I am by no means an expert, but I think I have finally figured out how to fuel my body for running. Please take this with a gain of salt, I know everyone is different and different people may have sensitive stomachs, etc. It may have taken a couple of years but I think I have finally got it.


Pre run (morning):

-banana or greek yogurt

-Clif bar

Fitmixer amino

-glass of water

During run:

-One GU for every 3 miles, preferably one with caffeine

-Nuun or Gatorade and then water, traded off

Runs longer than 13 miles:

“real” solid food added in such as a banana, or half of a peanut butter sandwich


Oh, gingerbread how I miss thee

I used to only take two GU’s when running a half marathon distance, but during the Disneyland half I actually took 3.5, and felt great. I could definitely tell I had a boost of energy several minutes later. My method was when I saw a water stop near a time I wanted to fuel, I would go ahead and take it out and start eating. Then, by time I got tot he water station I was almost finished and could then take a half cup of water and half cup of Gatorade to wash it down.

My point in saying this, is find what works best for you, practice with it and stick to it. Race day is not the time to experiment with something new you bought at the expo. be sure to practice with race day fuel on your long runs, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. keep in mind there are different brands of chews, blocks, and GU’s out there, so just because one doesn’t work doesn’t mean you should count them all out. Some people prefer to eat good old gummi bears or hard candy and that’s fine, too.

Also, timing is important as well. I have learned the hard way that i need 45 minutes to an hour to digest my breakfast before I can run or I get major side cramps, every. single. time. Also timing on runs, knowing what miles to take your fuel (what works best you YOU) is equally as important.

Also find out form the race director what kind of sports drink and fuel will be on the course, and try some at home to make sure it does ok with you stomach.


Go ahead and experiment, so that you will be prepared on race day to have a great run and not have to worry or fuss with wen or how you are going to fuel!

QOTD: What is your favorite pre or mid run fuel?

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  1. I really like shot blocks (margarita and cran-razz) and sports beans. Both sit really well with me!

  2. Pre-run I have cereal like Cheerios or Rice Krispies then a bagel or English muffin with peanut butter, then during my running I like Honey Stinger chews. I tried different brands of gels and couldn’t the consistency.

  3. Good topic! I’m really struggling with this at the moment – it’s also great to see that you take a gu every 3 miles. I thought I needed one every 5-6 miles,but I am so wrong. My body wants to burn it all NOW!

    Let us know when you find other things that really work for you too!

  4. I like GU but be careful of the GU with Roctane. I have a sensitive stomach and it kills my stomach on runs. Have you tried the Stinger waffle. I have one during really long runs. It does help.I agree timing is everything with the GU or what ever you use!!! BTW what is amino acids?

  5. GREAT POST!! I have been playing with fuel while preparing for my full marathon and it is such a learning curve! Still working on figuring it all out!

  6. I’m so glad you’ve figured it out for yourself! That’s great!!! It’s seriously a big experiment! I’m obsessed w fitmixer amino!!! Have a great day! Spa <3

  7. Pre run is a 1/2 BP&J. then it’s nuun and sport beans during the run. I usually eat a 1/2 pack at 4, 8, and 12 miles of a half.

  8. Great post! Running longer and longer and I know I may need something other than my Clif Shot Blocks and Gatorade Water to get me through!

  9. So true that different foods and timing work for different people. And I think our needs really change over time, too. It takes so much trial and error!

    It’s funny how you said more Gu works for you during races. I felt a lot better when I dropped from 2 Gus during 1/2s to 1. Glad you found what works best for you!

  10. Im not a runner so I dont really need fuel THAT way, but I do need something during soccer games!! usually its a banana, otherwise I get cramped up and my belly starts to hurt.

  11. I love Honey Stinger Engergy Chews (pink lemonade!). I unfortunately don’t like bananas, but I never thought of having a peanut butter sandwich DURING a long run…I don’t have a very sensitive stomach so that may work for me, I’m definitely going to try it!

  12. I just mix a bit of maltodextrin in water and call it good 🙂

  13. Pre run – banana {only when I run farther than 10 miles}
    During rung – GU chomps or jelly beans – one chomp or three jelly beans every 2-3 miles and with water. {sounds funny, but it works for me!}
    Post run – banana and chocolate milk followed by water

    I agree that you have to practice and find out what works for you!!

  14. last time i did pre-run on Saturday morning, i gobbled up 1 boiled egg 10 min before.. i almost threw up at 4mi turn.. yuk..

    I will try to wake up little early to consume food and give myself plenty of time to digest before run but for the refuel DURING the run.. how do you carry all these food and drink on you? my arms get tired of carrying one 8oz bottle of water and my Blackberry (for Runtastic app.) And i can’t even drink water while running without pouring it on my nose.. gosh..

    sorry too many question.. i just picked up running.. 🙂

  15. Actually, fueling up has been a non-issue for me just starting out. But as I increase my mileage, I’m getting paranoid by the minute. As far as eating during the a run I’m completely ignorant. And I mean completely.lol Chomps? Sounds like a dog. Nuun? Is that like a regular nun but taller? There is just so much stuff out there! I have no idea where to start. I didn’t even know what GU was until I clicked on your link.

  16. Julie @ Sweetlybalanced says:

    Thanks!! This is a great topic! I only started running longer distances this year and for my first half marathon I didn’t really eat anything. By the end f the race I though I was going to fall over so I want to start learning to take things while I’m running for some extra energy.

  17. I love my oatmeal protein muffin tops for pre-run fuel 🙂

  18. Gu is definitely the best for me! I LOVE the new peanut butter gu, as well as jet blackberry, chocolate, vanilla… I take one every 4 miles for long runs/races. During races, I also drink sports drink at each water stop (I carry my own water for between). I prefer powerade or gatorade (lately, I’ve been stopping to buy gatorade at 7-11 during my long runs). I tried cytomax during RnR LA without trying it before and it gave me the worst gutache ever. Bleh.

    For the DL half, I ate a pb sandwich and banana a couple hours before the race, and then took a jet blackberry GU (2x caffeine) in the corrals right before the race started and felt FANTASTIC. I think this will be my new strategy.

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