Food and Drink on the Run

I carry a 20oz water bottle on my running belt (similar model) for hydration. I rarely need it during the cooler parts of the year, but I always carry it. As I mentioned in a different post, I use water to curb hunger pangs if they occur on a 10-mile run or less. During the hot summer months, I can easily drink most of it during my normal 8-9 mile runs.

Why water? When I first was able to actually run more than 2 miles, I read about electrolytes, sugars, and other nutrient deficits that can occur while running so I tried a few “sport” drinks in my bottle.

  • First, they really didn’t seem to help revitalize or refresh while running.
  • Next, the bottle can get sticky and can leave stains (on everything).
  • And the waste was glaringly evident. If you don’t drink it all, how long would you leave it in the bottle? Is it still consumable after being in high summer temps mixed with your sweaty lips and saliva? Eww…

Anyway, I found that sticking with water not only provided the refreshment needed, but it was also easier to deal with. Plus, on those long runs, it’s easier to find replacement water from a park or gas station than dealing with the time and hassle of money to buy something.

What about food?

Most of the time I don’t need it, but on those crazy days when I’m going for a run greater than 10 miles, I put some Medjool dates in a cheap baggie and drop them in my pocket.

About the 7 mile mark, I’ll eat a date with a drink of water, then repeat every other mile. I have found this is sufficient nutrition to maintain a run without feeling poorly during or after. My longest run at this point is a little over 15 miles, and this worked well.

I have tried other foods as well – energy bars, granola bars, nuts, etc. However, for me, those are harder to consume while running. It is very easy to choke on anything that can break apart when you’re chewing because you’re also breathing more while in motion. The dates are softer, chewy, can easily sit under your tongue while getting an extra breath, and are packed with natural goodness.

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