Long Run Nutrition

It is important to focus on consuming an adequate amount of carbohydrates, fluid and electrolytes to sustain long endurance exercise. Digestion is not our bodies’ top priority while pumping blood to our working leg muscles. Given this, we need carbohydrates that are easy to digest. We want to avoid fat, protein, and fiber because they slow the digestive process and can create an upset stomach.

Examples of simple carbs that digest well during a long run:

  • Dried fruit (apricots, raisins, dates, cherries)

  • Energy gels (GU, Clif shots)

  • Squeeze applesauce packet

  • Mushed banana

  • Pretzels

  • Salted boiled potatoes

  • Sports drinks—provides CHO and hydration

The timing of when to refuel is also integral for sustainability and performance. You want to beat exhaustion before it arises. Refueling before energy is depleted allows us to experience the maximum benefits from the calories consumed.

When to refuel & how much?

  • Less than 75 minutes: NO fuel necessary

  • 75 minutes to 3 hours: 30 to 60 grams of CHO per hour

  • 90 minutes to 3 hours++: 30 to 90 grams of CHO per hour. Simple carbs are necessary for optimal performance. The amount of carbs depends on the person (very individualized).

Are you a runner with more questions and need guidance to establish a fueling plan that works best for you? Contact me if you want to maximize your performance.

Guest author: Ciana Bonfiglio


Hi, my name is Katelyn Greenleaf, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist

NuLeaf Nutrition strives to...

1. Provide scientifically-backed information to help athletes find a nutrition plan that fits their individual health/fitness goals.

2. Educate people in achieving optimal nutrition in attempts to prevent the development of chronic diseases. 

3. Improve total health by emphasizing balance in the diet and physical activity.

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