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Long run -eating
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I’m beginning to up my long run (2hours +). Can anyone give me some actual advice on when to eat?

When I google it RW says runs of 75min or more should be fuelled, but then when asked on another forum (not running specific) they cam back with after 2hours.

What’s the actual science say?
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Are your long runs easy or are you mixing in quicker pacing?

I don’t have any issues running 2 hours easy fasted sometimes with coffee prior.

It’s going to be trial and error figuring out what works for you. General rule of thumb has been every 5 miles or 30 mins for something longer than 90 mins.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Personally I'm going to carry two gels for a 2 hour run. I'll take one between 45-60 min and the other around 90 min (if needed. I don't always need it).
This will depend if you are drinking water or something with calories also.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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I tend to think differently, and use my long run to practice my race nutrition strategy. I could do fasted / semi fasted, but I don't.

So this applies to my weekly 'long' run which does vary in length. I do a 16km/10km AM/PM day on a tuesday that I don't call a long run, but then the Sunday run is the 'long one'. That can be as short as 18km off season, or in a week following an event, or up to 33km. So anything from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Don't over think this. Easting is important for race day, so practice. So for me that's simply a case of some gu-chomps and a gel every half hour.
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Re: Long run -eating [Duncan74] [ In reply to ]
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Duncan74 wrote:
I tend to think differently, and use my long run to practice my race nutrition strategy. I could do fasted / semi fasted, but I don't.

So this applies to my weekly 'long' run which does vary in length. I do a 16km/10km AM/PM day on a tuesday that I don't call a long run, but then the Sunday run is the 'long one'. That can be as short as 18km off season, or in a week following an event, or up to 33km. So anything from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Don't over think this. Easting is important for race day, so practice. So for me that's simply a case of some gu-chomps and a gel every half hour.

^ this - opportunity to test and train you race nutrition
also, while I can run 2-3 hours on water only, it will deplete glycogen and hurt my recovery and training for the next few days; so there's really not point in it
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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There are two sides to long run nutrition.

My feeling is that the majority of them should be with as little food as possible. You should be able to go 2+ hours or 18 miles without any calories if you are eating enough the day before. This also trains your body to use less fuel.

But, you also need to train with gels to get your system used to them. It can be beneficial to overload your body a bit on a long run or two to simulate race gut. Take one every 30 minutes for a 2-2.5 hour run.

FWIW, I did a reasonably hard 3 hour run yesterday on one gel and about 10 oz of water (it was around 50 degrees so not hot). I'll often go 18 without gels and about 50/50 on a 20 miler.

speedySTATES
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Trial and error.

I'd take a few gels or a sleeve of blocks or chews with me. Pop some about 1:10-1:30 into the run see what happens. Personally when I was doing long runs up to ~ 2:40 I'd have a clif bar with my morning tea and head out. Pop some blocks about 1:15 and again at 2h and call it good. Usually that worked now and then I was really thinking I could use a pepsi near the end.

As for practicing your race nutrition on long runs, sure that's fine once in a bit. Just remember race day is a different ballgame. You're starting the run dehydrated which should mean your first thought is to your stomach osmolality. It's an apples to oranges type of thing.

Your stomach is going to typically be much more tolerant of whatever you throw in it on your long run vs race day.

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Re: Long run -eating [fartleker] [ In reply to ]
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From everything I read/heard (and I'm not claiming to be an expert), there's very small benefit to "running low" to train for fat burning.
Its really a lot more about the intensity being low so that your body doesn't switch to burning carbs (its a continuum not an on/off, but it becomes steep towards carbs very quickly).

So I would argue that the benefits of training race nutrition and not going into metabolic hole outweigh the fat burning training. But again, just my 2c, not an expert.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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We're not robots, so it depends.

I always do my long run less than 2 hours after eating my breakfast (oatmeal, fruit, coffee, kefir), so I'm still digesting a bit.
I'll have a piece of nutrition about 60-75min in like a package of shot blocks, or a Lara bar.

I did a 6 hour trail run last year and did 1-2 pieces of nutrition per hour. Some people can take in a lot more, but I'm relatively light (142lbs) and my stomach can't take it.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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I've been doing a few long trail runs over the past few weekends- 2-3 hours, largely in mid Z2 with a couple short pushes up hill (so nothing too intense). Running can be tricky because I find that my body stops metabolizing calories or liquid once I start running at threshold, which leaves me prone to side-stitching (especially on steep downhills). But on the flipside, I have no problems eating a lot of solid food at those lower intensities (I did a self supported 40 mile ultra last year with the same approach).

I much prefer to fuel with real food (e.g. bars, nuts, trail mix, etc.) than gels and drink mix when I have the chance regardless of sport (races I will use the sports nutrition to max performance). On long Z2 runs, I like to combine quicker digesting carbs with slower digesting fat, which I find gives me sustainable energy and helps me continue to burn fat and not carbs. Some of my go to foods are Nature's Bakery fig bars, Belvitas, or clif kids for easier digesting carbs, RX, clif, or larabars for medium digesting fat + carbs, and kind bars or Costco's cashew clusters for slower digesting fats. I try to take a bite of a bar every 10-15 mins and alternate the slower digesting with faster digesting. In total, I'll aim for about 200-250 calories per hour (or ~1 of these bars), which I find keeps me satiated with just a little bit of hunger. It's less of an issue in the winter, but I will try to follow-up each bite of a bar with some water with unflavored electrolyte drink. In cold temps, I drink probably 250ml/hour, but will aim for as much as 3x that in the hot and humid summers we get in the south. Last weekend, I felt like I could've kept running all day, even after 3 hours and 2500ft of elevation gained. Legs had no problem turning around for 2 hours total at 90-92% FTP on the bike the following day.

I have found as well that running goes much better when I don't fuel too much before, as I don't like food bouncing around in my stomach (and it makes it easier to eat more while running to lightly fuel before). The last couple weekends, I have eaten a bagel or artisan roll with cottage cheese and berries + a banana, for about 300-400 calories total an hour before I start running. The harder I am going to run, the less and further out I want to eat from the start of the race.

That's not to say what I do is perfect by any means, it's just what works well for me. I know that I tend to gravitate towards real food much more than other people, but to be honest I just don't like gels and drink mix and much prefer to eat RX bars and clif bars (the iced gingerbread clif kid's bar is heavenly btw). I also find that eating more balanced provides me with longer lasting energy and that I naturally eat fewer calories, compared to the science of 60-90g carbs/hour. Now that said, I'm going to experiment with pushing up my carb intake through race nutrition in advance of my 70.3 and long cycling races later this year.
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Re: Long run -eating [dgutstadt] [ In reply to ]
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dgutstadt wrote:
Duncan74 wrote:
I tend to think differently, and use my long run to practice my race nutrition strategy. I could do fasted / semi fasted, but I don't.

So this applies to my weekly 'long' run which does vary in length. I do a 16km/10km AM/PM day on a tuesday that I don't call a long run, but then the Sunday run is the 'long one'. That can be as short as 18km off season, or in a week following an event, or up to 33km. So anything from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Don't over think this. Easting is important for race day, so practice. So for me that's simply a case of some gu-chomps and a gel every half hour.

^ this - opportunity to test and train you race nutrition
also, while I can run 2-3 hours on water only, it will deplete glycogen and hurt my recovery and training for the next few days; so there's really not point in it

I'm going to chime in and add a +1 for this approach. I'll bring 400 cals of drink mix and 3 gels over the course of a 2-2.5 hr run. Two reasons I do this:
-Prepare my stomach for race day in terms of how quickly I can absorb calories
-not feel absolutely bonked afterwards and the next day. I'm a parent of 2 young kids and I'd like to both be functionally present afterwards and be able to execute another run or bike the next day.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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On a long run I just bring enough gels to consume one every 30 minutes +1 in case I feel like crxp.

So for 2 hours I bring 4 but probably consume 3.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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When my training runs get up over 2 hours, I carry along some food (gummies, potato chips, shot blocks, whatever). If the run is only going to be a little over a couple hours, I hold off on eating until later (because sometimes I find that don't need to eat). If I know for sure that I'm going to be out 3-4 hours, I'll start taking in calories (smaller doses) earlier and more often, because I know that I will need those calories, and my body won't want to process a bunch later on.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Herdwickmatt wrote:
I’m beginning to up my long run (2hours +). Can anyone give me some actual advice on when to eat?

When I google it RW says runs of 75min or more should be fuelled, but then when asked on another forum (not running specific) they cam back with after 2hours.

What’s the actual science say?

Depends on the intensity of the run and the number of carbs in the gel.

For easy pace I don’t bother, but for moderate or harder paced long runs I might take 23g every 30mins. I tried every 20 but it was too much for me to keep consuming over 2h+
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Re: Long run -eating [timbasile] [ In reply to ]
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timbasile wrote:
-not feel absolutely bonked afterwards and the next day. I'm a parent of 2 young kids and I'd like to both be functionally present afterwards and be able to execute another run or bike the next day.

That's a good point I have 3 kids under 6 who are.....active. Its rare (impossible) to get home after a run and get to flop on the sofa.

Lot's of food for thought here, I think based on responses, it's a personal thing. It's interesting I posted a similar thing on a British climbing forum (but also frequented by lots of hillrunners) and I think the feeling there was majoritively don't eat, whereas here I think it's maybe pushing towards eat/gels.

Can anyone point me towards any good reading on this?
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Just a point, there's also some consideration of the 'people' bias there. Here, there's a mix, but biased towards the FOP/MOP multisport with a bias for strong cyclists* and with some degree of OCD re training - The russian from Rocky 5 would be laughed off this forum for being so lax with his training regime.

As opposed to a UK fell running forum, where they are still undecided on using rubber soles and not hobnailed boots, hydration is a cup of tea boiled on an open fire back in the hut, and they have a body morphology medically classified as 'gollum'. If they ate a chomp you'd be able to see the lump as it moved through their body for the next 8 hours.

My point being, different things, different people.

Regarding the reading, Angela Bean's Guide to Sports Nutrition is a great first book that doesn't just cover this, it covers pretty much the full range of sports nutrition as you'll need, covers some of the discussions / styles / myths too, so you can understand why people go for them, and why others oppose them.

One other question from me. Why wouldn't you want to eat? As in what's your goal from your training, as based on my approach to balance and sustainability in training then eating sensibly before, during and after is important. And to get to 'race weight' it's not what I do when training, it's little tweaks at other times in the week.





*suspicion, Dan may have the data, but my guess is this based on the forum discussions.
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Re: Long run -eating [Duncan74] [ In reply to ]
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Duncan74 wrote:
Just a point, there's also some consideration of the 'people' bias there. Here, there's a mix, but biased towards the FOP/MOP multisport with a bias for strong cyclists* and with some degree of OCD re training - The russian from Rocky 5 would be laughed off this forum for being so lax with his training regime.

As opposed to a UK fell running forum, where they are still undecided on using rubber soles and not hobnailed boots, hydration is a cup of tea boiled on an open fire back in the hut, and they have a body morphology medically classified as 'gollum'. If they ate a chomp you'd be able to see the lump as it moved through their body for the next 8 hours.

My point being, different things, different people.

Regarding the reading, Angela Bean's Guide to Sports Nutrition is a great first book that doesn't just cover this, it covers pretty much the full range of sports nutrition as you'll need, covers some of the discussions / styles / myths too, so you can understand why people go for them, and why others oppose them.

One other question from me. Why wouldn't you want to eat? As in what's your goal from your training, as based on my approach to balance and sustainability in training then eating sensibly before, during and after is important. And to get to 'race weight' it's not what I do when training, it's little tweaks at other times in the week.





*suspicion, Dan may have the data, but my guess is this based on the forum discussions.

Very drole!


...But Drago was Rocky IV.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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For a slow/steady training run longer than 1.5 hrs I steal some of my kid's welch's fruit snacks. The little snack packs have around 12 fruit gummies in them, I'll usually eat half a package at a time. Two little packets are more than enough for 2 hrs.

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Re: Long run -eating [surroundhound] [ In reply to ]
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Haha! I use the same Welch’s fruit snacks on my long runs!
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Typically nothing for 2 hours, maybe water if it's really hot (90F+). If I'm getting ready for a race then I'll practice/test my race day nutrition plan a couple times. Everyone is different though and I've been running long distances for a while so my body is probably more adapt to the training than someone new to the sport.
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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On my last long run, which was 18.5 miles and 2.5 hours, I burned 1,800 calories. I started right after a breakfast that consisted of a bagel and a yogurt, then I ate a Gu every 40-45 minutes, which is about 400 calories total. I got another 300 or so from Gatorade. I can handle Gatorade and Gu together so long as I'm going slow. In a race, I'll take Gu with water. I got another 300 calories from an Infinit Recovery mix immediately after I finished. I did not replace all the burned calories, but got a decent chunk of them back during and right after the run.

My aim in any long run is to keep myself fueled so that I stay strong the whole run and hasten my recovery. I'm probably doing another workout the next day, so replenishing is important. I generally don't think about fueling while running until my runs approach two hours.
Last edited by: Changpao: Feb 2, 21 15:55
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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For me it depends on the intensity of your long runs. I can run for 2hrs at low intensity on a fasted state and no calories. But if I increase my intensity I start to bonk. I eat a gel and problem solved.

To get my stomach to used to gels I use them on my long brick runs which I do close to threshold. I treat long brick sessions as race simulation, including what I eat for breakfast and during exercise.

For this of you who want to eat something different than the typical breakfast or gel try Nooty, an almond butter with protein plus simple and complex carbs http://www.verynooty.com

http://www.verynooty.com
Last edited by: BigH: Feb 2, 21 16:46
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Herdwickmatt wrote:
I’m beginning to up my long run (2hours +). Can anyone give me some actual advice on when to eat?

When I google it RW says runs of 75min or more should be fuelled, but then when asked on another forum (not running specific) they cam back with after 2hours.

What’s the actual science say?

Everyone is different so it’s good to test out what your body prefers ... some can feel sick with food in the stomach and others can eat a pizza and whopper while running. Some ppl don’t like gels (like me), others live off it.

My strategy for 2+ hr runs is to carbo load the night before (esp for runs longer than 3+) and will also carry small snack bars .. protein, granola or snickers (my body is fine running and eating these). I also have a small bowl of yoghurt and muesli and can run pretty much half an hour after eating ... other times my body is fine with cookies, muffins etc.

Do you run with a vest? That makes it easier to carry food .. I tuck a banana in there, brownies, the fridge haha

If I do a long run on an empty stomach I bonk ... so have got to have my food intake and supply well organised.

(With the amount of food I eat, luckily my parents ... bless their hearts ... didn’t give me the fast twitch genes but gave me very good metabolism, so in no way would I encourage you to follow me if you are gaining 10 pounds doing so)
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Herdwickmatt wrote:
What’s the actual science say?

Actual science says: Way more carbs and sodium than virtually everyone here is mentioning.

Can totally get by on less for sure.

If you want to perform well, more is better.

desert dude wrote:
Trial and error.


Agree! But I think we can start higher than ~30g carbs per hour for optimal performance for 99.9% of athletes.

Hope the below helps a bit:


Dr. Alex Harrison, USAT-1, USATF-3, CSCS ----- PhD in Sport Physiology, Author, Product Designer
https://linktr.ee/DrAlexHarrison ----> Book, Calculator, Lifting, & Further Reading
Last edited by: DrAlexHarrison: Feb 2, 21 21:49
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Re: Long run -eating [Herdwickmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Dr. Alex Harrison, USAT-1, USATF-3, CSCS ----- PhD in Sport Physiology, Author, Product Designer
https://linktr.ee/DrAlexHarrison ----> Book, Calculator, Lifting, & Further Reading
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