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If you’ve ever failed to fuel properly before, during, or after a long run, then you’ve experienced the dreaded feeling of bonking. Not even the experienced runner is immune to the symptoms of depletion–light-headedness, fatigue, and even nausea–if she fails to adequately fuel her tank. No matter your level of running experience, avoiding the bonk is critical–not only so you can execute your run to plan, but also so you can accomplish whatever else is on your plate for the day.

Proper nutrition and hydration are important all the time, but never more so than when you’re in the midst of a marathon training block, since your body is constantly being depleted. Whether it’s an easy hour run or a three-hour long run, you need to take care to refuel and rehydrate each time. Here are some tips and tricks to stay hydrated and fueled before, during, and after your training runs this fall. 

  1. Eat something easily digestible before your run. In order to run your best on race day, you train hard for months with workouts and long runs. The same should be true for your nutrition and hydration strategy. Use training to find out what sources of calories work best for you. For a pre-race meal, test easily digestible options. Before a run of any length, try simple carbs such as oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, a banana, cereal or granola. Once you find what works, stick with it.
  2. Hydrate, especially before your long runs. It’s easier to stay hydrated during a long run when you start the run properly hydrated. The evening before a long run, consume 1 liter (33.8 ounces) of water with 500-1000 milligrams of sodium in the form of a powder, such as Liquid IV or LMNT. In the morning, consume another 0.5 liters (16.9 ounces) of water, with another 250-500 milligrams of sodium, 30-60 minutes before your run. 
  3. Practice race day fueling during your long run. Practice makes perfect. Just as you’ll practice race day pacing before race day, you should practice race day fueling before race day. The general rule of thumb is to consume roughly 200 calories per hour starting 30 minutes into your long run, along with 16 ounces of fluid and 500 milligrams of sodium. These are rough guidelines to get you started, and you’ll find the precise mix of calories, fluids and sodium that’s best for you, given the conditions. (For example, if you are a heavy sweater, or if it’s especially hot, you might need more fluids or sodium per hour to stay hydrated.) GU Energy’s Roctane Drink Mix is an easily digestible option, along with gels or chews. 
  4. Consume carbs and protein immediately after a run.In order to run your best day-in and day-out, it’s important to recover and refuel between runs. That process should start immediately after activity, and no matter the duration of your run. Carbohydrate and protein sources contain key nutrients to help rebuild your muscles and restore glycogen stores. Within 30 minutes after the completion of a run of any distance, nutrition experts recommend a 1:3 ratio of protein to carbohydrates, meaning 1 gram of protein for every 3 grams of carbs. This can be a snack after a short run, a small meal after a medium-long run, or a full-on feast after a long run. For example, fruit or bread with peanut butter, protein powder with milk, or a breakfast burrito. The important thing is timing: consume some form of carbohydrates and protein immediately after activity. 

As with marathon training in general, through consistency and repetition you’ll quickly find the best nutrition and hydration strategy for you. The important thing is to determine that plan and stick to it. When you do that, you’ll be able to train harder, recover quicker, and avoid the horrors of bonking.



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RePack simply reduces packaging trash and saves up to 80% of CO2 emissions compared to single-use packaging.
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