Experimenting With Running Nutrition

You should be trying new running nutrition strategies.

I had a seven mile run scheduled for yesterday afternoon, a medium length run according to my marathon training plan.  It occurred to me that I had left the house without a gel, and probably should take one on this run.  The rule of thumb is that you should be taking nutrition every 45 minutes.  This is, of course, a rule of thumb.  Every runner is different and needs a different nutrition strategy.  I have been using Crank Sports E-Gels for the last few years, and they seem to work for me, but after eating a couple hundred of these, I’m getting tired of the same flavors.

I had to drive by an outdoor sporting goods store, and it was a good opportunity for me to stop and grab nutrition.  Since I was already in there, I decided to grab several different ones to branch out a little. E-Gels are working, but maybe there is something that will work as good or better.

I ended up with half a dozen chews and gels from Clif.


Tinkering with your running nutrition is something you should be doing.

We all respond differently to different brands, flavors, textures, solids, liquids… on and on. The biggest mistake we see in our groups is not taking nutrition soon and often enough.  Our runners, especially those out there conquering those first half and full marathons, need to diligently work at finding the right nutrition strategy.  Go to a running store or outdoor outfitter.  Grab several brands off the shelf.  Make sure you grab more than one of each.  That first gel might be fine for you at 45 minutes, but the same gel might cause problems 90 minutes into the run.  Don’t mix up different nutrition while trying new ones, so you can figure out which one it was that sent you running for the bathroom.  Play with the timing of when you take nutrition to see what feels best for you.

Veteran runners, you are not exempt from this.  Our old nutrition strategies may not be working as we increase pacing or distance, or even simply as we age. Try something new, you may find something that works better.

A word of warning though – once you dial in your nutrition strategy for the race you are training for, don’t you dare think about changing it on race day.  When race is done, you can eat all those gels you scored at the race expo.

Footnote to this post:  Unbeknownst to me, my wife had written to the major nutrition manufacturers and said “Hey, we have a running club, would you like to send us some samples for our runners to try?”  Honey Stinger replied, “Sure, we will send you some samples.”  That night, after my run, I got home to a box at the front door from Honey Stinger.  A heavy box.


That’s 20 pounds of gels!  We are going to be sampling Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie for awhile.


Thanks, Honey Stinger! 


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