If you're starting to ramp up your running and are training for a half marathon, marathon, or even ultra marathon, it's important to know that your nutrition strategy is key to success. We give you all the information you need on how to fuel for long runs.
What is the best thing to eat before a long run?
When running long distance, what you eat before your run is just as important as how you fuel throughout. When training for an event on a specific date, it's important to steadily increase your carbohydrate intake in the week leading up to the event so that you can get your body used to storing more energy. But beware, don't fall into the trap of 'carb loading' the night before the race by eating a load of pasta and then going to bed! You need to build up gradually over several days, rather than just eating more than usual the day before.
For your regular training runs, there are a few different things that will fuel you well before you head out. Eating a good breakfast will set you up well whether your run is morning, afternoon, or evening. Opt for something carb-rich but also high in protein, such as eggs on toast or oatmeal with fruit. This should be eaten around 2 hours before your run so that it has time to digest and won't sit heavy in your stomach. Around 30-60 minutes before you run, eat something with simple sugars such as a banana to give you one last boost.
What to eat 2 hours before a run
- Oatmeal with fruit and nuts/seeds
- Eggs on toast
- Protein pancakes
- Ham and cheese sandwich
- Peanut butter on toast
- Chicken, rice, vegetables
What to eat 30-60 minutes before a run
- Protein shake
- Some crackers
- Apple sauce
Mid run fuel
When it comes to mid run fuel for long runs, different things will work for different people. The ultimate debate is whether to eat real food or not. By this, we mean the difference between a peanut butter sandwich and an energy gel. Some people are happy to fuel solely with sugary gels and drinks, but this doesn't work so well for others.
In order to find out what works for you, it's best to go with the trial and error method in your training runs. Remember, nothing new on race day! Try different foods and gels and see which make you feel the best. It could be that a combination of both works for you.
Foods which are great for mid run fuel:
- Protein balls
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Pretzels (good for sodium but can be very dry, especially if you’re dehydrated)
- Pickles and pickle juice (great for cramps)
- Dried or fresh fruit
- Sugar cubes
- Energy gels
- Sports/electrolyte drink
You also need to remember that whatever you decide to fuel with, you need to be able to comfortably hold or carry with you while you run. Some people don't mind holding a bottle in their hand while they run, but others may find that to be uncomfortable. Work out what you like best and practice running with a hydration bag, bottle, and snacks in various pockets.
It's also important to remember that being as self-sufficient as possible is best for racing as you never know what kind of fuel and hydration will be available to you on the day. There's nothing worse than gasping for a drink and running along waiting for the next water station only for it never to arrive.
Running fuel for sensitive stomachs
If you have a sensitive stomach or you find that certain foods or energy gels give you gastric problems during your run, you need to be extra careful. Here are some top tips for finding running fuel for sensitive stomachs:
- Avoid caffeine
- Stick with bland carbs like toast, bagels, and oatmeal
- Avoid spicy foods
- Avoid eating too much fibre
- Seek out energy/protein bars with minimal ingredients
Homemade running fuel
If you don't like the idea of eating something full of chemicals or constantly buying expensive energy bars and gels, you can make your own homemade running fuel. There are lots of options, from homemade trail mix to even make your own energy gels! Read more in our article below.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you haven’t been going to the gym as often as you should or you’ve skipped a few runs or bike rides. That’s where we step in. After reading this article, you should be feeling more motivated than ever, and ready to smash your goals with no excuses. Once you learn to enjoy working out, it’ll never feel like a chore again. So, what are you waiting for?
Make sure you’re comfortable in your activewear
This should be the first thing you think about when it comes to motivation. If you know that your gym top will chafe you or your running leggings will keep falling down as you move, it can be hugely off-putting. On the contrary, if you’ve got fresh, comfortable, stylish activewear, you will look forward to putting it on and showing everyone else at the gym what you’re made of.
Stock up on comfortable ultra cool sports tops for the summer and base layers for the winter. Make sure you have running leggings that don’t slip down (or ride up) and have a discreet pocket for your valuables. Fashionable and good-looking gym wear can completely change your mood and having new activewear to look forward to wearing can be the best motivator there is.
Keep it fresh
Change up your routine regularly and don’t let it go stale. This means not only what you do within the session, but what sessions you’re doing and when. Don’t always go for a run on a Monday and do a leg session on a Wednesday, mix it up week by week. If you’re following a specific training plan, then this perhaps doesn’t apply, but if you’re still finding your groove, mixing it up can really help with motivation. It’s also important to make sure your training regime fits in with your daily routine, as there’s nothing worse than having a big gym sessions planned after a long and tiring day at work.
You should definitely change the exercises you’re doing within your training sessions as regularly as possible. However, that said, it can also be motivating to create a specific routine and try to beat your own time each week. This will help to motivate you as you will have a very focused goal and something to work towards.
Workout with a buddy
Sometimes, getting up off the sofa to go for a run on your own can seem a bit boring. By training with a friend you can keep things fresh and have something to look forward to. Not only this, you will be letting them down if you don’t show up!
Working out can be much more enjoyable if you have someone to talk to and to compare notes with. However, don’t let working out with a buddy distract you from your training. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Find a sport you enjoy
If pounding the pavements for mile after mile isn’t your thing, that’s okay. You might find a sport that you absolutely love and when this happens, exercising will never feel like a chore again. If you’re enjoying a sport then that will be your focus, rather than the fact you should be losing weight or seeing results. Lose yourself in a sport like triathlon, CrossFit, tennis, or any number of others and you won’t be watching the clock or checking the scales every day as you’ll have a new focus.
Not only this, a lot of sports are team efforts and so it can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Mingling with like-minded people can really help with motivation and could also help you learn more about the sport so that you can become more interested in it.
Create a killer playlist
One of the best ways to enjoy your workout more is to have a killer playlist to listen to. Spend some time finding new songs which pump you up and motivate you or a single album by an artist you like so that you can spend your entire session listening through it. Having music you know you like to listen to will really motivate you and looking forward to discovering a new album can help you get out the door when you’re not feeling it.
Remember why you’re doing this
This is possibly the most important point on the list. One of the best ways to enjoy working out is to remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Maybe it’s to see results in your appearance or to perform better in a sport or race. There’s nothing more motivating and rewarding than seeing results and realising you can do something now that you couldn’t do before. Once you’re no longer a novice and can competently do the exercises, you will begin to enjoy the process a lot more.
So you've done a test to find out your body type and you've discovered you're a mesomorph - lucky you! Try our workout for mesomorphs so that you can make the most of your ability to build lean muscle and achieve the physique you've always wanted.
Workout For Mesomorphs
As a mesomorph, you can pack on muscle easily but need to keep up your cardio so that you don't store excess fat. What that means is HIIT workouts and MetCon workouts will work best for you to attain a great physique. Below is an example workout that a mesomorph may want to follow.
EMOM - Every Minute On the Minute
15 kettlebell swings
5 box jumps
15 dumbbell snatches
5 press ups
Repeat until 20 minutes have passed.
This workout incorporates conditioning, power, and cardio in a combination that will get you out of breath, increase your heart rate, and challenge your muscular endurance. For mesomorphs, it should result in increased lean muscle mass as well as burning fat.
Do a workout of this type 3-5 times a week to really see great results.
Paul Doulton, my grandfather, is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. He not only continues to pursue the sports he loves, but he and his partner together have built a sustainable development, La Querencia, in the mountains of Mexico. I can describe La Querencia best as what I imagine the Garden of Eden would look like. Coming up to his 80th birthday, I had the chance to interview him about sailing, tennis, rowing and La Querencia.
How long have you been doing all of these sports?
I have been sailing for 70 years, playing tennis and rowing for 65 years. And before that I used to run everyday.
Out of those sports, do you have a favourite?
Well, the one which I hope to continue doing for the rest of my life is rowing because it is such a complete sport and the environment is beautiful.
Has rowing enhanced your appreciation for nature?
I have always had a great appreciation of nature, but rowing is where it is at its maximum expression. But of course, when you’re rowing, it’s amazing because you can just clear out all the garbage in your head, or things you might be dreaming about, or problems you’re worrying about, you sort them out on the lake.
So, is rowing almost a meditative exercise for you?
(Laughing) No, meditation would be an inappropriate expression in my case.
Have you ever rowed, sailed or played tennis competitively?
Sailing yes, rowing a couple of times but we no longer complete. It’s more just for pleasure but I used to take part in the senior category of international rowing competitions.
How often do you row?
I row three times a week; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Sailing less now, just a few times a year, but when I sailed before, I used to get out every weekend. But I still play tennis at least twice a week. All of it is around the weekend.
What made you want to start rowing?
We live next to a lake and I used to row at school. A friend of mine lent me a boat and I just thought, I’ve got to get back into this! So it is partly because of the geography but there is also no better sport for keeping fit. It is as much for fitness as anything else.
I’ve just come back this morning after rowing for 70 minutes and am about to go and play tennis with an old friend.
Do you think this sporty-life style has changed the way you think about health and fitness?
Both, but I have always been an outdoor person and this is the way I can channel my energy. Ants in my pants, got to do something about it!
How important is the social element to your choice of sports?
That is not my motivation however there is that side which is also very enjoyable. But most of the rowing I do I’m in a single, although there is quite a good rowing community
Do you have any top tips for anyone starting out rowing? Advice? Words of wisdom?
With rowing, it’s great for fitness and it’s something you can do all of your life. I mean, here I am approaching 80 and I’m still getting out there on the lake.
And you also have an interest in sustainability?
Yes La Querencia; our motivation is that it’s a life project to sustainability.
Was there a catalyst for La Querencia?
It was because my partner was looking for a piece of land, I wasn’t but when I saw it, I thought let’s do this together. And we thought together we would be able to do something about sustainability.
Do you think you’ve done this to create a legacy for future generations?
Yes, that’s exactly it, that’s very well expressed.
What are the uses for La Querencia?
We grow all our own organic fruit and vegetables all year round and it’s a great social meeting point. We have yoga classes and there have been adventure holidays for children here and we have company retreats as well. The whole purpose of La Querencia is to create an environment were we can build a community of like-minded people, people committed to improving the environment.
By Siena Barry-Taylor
Adonis is a personal trainer who cares about his own fitness just as much as his clients'. He talks to Sundried about life in the fitness industry.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up
I hope this answer won’t show my age too much!
1990 - 1999: I participated in various Karate competitions, winning second and first place in some of them. Karate was actually my first love.
1999 - 2001: I was in the army/special forces. Through this role I had the opportunity to be involved in various army sports events including 50km mountain hikes carrying 30kg gear, 20km runs with a 4.1kg rifle, obstacle courses etc.
2001 - 2005: I studied at the Physical Education and Sports Science University of Hungary in Budapest. There I had the opportunity to participate in sports events such as gymnastics, swimming, and athletics.
2005 - present: I have participated in various obstacle course races but in general I participate mostly in fitness events rather than sporting events. The majority of the fitness events I am involved in are Group Exercise related.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
It all stared with Karate, which was the sport that made me passionate about fitness. Then I started long distance running and in 1997 I got obsessed with the gym. I still am.
What are your training goals now?
My general goals are to stay strong and mobile. Lately I've also started to incorporate some athletic performance development programs because I enjoy them.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I am dyslexic. in order to understand something I need to read it 10 times. My hand writing is terrible and I am very good at losing things!
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
I wish someone had explained to me that less... is actually more!
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I always focus on the basics such as eating small meals that contain all of the important nutrients, hydrating well throughout the day, eating something nice in a small portion once or twice per week. The same goes with drinking alcohol.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
Clients stay motivated with consistency and structure in their program planning and intensity progression.
Talk us through your training regime.
I've just finished an athletic performance development program that was focused on developing balance under high intensity. My new program is focused on hypertrophy/strength. Due to my limited free time I have split it into two days, with each day consisting of 5 exercises. I do each day twice per week.
Duration: 45 minutes
Rest between sets and exercises: 1 minute
- Chin ups with neutral grip
- Low Pulley Rows with butterfly grip
- Bench Press
- Include Chest Press with dumbbells
- Roll Outs with bar. One hand holds the bar from the middle and rolls it away and the other is on the floor doing a pressup.
- Flexibility and Mobility
- Plate loaded Leg Press
- Biceps Curls with bar
- Scull Crushers with easy bar lying on a 30 degrees incline bench
- Flexibility and Mobility
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
In order to stay up to date with the latest research I became a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). They are the most important Sports Medicine and Fitness research centre.
In general, for constant development I like to do a training course on something new minimum once per year.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Quality over quantity. Select the weight that you can execute the exercise with proper alignment and technique. The last 3 repetitions should be challenging. Don't just go for the heaviest weight.
- Flexibility and mobility are as important as everything else. Think long term: injury prevention, health.
- Build up gradually. Good things take time.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Why work with Sundried?
I work with Sundried because they create incredible products using the latest developments in technology and because they take responsibility in business as serious as they take responsibility towards the environment.