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Nutrition Guide - Road Running

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Nutrition Guide - Road Running

It is not a requirement to take on additional nutrition during a shorter distance race, it is purely dependant on the time you expect to be running for, and personal preference.

If you know you will be running for a longer period of time, or this is your 'A Race', then you might well benefit from in-race nutrition ensuring you hit the start line fully fuelled.

Pre-Race

Make sure you are hydrated, and fully fuelled ready to run, try a pre-loading strategy. Ideally, drink between breakfast race, sipping slowly and finish 45 minutes before race start. There are a number of energy drinks on the market that can be used as an effective pre-load. 

Start sipping, swilling and swallowing your energy drink anything up to four hours but no shorter than half an hour in advance of your run. The maximum benefit is obtained from drinking early, as the slower you sip-feed your fuel into your system the more time the body has to absorb it and maximise performance.

Preload Drink Mix with 500ml of water.

Another option is to take a gel at the start line, this has the added benefit of giving you a boost 15-25 minutes into your run. Ideal for shorter races when not fuelling during the race.

During

Time and distance dependant in-race nutrition may not be a requirement however if you are racing over an hour you may benefit from a boost. For example a 10k or half marathon with an expected finish time between 1h 30m - 2h 00m you would benefit from an energy gel after 1 hour (in-between 5 miles and 10 miles) that will help boost you to the finish line.

Also if you are racing a Half Marathon you would also see a benefit from a race fuelling strategy similar to a marathon.

Half Marathon & Marathon distance events

The key is to take fuel on from the start of the race, don't wait until it's too late!

Operating a strategy to consume 1 x Gel every 5-6km \ 3 - 5 miles or 20 - 35 minutes. This will see you taking on 5 - 7 gels total.

If you have had issues with energy gels before don't let this put you off, taking nutrition too late in a race can cause stomach distress, a drop in sodium can also have a similar effect. The Key is to fuel little and often from the start.

If you choose to opt for an energy gel based strategy then it's important to make sure you're also getting enough fluids/water. Sip water as you go to keep your fluids topped up.

See our other articles for a more in depth look at The Art of Staying Hydrated During Workouts.

Energy Gel Alternatives

If you are not keen on taking on energy gels then there are alternative fuelling methods. 

An alternative to a pure gel strategy is to take on your fuel via an energy drink. This is also a benefit for runners who suffer from gut/stomach issues when using gels.

You can also use gels and solid fuel types in combination with your energy drink fuelling.

Alternatively, there are a number of great sources of fuel made in a chew form - these are a direct replacement for gels however you will need to carry the packets and fuel as recommended.

Some great examples of energy chews are the Clif Bloks & PF 30 Energy Chews

 

Post-Race

It is crucial that you refuel as soon as possible after running a marathon, a combination of a recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing your event and some solid food.

Your post run cravings and treats will be high on your priority list but it's important to get yourself refuelled first to aid the recovery process.

And remember however no matter how good your recovery drink tastes to get the maximum benefit DO NOT drink it too quickly, savour the drink and your body will have more time to absorb it.

As this is post event your solid food can be anything and normally something you are craving. However, sometimes it isn't possible to access food straight away. This is where protein bars and recovery bars are the perfect solution and can be packed and ready in your post race kit bag.

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