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Nutrition For Your Longer Running Sessions
 

What you eat in the build up to your long training session or running event has a major impact on your performance, but sometimes you also need to think about your nutritional needs while you’re out on your run. Here’s everything you need to know about fuelling when you’re out on a long run.

The general understanding is, providing you’ve carbo loaded well before your race or long run you should be fine up until around the 90-minute mark, then your energy levels will drop - which is where energy gels and other forms of sports nutrition come in. But remember that this estimation does vary depending on the individual and the nature of your run.

Energy Gels

Energy gels are essentially a mix of concentrated forms of sugars (carbohydrates), salts (electrolytes) and water. They are effective in getting glycogen to your muscles to give you a quick hit of energy. Energy gels are designed to be quickly absorbed by the body and can also help maintain blood sugar during exercise.

They contain a high concentration of carbohydrates so you should always wash the gel down with some water to help you digest it easier. It’s also important to remember that your body has a limit to how many carbohydrates it can absorb and store, therefore it’s a bad idea to consume too many gels. If you consume too many carbohydrates then they won’t be stored in your body and could even upset your digestive system (which is the last thing you’d want on a run.)

During the later stages of your run, when the body really starts to tire, blood is often diverted away from your digestive tract and more blood (and therefore more oxygen) is sent to the muscles in your legs. As a result of this, when some runners try to digest an energy gel, they bring it back up. If this is something that affects you, try to take very small amounts of the gel slowly. For example, take one-quarter of the gel every 15 minutes.

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to flavour, again it’s down to personal preference which ones you go for, but try a few different energy gels out to see what’s best suited to your taste. Energy gels tend to be made from easy open packets to ensure you can refuel efficiently. Just be sure to test energy gels before your big race, the last thing you want is to find that it doesn’t agree with you on race day.

Torq Forest Fruits energy gel is an energy boost to give you that extra push. This gel is ideal all sporting folk from trekkers to trampolining, hiking to hockey. These gels are made up of only natural products and are easy to open and use. They are made of the Torq special blend that will keep you energised and fuelled to enjoy your exercise.

SUITABLE FOR VEGANS

£1.85

Energy bars

Generally made up of carbohydrates, protein and fats, energy bars are another nutrition option at your disposal when you’re out on a long run. When you run any great distance, your body uses the aerobic energy system. This system uses carbohydrates as its main energy source, and when you run longer distances you burn more calories, which is why refuelling during your long run with an energy bar is a good idea.

Some nutritional energy bars are made from all natural ingredients that are intended to sustain energy levels, rather than give you a quick burst of energy and therefore a sugar crash. Honey is a good ingredient option if you’re looking for both fast and long-lasting fuel, as it contains glucose and fructose. Glucose releases energy quickly to provide you with a quick hit, whereas fructose releases energy slowly over time.

Protein bars

As the name of these nutritional bars suggests, they are intended to provide the body with protein and amino acids (the building blocks of protein), which are needed to rebuild and repair muscles. You should consume a protein bar as a snack after your long run, rather as a fueling strategy when you’re out on a run.

Recovery/protein drinks

Again this nutrition option should be taken after you’ve completed your long run, but a protein drink can help to speed up the recovery process by helping your muscles recover and rebuild. Runners should ideally go for a drink that is consists of a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein to replenish your body’s glycogen stores. A protein drink can be a convenient solution to refuelling after a long run.

Hydration tablets

Hydration tablets help you rehydrate and replenish electrolytes which are depleted during your run. When you’re running longer distances, electrolyte loss is something you need to address in your nutrition choices. You lose potassium and sodium through sweat, and water alone will not replace these electrolytes.

Particularly if you’re running substantial distances in hotter weather, electrolyte tablets are even more crucial. Opt for sugar-free options that contain natural flavourings. Artificial ingredients and added sugars are often the problem with ready made sports drinks. Hydration tablets are simple to use, just drop a tab into your water bottle and wait for it to dissolve.

SIS Bottle SIS 800ML WIDE NECK BOTTLE

£3.69

Hydration bottle

If you’re planning on using hydration tablets or some sort of recovery/protein drinks as part of your running nutrition plan, you’ll need a sports bottle to store it in. For protein drinks in particular, you need to invest in a shaker that works. Some shakers include a wire ‘blender ball’ that acts like a whisk in the bottle to help the powder dissolve easier and keeps your recovery drink lump free. Others have a filter inside the bottle to break up the powder and again reduce the lumps in your drink.

Need more help with your running and training needs? Visit realbuzz.com for more running advice and tips.

Picture credit - sportpoint / Shutterstock.com

 

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