Essential advice from runners and readers.


The Pack Rules: Eating and Drinking


Essential advice from runners and readers.

By Yishane Lee
Image by David Brinley

From the November 2008 issue of Runner's World


If you're heading out for an hour or more, you need some fuel at least 30 minutes before you run. "I generally go with the three-to-one carbs-to-protein ratio," says Anna Wood of New York City, who likes whole-grain cereal with milk. Carbs provide energy, and protein and just a little fat help it last. "Peanut butter settles well in my stomach, and since it is high in protein and fat, it provides lasting energy throughout long workouts," says Jenny Jensen of Redmond, Washington. Other favorite boosts are honey on toast, oatmeal, bananas and peanut butter, fruit and nuts, granola, and energy bars.

When I run, I plan out the snack I'm going to eat after I'm done." -Liz Lawrence Atasacadero, California


If you're rolling out of bed, not starving, and only going for a few miles, you probably don't need anything more than a few sips of whatever gets you going. "As an early morning runner, I rarely eat, but I always have several cups of coffee," says Erik Petersen of Eugene, Oregon. Good choice, since numerous studies have shown that caffeine boosts performance during exercise. Dennis Ang of Hong Kong likes a prerun Red Bull, while Jordan Paxhia of Brookline, Massachusetts, drinks Emergen-C. "If I run in the morning, a Diet Coke is a must!" says Lisa Allison of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.


You'll need to refuel on the run if you're going out for longer than 75 minutes (lebih sejam suku) "I carry jelly beans and water for runs over 13 miles (20km)," says Lisa Allison of Minnesota. Jane Cullis of Toronto prefers gummy bears, while Sarah Dreier of Appleton, Wisconsin, is a Swedish Fish fanatic. Like candy, GUs, Sport Beans, Shot Bloks, gels, and energy bars all provide easily accessible carbs. "Dried fruits and raw nuts add salt and sugar and they're calorically dense, so I don't have to carry many!" says Kristin Field of Corona, California.


For runs less than 45 minutes, water is enough. Hour-long runs require replenishing with carbs as well as electrolytes, and sports drinks do the trick. "I drink half water and half Gatorade," says Wendy Cohen of El Cajon, California. "I sip small amounts every 15 minutes." Eric Bubna of Andover, Minnesota, finds out what drink will be served at his upcoming races and practices with that. "It's important for your body to get used to it," he says. To go hands-free, use a fuel belt, stash bottles along your route before your run, or map a course that goes by water fountains or convenience stores.


Postexercise, aim to refuel within the "glycogen recovery window" of 30 to 60 minutes, says Len James of Savannah, Georgia. It's when your body most needs the nutrients in order to repair muscle tissue and replace glycogen stores. "I try to eat immediately after I run, usually a good mix of protein and carbs," says Christian Taylor of New Holland, Pennsylvania. Jack Genovese of Amherst, New York, likes pancakes and a Slim Fast. "I go with what I am craving, which is mostly carbs with a little fat and protein, like a smoothie with banana, berry, honey, and soymilk, and half of a tuna sandwich," says New York's Anna Wood. "Eating properly makes me functional for the remainder of the day," says Ricardo J. Salvador of Battle Creek, Michigan.

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