You know, if the temperatures are nice, I’m ok with running up to 10 miles without bringing anything at all. BUT…. if it’s warm at all or I haven’t had a good carbo/protein snack an hour or so before I go, then I definitely would bring along whatever I felt I needed.
I wear a fuel belt that I bought on ebay a few weeks ago (I wore out my old one and just had to replace it.) It was pretty cheap – $13 it seems including shipping. I ordered the size small (my waist is 28 – 29 inches depending on the time of the month) but they sent me the size medium accidentally. I’m SO glad they messed up because the medium is perfect! I like that it doesn’t bounce like my old one. The small pocket is barely big enough for my keys, cell phone, a GU or some Shot Blox. It also came with this cute little flask for gels. I’ve never used one, but I read online that you can put your gels or GU in there add some water and then just drink from it as needed. I’m curious to give it a try and see if it’s worth the effort or not.
I use my Garmin’s “mile” beep to cue my walk breaks/drink breaks. During warm weather, I drink a sip or two at ever mile, then start running again. Now that the weather is colder, I drink about half as often. I carry a Nike ergonomic water bottle that I LOVE that holds 20 oz of Gatorade or Powerade. Here’s my water bottle if you’re curious:
I don’t like gels and sports beans are yummy but I thought they were overpriced and didn’t seem to feel as easy to digest as the Shot Blox. I usually take one or two shot blox (one – two squares) halfway through a long run. I bought my first GU a few weeks ago but haven’t needed to use it yet. I will probably try it on Friday or Saturday this week and let you know what i think. I ran my marathon last month without taking any gels or anything like that. I really did underfuel though since I was relying on Wayne to hand me the Gatorade and I only saw him every 2- 5 miles and took a few sips and handed the bottle back to him. It just wasn’t enough. I did take an orange slice after mile 21, but wish I’d asked for something more substantial at that point. Anyways.. I hit the wall and learned my lesson about keeping fueling as a high priority!!!
In general, if you are exercising more than 45 minutes, I’ve read you should take in some type of fuel. Several of my friends take gels every 45 min – every hour. I’d probably get nauseous if I ate that often on a run though (anything besides Gatorade, that is.) I’ve been thinking about trying cereal bars on my runs honestly! It sounds funny, but I like them, they’re cheap, pretty healthy and I “think” my stomach could handle them. I’ll let you know how it goes when I give it a try. I’m thinking of taking one an hour in and just drinking water or gatorade the rest of the time for say, a 10 – 15 miler.
Another thought is that hitting new distances OFTEN makes me feel exhausted during those runs. It seems pretty typical for me to feel like I’m dying each time I push the distance further and further until my body adjusts to it – regardless of the fuel I get.
So, listen to your body, hydrate, make sure you’ve had something to eat 90 minutes – a couple hours before you head out (a banana with a little peanut butter, a half peanut butter sandwich, peanut butter with crackers, a bagel, etc) and drink at least a full cup of water during that as well — and you’ll find yourself feeling pretty peppy on the run. I still take fuel after that, but find I don’t feel I’m bonking nearly as much if I plan ahead like that.
If you’re curious — here’s my Fuel Belt