figuring out fueling

We’re getting to that point.

The one where I need to start worrying about hydration and fuel during my run rather than after it.

This is where it’s going to get tough for me. I’m not sure how to juggle everything.

And, if we’re going to be honest, I hate the idea of a belt. Not just fuel belts. Any kind.

When I run, I go out with my ipod (in my sports bra), my phone (in my hand) and possibly my pepper spray (depending on time of day and where I’m going). I am comfortable with how that feels, and I worry that adding to the list is going to throw me off.

I am debating just carrying a reusable water bottle in my non-phone hand, at least for the time being. I guess it couldn’t be THAT annoying. Right?

On to energy supplements. I’m really stumped with this. I dislike jello and things that are slimy, so I’m having a hard time reconciling myself with something called “Gu” or “gel”. Are they really necessary? Or should I stick to some kind of energy jelly bean or Honey Stinger chews? Should I not even bother and just hope that I don’t need any energy in my longer runs?

It’s all so overwhelming and I need help sorting it all out.

So, what do you all recommend? Do I have to get over my belt issues or is a handheld bottle doable?

What energy supplement do you recommend I try? Any flavors that are better than others?

I place myself in your experienced hands!


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26 Responses to figuring out fueling

  1. Matilda says:

    I’ve tired running with a water bottle in my hand. Let me tell you I hated it. Also I’ve read many articles that state that they don’t recommend it for long runs, as it can cause you to go off balance.
    You could try a camelbak, I have one, and I use to use that (before I got a fuel belt), and that was great, but I found I got chaffing on one side of my neck (and from other runners, chaffing can be an issue).
    You could dump water bottles on your route (where you know where they are going to be), I personally have never done this, but I know people who have, and that works for them,
    I saw the other day and alternative to a split belt, it was like a band. It was totally cool, can’t think of the name, but when it comes to me I will let you know.
    I honestly thought I would hate a belt, but I got over my fears, and I use it. I only have a 2 bottle belt (as I plan on only ever doing a half, if I wanted to do a full, I would get a 4). If you know someone who has one, ask if you can borrow it, so you can try it out.

    As for energy gels. I’ve tired the gu, and endura. I like the endura better (they are australian brand), better tasting and not so thick.
    With Gu the flavours are up to you, I like the mint chocolate, cause it’s like a mint chocolate biscuit, but strawberry vanilla is bar far my fav, then prob vanilla bean.
    Matilda recently posted…New Shoes!My Profile

      • runswithpugs says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful response! I will see how I do with a camelback and then see if I need to upgrade. I’m still skeptical about drinking while running because of lack of bathrooms and I have a pretty weak bladder. And I don’t know about dropping off random bottles on my route – that seems like a lot of work, and then I would have to go back to pick up the empties?

        I’ll check out that belt as well! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
        runswithpugs recently posted…figuring out fuelingMy Profile

  2. Tammy says:

    You just have to try different things that work for you. I bought a belt and hated it- just bounced. LOL I have two handhelds and love them.
    The running stores will let you take back something if you don’t care for it.
    Energy gels are good too- again, trial and error to make sure they agree with you. You def. need hydration this time of year, way too hot without liquids.
    GNC at the outlets has GU gels. ~ Running stores have everything of course, just a bit farther to drive.
    Water stops along your route are good- but yes, you have to plan that one out. And pick up your trash. That’s too much work for me.
    A lot of times I have my liquids at a set point and keep coming back to that point. That works well.
    Good luck on your conquest!

    • runswithpugs says:

      I didn’t even know there WAS a GNC at the outlets! Where have I been??? I’m working up my courage to try, so I guess I’ll just get a couple different ones and hope for the best.

      Do you worry about tampering of your liquids, at all, if you leave them somewhere? I clearly watch way too many thrillers where these ideas get in my head LOL!

  3. I hated the idea of a belt, but I had to do it. I live in an area where people would not be happy about me leaving water bottles around and I absolutely can not stand to have anything in my hands. It throws me off balance. You already know I adore my iFitness belt.

    As for fuel, you really just have to keep trying things and seeing what works for you. I like the Sports Beans for a quick fuel. I eat about a pack per half marathon with 2 beans every few miles, or as needed. I have been trying gel after gel after gel and haven’t found one that I love yet (or one that hasn’t caused stomach issues…test when you’re close to your house just in case your stomach doesn’t agree). I got down the Peanut Butter GU last weekend, so that was some progress. I also carry gummy bears and/or Tootsie Rolls for a fast sugar boost during races. Sounds strange, but it works.

    Also, I never listen to “you should only need fuel after X miles/time”. I fuel when my body tells me “hey, we’re fading here. EAT SOMETHING”, which is usually anything over 4 miles, no matter how I fuel prior to my run.
    FiddleDeeAshley recently posted…Compression Shorts-Need Your Favorites!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oh, well. Tootsie Rolls are easy. I can do those all day long.

      My last big run was almost 5 miles and I wasn’t feeling like I needed anything, but I know, for sure, that water is going to be an issue at some point. My next long run is going to be 50 minutes and it’s summer in Florida, so I need to be safe.

  4. I have two answers – one for hot weather and one for when it’s nice out πŸ™‚

    When it’s hot, I always take water. Even if I’m only running two miles. Twice already this summer I’ve seen a paramedic crew tending to a runner that passed out while running on the sidewalk in my neighborhood. No matter the distance, I take water.

    When it’s not hot (like below 80), I don’t take anything if I’m running less than six miles. At six miles, I’ll probably take water (depending on the temp, I don’t usually need it when it’s really nice out, like below 70). I don’t take any sort of fuel unless I’m doing eight miles or more. I just don’t feel the need for it.

    When I do take fuel, it’s usually honey stinger chews. They taste good and are easy to get down. Gu makes me gag, I’ve tried a lot of them and they all make me gag. You can also use something like fruit snacks — for a long time I just took those and they worked just as well. With the chews, I’ll usually take four of them around mile four, then two at each mile after. It gives me something to do and seems to make it go by faster.
    Kristin Smith @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…Pre-School GraduationMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I was just chatting with my friend about this. So far, I really haven’t felt the need for extra water. I don’t know if it’s because I spend my life in a supbar state of hydration or my body just doesn’t use water the way it’s supposed to, but I just haven’t thought “Oh, I really, really need a drink.” The lack of available restrooms on my runs also holds me back, because having a full bladder is no way to run.

      Ah, gagging. Delightful. I’m back to the Tootsie Roll idea πŸ˜‰

  5. Courtney says:

    I use a FlipBelt for my runs if it’s not too hot. Doesn’t bounce and keeps all my gear. I recently reviewed one and have a discount code on my blog — check it out! We’re just about the point where I will start wearing my Nathan water belt. I have this one:

    Honestly, I think carrying things in your hand can be dangerous (i.e., if you trip, you may not use your hands to help brace your fall; it attracts attention to your phone, etc) and so I never do it. But you have to do what works for you. Regarding fuel, I just started trying out Clif’s Shot Blocks and I really like them! Good luck πŸ™‚
    Courtney recently posted…The prayin’ kindMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I will check it out! Thanks you!

      And that’s a good tip about the phone. I’ll see if I can find a different armband. I just gave the one I have to Mr PugRunner, because I hate it so.

  6. I HATE FUEL BELTS. They bounce and they’re annoying. But, I really hate carrying things in my hands, so for me, it’s the lesser of two evil and I use a fuel belt on long runs during the summer. Anything more than 5 miles and I can’t plan it around water fountains? Fuel belt.

    Also, I really like the Clif Shot Bloks and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. GU is kinda gross.
    Devon | the food bitch blog recently posted…Dry Rubbed Beef RoastMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Definitely no water fountains around where I run. At least, not that I’ve noticed.

      I bet Jelly Belly sport beans aren’t awful. I mean, they’re not chocolate, obviously, but Jelly Belly jelly beans are good so….

  7. I run with a reusable water bottle and it’s a little heavy in the beginning, but it’s definitely a necessity, especially in the FL heat and humidity, even at 6 am! I’m still figuring out fuel myself, but I think I am not a fan of any sort of gels, either. Honestly, I’ve seen people fuel with jelly beans, swedish fish, peanut m & m’s, sandwiches, anything that will give them some energy and power them through the rest of their workout. I think you just got to try things out! Never force yourself to do something that you think other people are doing though. If you’re not interested in gels, don’t use them!
    Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom recently posted…Dealing With DiscouragementMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      You had me at peanut m&ms!

      I try to keep things as simple as possible, but I don’t always make the best food choices (I don’t really care for most proteins, etc), so I want to be sure I’m doing this “right.” I’ve been having such a good time so far and I don’t want to muck it up by bad or underinformed decisions. Thanks for weighing in!
      runswithpugs recently posted…figuring out fuelingMy Profile

  8. I am looking into getting a water belt. I’ve training for 4 half marathons without one but now that I’m starting marathon training for the first time, I want to make sure I’m able to stay hydrated. It would drive me nuts to carry something in my hand.
    If you’re still not wanting to carry water but maybe want to carry your phone, iPod, fuel, etc, I would recommend looking into a flip belt. I love mine!! And yes, I highly recommend fuel for longer distances!! I hate the gels. Shot Blocks are my go-to fuel source.
    Alyssa @ See This Girl Run recently posted…I need a marathon training planMy Profile

  9. I agree with the tip on fuel belts.. you’ll find that you’ll like having your hands free from your iphone… or rather,you can use that free hand to hold a water bottle (if you’d rather not use a fuel belt/camelbak). Plus it can hold your ipod too if you want, and whatever fuel you’re using.

    I also say experiment. I like the idea of sports beans, they taste good.. but when I’m running, they make my tummy feel funny. My last run was with Clif Shot Bloks and my stomach handled those well, so I may stick with those.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes!
    Ari @ The Pace of it All recently posted…Latest addiction and too many treats…My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      The last thing I need is anything to make my stomach feel funny.

      My friend just gave me Shot Bloks and a Gu sample to try. I’ll tell you, Mr PugRunner and I made my Thanksgiving Turkey Preparing Face (you’ll have to wait til my annual Thanksgiving post to see exactly what I mean) while handling the Gu package, so we may just keep that around for a conversation piece. I just can’t see myself ingesting it.

      I’ll definitely report back when I’ve got myself sorted out!

  10. Tammy says:

    No- no worries about any one tampering with my stuff. Maybe I live in candyland- everyone is nice there. Baahaa
    I just leave my stuff right by by car. Never had an issue- been doing it for years. πŸ™‚

  11. Jaycie says:

    I Don’t like the slimy stuff either. The jelly beans are good. I honestly don’t eat anything, but then I’ve only gone as far as a half. I don’t drink either unless its during a race and I only take a few small sips bc I cramp easy. I just hydrate well the night before or all day if I’m going at night and then rehydrate after the run. I also eat a small amount of protein an hour before a long run. Peanut butter or a protein bar.

    • runswithpugs says:

      I’m starving after my longer runs, so I imagine it will only be a matter of time before I need something on the actual run. Great suggestion about really hydrating the night before. Thanks!

  12. We are a lot alike with the fueling. I don’t like gels, and I haven’t carried anything around my waist yet. I just purchased a Nathan Sports quickdraw water bottle that has the hand strap and a good size pocket. I used it on my 9 miler the other day and had my sport beans, phone and car key in the pocket. It was awesome. Also, I much prefer sport beans. Esp the multiracial or just the cherry flavor. Really good!

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