Long Run Fuel

Today has been quite snacktastic and I wasn’t all that hungry by the time lunch rolled around. I knew I wanted something to eat, but couldn’t pinpoint a particular craving, so I figured a smoothie would be a good way to go.


I blended up the following:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 spoonful cashew butter
  • Almond milk

protein smoothie healthy

Dinner promises to be veggie packed thanks to another crock pot concoction.

crock pot beef stew

I’ll report back on that one in the morning!

Long Run Fuel

It’s almost here!

photo (3)

Tomorrow afternoon I’m heading to Amelia Island to run in the ZOOMA Florida Half Marathon on Saturday morning. I am starting to get really pumped! There’s a lot to be said for pre-race energy. I feel very anxious and excited and hope I can parlay these emotions into a successful race this weekend.

I initially planned to run this race with my sister, but a foot injury sidelined her training at the end of December. Her foot is feeling a bit better now, but I’ll be running solo on Saturday. That just means my playlist better be rockin’ to help keep me motivated! I’m planning to add a bunch of songs that you guys suggested to my half marathon playlist tonight and I’ll be sure to share it soon just in case you’re in the market for some new upbeat workout music.

Also, a few of you have asked me about my long runs and whether or not I take any fuel along with me. The answer is yes!

Gu Chomps

I am a big fan of Gu Chomps and Clif Shot Bloks. I’ve tried gels in the past, but they kind of gross me out. Gu Chomps are my favorite because they taste like grown up fruit snacks. I didn’t take any fuel with me on my runs until my runs started lasting more than an hour.

I actually didn’t use fuel at all during my first half marathon and once I started hopping on the fuel-train, I realized what a difference it made for me during my runs. Playing around with different forms of fuel during my runs helped me figure out which kinds worked best for me and my stomach.

Here are a couple of interesting links to websites with information about fueling your body on long runs:

Questions of the Afternoon

  • Have you ever trained for an endurance race? Did you use fuel?
  • If you use fuel during your longer workouts, what is your favorite kind? How often do you eat/drink it?


  1. says

    I got new fuel to try this weekend. I was not a fan of GU either. I got the jellybeans and shot blocks in strawberry! I hope they are good! Good luck in the half marathon!!


  2. says

    I highly recommend Honey Stinger (http://www.honeystinger.com/) for fueling. It’s so sweet (it tastes exactly like honey) but if gives you enough natural goodness to boost your run. They also have super-tasty energy chews that are even better than GU Chomps, if you can believe it. Anyway, they saved my butt during a marathon this fall when GU started giving me stomach aches. Good luck this weekend!!


      • Steph says

        I was going to recommend the same thing. I am not a fan of the Honey Stinger gels (too sweet for me), but I absolutely love the chews. They taste much more natural than the chomps and are significantly easier on my stomach. The waffles are really good too, if you are ever running a longer race/triathlon and looking for a more solid food.


  3. Amanda says

    I also use fuel for runs over an hour. I used to use the shot blox, but found I had trouble breathing because I was working on getting them unstuck from my teeth! I now LOVE the vanilla flavored Gu – it tastes like icing!!


  4. says

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve tried the gels in the past too and didn’t really care for them, though I still used them if desperate. I’m just about to start my training for my second half marathon soon so I’ll keep both of these other options in mind.


  5. says

    Thanks for letting us in on what you use!
    I just did 13.1 today (and even when I’ve done it in the past), I’ve never used any fuel. I’m quite new and clueless so not sure where to start on all this type of stuff!

    Happy Running on Saturday – exciting 😀


  6. Jenn says

    I only eat the Vanilla and Chocolate GU because they taste like frosting! I also eat the Shot Bloks in Cherry and Fruit Punch. I’ll eat three bloks before my run and eat a gel or 3 more bloks every 5-7 miles.

    Good luck in the half – my BF is stationed with the Navy in Florida and lives a few miles from Amelia Beach. I loooooove it there!


  7. says

    I completed my first half-marathon this summer, and my endurance event of choice is a triathlon. 🙂 When I trained for my 13.1, I used GU gels, which worked well. I totally get why gels don’t sit well with some, but personally, I can’t fathom chewing/”eating” something during a run. For triathlons, I slam a GU about 15 minutes before the race starts (espresso love is delicious!) and stick to water during the event. Have a good race this weekend, Julie! 🙂


  8. says

    For longer races I go with Shot Bloks, too. They’re the perfect consistency, and seem to fuel the best. Can’t wait for another crock pot meal! You’re using that thing like crazy! haha!


  9. says

    I’m not the biggest fan of GU either, but they it’s the easiest thing for me to fuel with on long runs. I’m almost finished training for my first full marathon so I don’t want to change up fueling right now, but I think I’ll try the GU chomps for longer runs after the marathon. (assuming I can still run!) 😉


  10. says

    Those looks look great and I’m checking them out. Whenever I do training runs I never fuel. I’m not sure why but I don’t – no water or food. My stomach is finicky and it’s not worth it to me for a practice run. The half marathon I ran last year I did use a gu gel around mile 6 or 7. I wasn’t practicing any runs really over 8 miles, since I have been I’m not sure if I will both during the race in March!


  11. Amber says

    I have done a plethoria of endurance races, including a 140.6 Ironman, and a handful of marathons. The best fuel I have found is Perpetuem by Hammer Nutrition (www.hammernutrition.com). It’s gluten free, vegan friendly and very easy on the belly (best stuff I’ve found to prevent “gut rot”). Because Perpetuem does not contain the all eletrolytes you need during endurance racing, I use Endurolytes (also a Hammer Nutrition product) for electrolyte replacement. I use both every 30 minutes while racing. I use just water as hydration every 20-30 minutes depending on how hot/humid the weather is. I wish you the best this weekend, Julie!!


  12. says

    BEST OF LUCK IN YOUR HALF MARATHON! I’m excited for you! I totally agree with fueling during races. I never really thought it was that important but Sunday I ran the Houston marathon and chose only to drink Gatorade and take gels (I really like them) and I PRed by 30 minutes to run 3:15. It was well worth it. Again good luck!!! You’ve trained hard so go get em 🙂


  13. Caitlin says

    I used to use SportBeans too, but I don’t think my body metabolized them fast enough for me to really reap the benefits. I switched to Gu for my first marathon and developed a particular nausea for the peanut butter flavor! (Think 90 degree heat and dehydration. Gu is best when cold!) I’m thinking about trying the Chomps this time around.


  14. says

    I’ve never used snacks while I run, the longest distance I’ve ever gone is 16km. I cramp so easily so I think I’d find it hard to find something that suits me! Did it take you long to figure it out? Would you usually cramp easily if you ate the wrong food before hand? I’m prone to cramps even on an empty tummy, nightmare!


  15. SarahB says

    I like the jelly bean things they sell at Dick’s Sporting Good’s. My husband and I call them “magic beans” 🙂 I like them because I can eat just a few every mile or so and they don’t ever melt or get my clothes/fingers sticky.


  16. says

    I tried different forms of fuel while training for my first half, but ended up not having anything besides water/gatorade during the actual race. I actually hate eating anything on long runs and have still yet to find anything that doesn’t upset my stomach while running. I hope next time I train for something I will be able to find a method that works for me since I know it is way better for performance to fuel when running longer than a certain distance!


  17. says

    I don’t usually eat anything during long runs, races or training. I do usually eat a few swedish fish right before my cross country races and I would be interested to see what would happen if I tried them around mile 10 of my half marathons this summer, but we’ll see!


  18. says

    I’m really bad about fueling up during long runs. Everything seems to make my stomach turn besides Gatorade, but that gets annoying to carry. I have tried GU (gross) and Shot Bloks but both just sat in my gut. Maybe I will try the GU Chomps, I need to find something I can work with before my marathon!


  19. says

    wohoo good luck!! I cannot eat while I run, I tried shot blocks during one of my 1/2 marathons and I wanted to throw up, I also didn’t drink anything while running because I can never get water into my mouth with the cups provided so I was SO thirsty by the end!


  20. says

    Hope you have a good run Saturday! I am a big fan of Gu Chomps as well. I really hate the consistency of gels. I’ve tried Clif Shot Bloks and Honey Stinger bites as well and they are good too.


  21. says

    i can safely do a 1/2 without anything but a sip or 2 of water. i ran my first full marathon this past fall and i made sure to fuel along the way. i started around the 6-7 mile point and i honestly just brought a few of my kid’s fruit snacks. it worked great. i drank a mix of water and whatever the “ade” was at the stations provided. they also handed out oranges/bananas and jolly ranchers along the route too. i took a few of those. the jolly ranchers were great. they gave me some mouth entertainment for a while. good luck this weekend. i just found your blog last night and i love it.


  22. says

    The shot blocks are awesome! I’ve also been using the jelly beans, though they give me some nasty sores in my mouth. I agree that using fuel makes a HUGE difference. Good luck Saturday!!


  23. Jenna MacDonell says

    Good luck on the half!! I ran my first along Lake Shore in Chicago last Saturday and had a blast, even despite the cold, wind, and injured hip! I have never tried using fuel on any of my long runs, but I think I’m going to try next time. Thanks, as always, for the wonderful info! 🙂


  24. says

    I generally use Shot Blocks for anything over 6 or 7 miles. I can’t do the Gu…too snot like in its consistency 🙂 I have brought half a banana for a 30k, but when I ran a marathon I found that trying to ingest anything past the 20 mile point made me very nauseated.


  25. says

    Aw, wish I was running that half marathon. I wanted to though. And I could’ve ran it with you!
    My half marathon is exactly 1 month from today! Eeek! Bring it!!!
    I like the espresso Gu because it tastes like coffee (obviously) so it doesn’t gross me out.
    I usually refuel around mile 6 then around mile 10 or 11 to give me that last bit of energy to kick butt to the finish line!
    Have fun running!


  26. says

    Oh my goodness I definitely use fuel! I think deep down a lot of women don’t or use too little because they want to save calories, but I learned that’s not worth it if you care about your performance and enjoying the run!


  27. says

    Good luck this weekend Julie! You are going to kill it. For my long runs and half marathon my favorite fuel was also the shot blocks, in margarita flavor. They’re the best!!!! I also liked the expresso flavor gel. I woke up early the morning of my race and drank a bottle of water and ate a piece of peanut butter toast with banana to give me some energy. I kept the blocks in my pockets and ate two every 4 miles. I also made sure to stop at the water stations as I felt like I needed it. I didn’t want to drink so much that I would have to go to the bathroom but I also didn’t want to cramp up.


  28. says

    I’m not a long distance runner, but my husband is, and I taste tested all his stuff. My husband and I both agree with the grossness of the gel. Yuck! Our favorite things are the Sport Beans by Jelly Belly. They come in yummy flavors. The only bad thing is that you can bite yourself while running, which my husband did one time. 😉


  29. Heather says

    I am a minimalist when it comes to runs, unless I am on the treadmill. I fuel up before but never during, otherwise I typically feel sick. During a half marathon in training if I am out on the road I won’t take anything, in the gym just fluid. During my recent marathon – I took in sips of Powerade that was provided and water at each station, half a banana and a full Gu. I know many would be horrified at that lack of what I take in during, but find my stomach reacts better the less I consume during the run. I am making changes to improve some things work and settle nice while others don’t – so I guess I am a work in progress there, but it has never hindered my performance.


  30. Shannon in Tustin says

    I’ve tried several brands of gels but found the Clif or Power Bar brands work best (caffeine-free works best when I’m running). I’ve also tried Shot Bloks but spent more time picking them out of my teeth and gums. BUT, my new favorite fuel for runs longer than 10 miles is Clif bars. I recently ran 23 miles (training for my first FULL) and started munching the Clif bar bites at mile 4 and then ate one piece every 2 miles after that. I cut the bar into six pieces and put it into a baggie (had to use two). The carb/protein/fat ratio of Clif bars is perfect in keeping the blood sugar levels up and avoids the big drops that the pure sugar gels often bring. I felt good throughout the whole run and am feeling great about my race in two weeks. Strangely not nervous (yet) and feeling like I’ve found the groove that can keep me going for 26.2!

    Good luck in your half and God bless! 🙂


  31. says

    I’ve never tried any fuel but was just sent a sample pack of GU gels from the company to try out. I am training for a mini so once my runs get longer I am going to try them out. I have a feeling I won’t like them though as most people would rather have the chews!


  32. says

    I don’t like GU either. I recently discovered shot blocs and absolutely love the strawberry flavor! The energy beans are good, too, but only eat one at a time – I made the mistake of shoving them all in my mouth at once and it was a disaster.


  33. says

    I really like the taste of the bloks and chomps but I can’t stand to chew on them while I run. I take GU but I have to do it sip by sip.

    There are these new things called “Stingers”. I haven’t tried them but they call them “waffles”. They are all natural. I’ve never tried them but I hear good things.


  34. says

    I didn’t realize that GU had a version of gummies…I am obsessed with GU energy gels but I don’t love the consistency. I usually alternate between the vanilla, mint chocolate or peanut butter, but now that I know GU makes gummies I’m definitely going to check them out. Thank you for sharing what you fuel with!

    Good luck in the Zooma Florida Half Marathon! I can’t wait to read your race recap!


  35. says

    Good luck!! I usually take 2-4 GUs when running a full marathon and 1-2 for a half! I’m all about some peanut butter GUs–you should check them out tastes just like the real deal 🙂


  36. says

    It seems like a good idea to fuel during long runs, and although I haven’t trained for a marathon yet, I would like to try those products. However, I get realllllyyyy scared just thinking about how I might be cramping up! 0_0 I get indigestion quite easily and the thought of eating anything is kind of intimidating, haha. So do you feel completely fine when you pop those in? Or do you cramp temporarily?


    • says

      i TOTALLY know what you mean. i cramp up SO easily. i actually only take a few gu chomps at a time… by spreading them out a bit i think my body handles them better than eating them all at once. definitely play around though to see what works best for you.


  37. Katie says

    Good luck on your run!! I’m sure you will do awesome! I just finished my first full at Disney world this past weekend! I like the gu but want to try the adult fruit snacks. Yummmm


  38. Leah says

    Julie, is there a certain mile in the race you always use the fuel or just when you feel you need it? I’m running my first half marathon this September and might need to try these out at some point! Thanks for the suggestions!


  39. says

    Hey there! Power makes a gel/chewy thing that is pretty yummy! I want to try the ones you posted though!

    I have a question, I am running my first half marathon in about 2 years at the beginning of March. I have run 2 before, so I know what to expect but I have always had an issue with what is best to eat the night before and the morning of, right before the race. Do you have any suggestions? Would love to hear them!
    Thanks girl! 🙂


  40. Kelsey says

    I’ve s
    Done the Dallas Rock and Roll, Houston and Bryan/College Station halves. I loke the jelly beans, but really want to try something new to reinvigorate my running. Definitely agree with you on the Gels being gross. It’s hard getting them down! Good luck this weekend!


  41. Rachel says

    I love ShotBlocks. Taste like candy. Gu’s make me feel like a dog eating peanut butter. I just can’t do it. But for any workout that’s longer than an hour I like ShotBlocks.


  42. Dee says

    My all time favorite fuel is strawberry gu chomps! I gave shot bloks a try, but they make me burp up an unpleasant aftertaste! And the gu gels were just too slimy and gross for me to handle! I typically fuel for runs longer than 13 miles, but if I’m really low energy, I’ll fuel during my halfs around miles 3- 4, 7, and 10! Half marathons I’ll pack one pack of chomps and end with 2 remaining; for fulls, I pack 2 packs and again, for some weird reason(!) end with 2 chomps 🙂


  43. Melissa says

    During the one and only (so far-there will be more) half marathon I have done, I used jelly beans (sour jelly bellys) and those Nike sport chews (like gummy chews). I just can’t bring myself to do the Gu’s – they kinda gross me out. I am not a big fan of gummy things either though – but these were ok. I have to go to a sports store tonight, might look at the GU Chomps to see if any of those look appealing!


  44. Kara says

    Saw a few posts about Honey Stinger chews and just wanted to reiterate how awesome they are! They taste delicious, don’t stick to your teeth, are organic, and gluten free. Great company as well!!


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