Natural Fuel for Runners


This past week I hit a local running store to get a water system and hat (my RHS has not been ideal) in preparation for my upcoming 10K. Just before I left, I paused in front of the array of GU and other energy products. I felt like I should get something for during-race fuel, but in the past I have just wanted to gag whenever I have tried these products.

However, it was clear from my latest longer training run (60 minutes) that I need something en route. I did that run without carrying anything (per usual) and in the last 10 minutes I was getting pretty thirsty and my energy was starting to flag. It was a good experiment and confirmed that for the 10K I needed to figure out fuel.

I’ll report back soon on the water system I bought (which I have to exchange for a different size before I try it out…I really should read labels better…), but meanwhile, I wanted to share this post I found on the best natural fuel for runners. I was THRILLED to find this article, given my aforementioned gag reflex to GU. The article shares everyday food recommendations (and scientific rationale…yay, science!) for fuel consumed 3-4 hours pre-run, 15-60 minutes pre-run, during the run, and post-run.

YAY. The recommended foods are not unusual given what I normally eat pre-run and I’m going to experiment over the next couple of weeks with during-run fuel.

Does GU make you gag or is it essential for your running fuel? What are your favorite pre-, during, and post-run fuels?

Image credit: (with text added by Christine Koh)


  1. Sarah aka MainlineMom /

    The first and only time I have tried GU so far it completely made me gag. So I chose to try jelly beans and chews/bloks instead. Unfortunately I don’t think my jelly beans were enough during my half marathon, so I’m going to try another flavor of GU this season. People tell me it was just the flavor I tried that didn’t work for me. We’ll see.

  2. Jamie /

    I’ve tried several flavors of gu and they all make me gag. I think its the consistency. at the point where i need energy I already have cotton mouth and adding GU to the mix…doesn’t do it for me.
    Oddly enough, GU with a Sour Patch Kids chaser usually get my saliva flowing a little more to get the GU down the hatch. They aren’t easy to bring along on a distance run though!!

  3. Amanda /

    Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms. Love them, use them. :)

  4. Van Vu /

    I tried gu during my first half marathon this weekend and it did not agree with my stomach. Thank you for posting this article. I am going to try packing honey next time!

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