Tips for Proper Fueling


Glycogen stores generally sufficient for runs lasting under 60 minutes. However, training your body to eat prior to running is beneficial.

Most people tolerate carbohydrates well within the hour before a run.  Protein and fat take longer to digest and may cause cramping and should be consumed 2—4 hours prior to running.

Day before long runs/races: Keep it simple!

No new foods, drinks, exercises; graze throughout day to avoid over-eating in evening; avoid gassy foods( beans, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, high fiber, raw fruits and vegetables, bran cereals, nuts, seed, sugar substitutes, alcohol); have a bedtime snack.

Morning of long runs/races

Eat 1—4 hours before start, aiming for ~50 grams carb/hour before start; include protein and fat to feel satisfied longer; 16 oz fluid 2 hours before + 8 oz close to run as possible.

If you have 3-4 hours choose meal with carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

If you have 2 hours choose mini-meal with carbohydrate and protein.

If you have 1 hour choose fluids with carbohydrate.


Carbohydrate content of certain foods:

   Small 6 inch banana: 23 g

   1 cup of milk: 16g

   2/3 c granola: 42g

   8 oz fruit juice: 25-30g

   1 medium bagel: 40g

   8 oz fruit yogurt: 34g


Begin hydration within first 20 minutes of run. Aim for 2-8 “gulps” (ounces) of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes of run.


Drinking carbohydrate beverages during intense exercise (as well as before and after) may lessen effect of stress hormones on immune system.


Choose sports drinks with 6-8% carbohydrate concentration                                (14—19 grams per 8 oz serving) plus sodium.


Begin supplying carbohydrates within first 30 minutes if moving at      moderate to fast pace for 60—90 minutes or any run lasting more than 90—120 minutes. Aim for 30—60 grams carbohydrate for every hour.


In later stages of long runs (over 4 hrs) aim for 60 grams of carb/hour.


~30 grams carbohydrates:

     16 oz. sports drink

     3 shot blocks

     1 gel packet


If using gels, you need 6—8 oz. water chaser for each 100 calories. 

This will ensure proper concentration of carbohydrate in your system to minimize chance of stomach discomfort.

Proper hydration is imperative at all times…before, during, and after!   Dehydration can do a number on your GI system and is not immediately reversible. So stay on it!




The first 30 minutes following every training session is the MOST          important window to refuel for optimal recovery! This is when your cells will be most receptive to restocking glycogen stores, and your muscles are     hungry for fuel to repair tissues. Refueling properly will enhance future performance, decrease soreness, decrease risk of injury, and improve  immune function.

Refuel with fast (potatoes, rice grains) and slow (fruit and fruit juices)   release carbohydrates as well as a good protein source that also provides high amounts of Branch Chain Amino Acids (egg whites, lean meats).  This should be consumed in a 4:1 to 5:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein at 3/4  gram of carbohydrate per pound body weight in the recovery period. A liquid form may be more appealing.



Begin immediately, consuming 16 oz fluid for every pound lost during exercise. May need to increase to 150 % of what your weight says you lost.


Replenish Electrolytes

Sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium—critical for muscle     contraction and relaxation and for maintaining fluid balance/levels.

Fruit and fruit juices are good for replenishing everything except sodium.  2—3 pinches table salt will help if running in extreme heat, for longer than   4 hours, or sweating excessively.


Acid/Base Balance

Decrease acidity of body fluids to decrease risk of nitrogen and calcium loss from muscles and bones. Eating fruits and vegetables help lower acidity as they have a net alkalizing effect, thereby sparing muscle and bone!


I hope this is helpful!  Let me know if you have any questions.  I am having some technical difficulties, so please pardon the layout of this text!