bananas,grapes,raisins,dates,
Nuts – including peanut butter,cashew butter
Vegetables – potatoes,sweet potatoes
Seeds/Grains – oatmeal,pasta,chia seeds,rice
Sandwiches, soups – foods that are not too acidic or too salty or too heavy.
Drink – water is great, maybe some energy drink to alternate like Heed or Perpeteum.
- Carbohydrates require more water to digest so if you increase your carbs, take in extra water
- Very sugary foods can cause stomach issues or diarrhea, high fat or high protein foods take longer to digest
- Liquid meals digest more quickly
- Ensure electrolyte levels are maintained by eating a range of types of food
Other articles that may be of help
- The Long Run: Eating On The Run Scott Jurek writes about how much is too much or not enough.
- Best and Worst Pre-Run Foods This article suggests almost the opposite of what I have shared above concerning processed foods.
- Training: how do you eat while you run? Logistics of organising your food during long runs.
- Eating, Running, Stomach & Nausea Kevin Sayers site: not as new as other articles but still totally relevant.
- Distance running and race walking section of the IAAF Nutrition for Athletes publication