Any run under an hour, I don't run with anything but I do make a point to stay hydrated throughout the day and have a 24 ounce water bottle waiting when I finish. I will carry a small bottle of water on runs less than an hour if it is extra hot and/or humid. Over an hour I run with a belt that holds two 10 (I think) ounce water bottles and I carry Clif Shot Blocks and I'll eat 3 of them every 45 to 50 minutes. You are smart to experiment to find both the products and the timing that works best for you.
The block of granite which was an obstacle in the path of the weak becomes a steppingstone in the path of the strong. - Thomas Carlyle
You're smart for experimenting around. Everyone is different, but generally speaking, you don't need to fuel for runs less than an hour, but you should have water. Personally, I'll bring a gel with me for any run of 6 or more miles "just in case."
For distance runs of 1:15 or longer (I wear a fuel belt to carry everything): I take a gel at 45 minutes. For runs longer than 1:45, I'll take a gel or some sort of nutrition every 45 minutes. I also take an electrolyte tablet every hour, although I think I am not taking enough for really long runs of 15+ miles, as my legs start to cramp anywhere from 12 to 18 miles. Once you start running low on electrolytes, you can't keep running and expect to catch up. Like dehydration, it takes a few hours to replenish once you get past the too-low point.
I get tired of gels, so for runs of 2.5 or 3 hour or longer, I'll fill one of my 4 water bottles with a liquid supplement that also serves as nutrition (a Hammer Nutrition product called Sustained Energy). I will also break up a crunchy granola bar and eat that, or I'll stop at the mini mart and get a small bag of pretzels or crackers.
Whatever you do, just make sure to take in about 100-125 calories of carbs an hour, keep hydrated (I sip every 15 minutes or so), and take electrolytes in the form of tablets or a sports drink (make sure it has electrolytes, like Gatorade, and isn't just an energy drink, like Red Bull).
I hope this helped.
"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
Do you do it based on time/mileage? Do you just use water or do you add sports drinks and gels/gus/beans/etc?
I just recently started running distances where I'm out there for more than an hour. I got a fuel belt which I like, and I've tried it a couple times using water and Gatorade. I've also eaten a couple Sports Beans on these "long" runs. But do I really need the beans/Gatorade? Sure, I felt pretty good at the end of these runs, but I'm not sure 6 - 7 miles is long enough to justify refueling. Should I just be using water until I hit 10 miles+ ?
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