You’re halfway there!
You’ve made it past the dreaded 13-mile mark, and you’re feeling good.
But now what? Do I need to eat or drink anything at this point? If so, how much and what should I be eating/drinking?
These are all questions that might go through your head as you near the end of a race.
Running a half marathon is no easy feat, but it can be easier by taking the right precautions.
Whether you are running for fun or as part of a charity event, fueling up properly is key to staying on track and ensuring your body has what it needs to keep going.
This article will go over everything you need to know about fueling strategies, including when to eat, how much to eat, which foods work best, and more!
What is fueling, and why is it important?
Regular fueling can be the difference between success and failure.
Eating regularly throughout your run will help you maintain a steady energy level and prevent fatigue, which is especially important when you’re likely to be running for hours at one time without any breaks.
It also ensures that your body needs to upkeep necessary functions like digestion, blood flow, mood elevation, cell regeneration, temperature control, etc.
The most important part about fueling while training or racing is that it should happen before your fuel tank runs out of gas!
You need to refuel as soon as possible to maximize performance levels (especially during those long races) so make sure not to wait until things get tough before eating something substantial.
The best way to refuel during a race is by carrying something relatively nutritious with you.
This can range from energy gels, bars, or peanut butter sandwiches on whole-wheat bread.
Carrying your food and drink ensures that you have exactly what you need without having to guess based on the event’s provided choices when they may not work for your body well.
It also saves money in the long run since it cuts out any extras!
Before the race
If you’re running a race, it’s important to get your body prepared for physical exertion.
The night before or at least early in the morning of your event, eat something high in complex carbohydrates and low-fat content.
This will give you energy when needed while also ensuring that any digestion issues aren’t something that will hold you back.
Your body will need to be hydrated for the race as well, so make sure you drink plenty of water!
Staying properly hydrated can prevent many issues like nausea and dizziness.
It’s also important to stay away from high-fat foods before a race because they may slow your stomach down when things are moving quickly.
The best option is to have something like a bagel with peanut butter or toast and jelly instead of eggs, bacon, ham, etc.
During the race
It’s crucial to eat or drink while running, especially if the race is longer than an hour.
The best options for this period include water, energy gels, sports drinks, and even fruit!
Sports drinks will replace electrolytes lost in sweat and have carbs to help you keep going.
Fruit is also a great option because it will give your body energy and vitamin C, which can reduce muscle soreness after the race!
Energy gels are easy-to-eat on-the-go options that come in both gel or chewable forms.
Remember that the stomach rebels when you increase your mileage.
According to Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, USAT Level I Triathlon Coach, if you want a successful run with less indigestion and discomfort in the future, it’s important to train for long-distance running. It also includes proper dieting habits that will take time before they produce results!
Recovering after the race
The first hour after the race is crucial to your body’s recovery process, so it’s important to replenish what you lost during the event.
Carbohydrates are needed for muscle repair and protein and fat, which will help with mood elevation.
Consuming a large amount of carbohydrates post-run can also reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and help you feel more energized.
This is the time to eat high-fat foods like cheese, nuts, or peanut butter since they will make for a perfect recovery meal while also providing energy!
Tips for dealing with hunger while running
If you’re hungry after a run, don’t wait too long before refueling.
If you wait for too long, your body will begin to break down muscle tissue (which is needed for energy during a race) as well as glycogen stores.
- One way you may curb this is by starting properly before each run with a good meal or snack about 30 minutes beforehand.
Not only will it help fuel up endurance while running, but it also can better control hunger levels after any workout.
- Fuel your runs with a good snack. But it’s not just about water and energy gels!
Eating the right foods before, during, and after your workout can also help you perform better on the run.
A good rule of thumb: eat or drink something with carbs every 15-30 minutes during a long run.
- When you finish your run, make sure to eat or drink something with carbohydrates and protein.
For those that are feeling like they need an extra sweet treat after their hard work out, chocolate milk is perfect because it’s got plenty of carbs and protein without being too heavy on either one.
- The desire to eat after exercising is often referred to as a “run-ger,” and it’s something we all face.
When you’re running, several factors could contribute to the risk of overeating. These include your climate, intensity or length of hours run, and how well hydrated you are before/after a run.
You may find one of these factors triggers an increase in appetite for some people, which is why they should implement strategies accordingly.
To help you understand better, see this video about How to Fuel for a Half Marathon or Full Marathon that shows some tips to help runners fuel for a half or full marathon.
We all know that training is essential, but there are also other things you can do before and during the race to help ensure success.
Planning by eating healthy food and getting plenty of sleep is important so your body will be in top shape on race day.
Make sure not only yourself but those near you have everything they need, like water bottles or snacks at hand!
The goal may seem daunting, especially if this isn’t something you’ve done before – it takes time to build up stamina – so try taking baby steps with short distances first!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Sweating is a natural process that helps cool the body. When you sweat too much, this can cause dehydration and make it hard to work at your best ability.
Following the hydration flowchart, you can see how dehydration starts with sweating and is worsened by not drinking water.
The way to avoid this fate? Drink lots of fluids!
Sweating excessively during exercise will cause one’s level of physical functioning and cognitive abilities to decline.
This occurs because it prevents your body from cooling down properly if there isn’t enough available blood volume due to dehydration.
What sports drinks are best for running, and when should they be consumed?
There are two main sports drinks available: fitness waters and energy drinks.
Fitness waters or commonly known as vitamin waters are one of the most popular drinks in America. They come in a variety of flavors, some sweetened and others not.
Be aware that these beverages can contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine (depending on flavor), and herbal ingredients.
Energy drinks can be found just about anywhere. They come in all sorts of flavors and offer a variety of benefits in boosting your workout performance.
But there’s one thing that they have in common, caffeine! Most contain loads and lots of it.
Some even more than coffee does, so beware before you indulge yourself in if you know the risks associated with it.
The best foods for runners
Gels are high in calories, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. These benefits make them perfect for marathon runners who need to refuel regularly to remain energized.
This snack is available at most running stores or gas stations on the go. They’re easy-to-carry snacks that can be found in single servings or packs of eight depending on how many you need.
In a recent study, the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that using energy gels instead of on-course sports drinks is more effective in fueling during half marathons.
They tested how well people performed when they consumed either gel or water before and after the race.
Completing electrolytes with sugary carbohydrates without much sodium content can lead to gastrointestinal distress like stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, etc.
This may affect performance levels negatively even though these are temporary side effects but unpleasant while one runs like an athlete!
On the other hand, the use of gels as a fueling strategy may not be for everyone. The stomach distress they cause could lead to slower rather than faster times in the half marathon.
Chews are the best option for those who are not into gels.
They provide an instant burst of calories that help keep you going, so just remember to get in some practice before your big race!
A few of the favorite go-to picks are:
- CLIF BARS
- Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
- SKRATCH LABS Sport Energy Chews
- Welch’s Fruit Snacks
- KIND Bars, Nuts, and Spices
The key to a healthy diet is eating whole foods that are low in sugar.
Some of the best options for runners are nuts, lentils, dried fruit like raisins and dates, and dark chocolate.
Watermelon: It’s important not only to drink water but also to get fluids from food sources due to how it helps hydrate and replace electrolytes.
Bananas: These are healthy sources of potassium, a key mineral for an athlete who is going to be exerting themselves in endurance sports like running.
Apples: They contain antioxidants that have been shown to protect against free radicals from being released, which can slow down your performance levels due to the muscles being unable to function when they are damaged.
Yogurt: It contains calcium and protein, which can also help in muscle repair post-workout for a runner trying to recover from a big game or race.
Avocados: They have potassium, healthy fats, and vitamin E, making them an excellent choice for runners.
Pineapple: They contain vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that will help to prevent a runner from getting sick and exhausted due to the lack of energy in their body even after they’ve consumed lots of food.
Check out this video about Half Marathon Nutrition Guide by HIGH5 Sports Nutrition.
Training for a half marathon often requires more time and effort than people realize. With all that you put into it, why not ensure your next race is the best one yet?
Start with some basic nutrition planning to help fuel up on long runs or during training days!
Many runners don’t think about their diet when preparing for a run, but this can be detrimental because of how important food plays in performance and recovery.
To maximize both these aspects from start to finish, HIGH5 Sports Nutrition has recommended runners eat breakfast and fuel during the run.
They also added to make sure to eat enough after the race, so you recover properly no matter what happens over a distance.
Tips to stay energized on a long run or at work!
When you’re out for a long run, it’s important to eat before and after the run. This will help fuel your body with what it needs during the workout to get back home without stopping at every gas station along the way.
Remember: if you don’t refuel now, all that hard effort is going down and drain!
Make sure to stick with easy-to-digest foods and contain protein, fat, carbs, or all three. This will help keep your energy levels up.
The best way to stay energized after your run is by drinking water, eating something light like fruits or vegetables (or anything that you are craving!), taking care of yourself, and doing the post-run stretches so your muscles
With the right fuel, you can power through your next half marathon and get to the finish line with a smile on your face!
We hope that this blog post has provided some helpful tips for fueling up before, during, and after long-distance runs.
If you’ve tried any of these foods or sports drinks in preparation for an upcoming race, we’d love to hear about it!