Natural Options for Fueling and Hydrating on the Run
The issue of fueling and hydrating on the run can be a tricky one. Apart from the dizzying array of sports drinks, powders, tablets, gels, chews and bars on the market, there is also the question of when and how much to take during a run. (You can read more on the latter two questions here). Or whether one should take anything at all? And while this post by no means aims to address all of these questions, it does attempt to give some ideas to runners in search of more natural fueling and hydration options on the run.
More and more runners are becoming aware of and embracing the advantages of following a diet of wholesome, nutritious food in lieu of processed foodstuffs ridden with sugar, preservatives and other chemicals. So if you’re on the look for affordable, natural options for fueling and hydrating on the run, then this post is for you. Take a look at these ideas to get you started.
With its high levels of Vitamin C and B6, potassium and manganese and medium Glycemic Load (GL), it’s no wonder that the humble banana is embraced by runners around the globe. Add to that the fact that it’s a convenient, no-mess-no-fuss snack and one understands why bananas are a fueling station staple.
Sure, carrying a whole banana with you on your run might not always be practical. But stash one behind a bush along with your water bottle at the halfway mark of your long run and voila. Quick and easy nutrition on the run!
With approximately 33 grams of carbohydrates and 123 calories per small, pre-packed box, raisins are the ideal natural, on-the-go energy source. Raisins are also a source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese, as well as thiamine, riboflavin and Vitamin B6. And perhaps the best thing about them is the fact that they’re easy to carry on the run! Just put a box or three in your fuel belt along with your other snacks, and you’re off.
Bliss balls are all the rage right now, with pics and recipes popping up all over social media networks. And while variations rich in fat and fiber may not be ideal for consumption during a run (hello, digestive issues!), there are plenty of easily digestible, carb-rich options out there. Search the Internet for inspiration (start here) and experiment until you find a combination that works for you. And why not involve the kids and save some for their lunch boxes? Wholesome fuelling all around!
And what about natural options for hydrating on the run, you ask?
Good old (purified) water is a good option for hydrating on the run. As runners, clever advertising by the sports drink industry has somehow lead us to believe that the consumption of sports drinks are absolutely essential, even on shorter, less intensive runs. But this is simply not true. Stick to purified water on these types of runs, and drink only when thirsty to avoid hyponatremia or overhydration.
For longer, more intensive runs, you may wish to supplement purified water with a source of electrolytes, like coconut water. Electrolytes are essential for optimal nerve and muscle functioning, but once again let thirst guide you when drinking. Also remember to read the label before making your coconut water purchase. You don’t want to go for options containing sugar and other additives.
So why not go ahead and experiment with a few of these options on your next long run? It might take a while to figure out exactly what works best for your system, but keep at it. The key is to find what works for you! And, once you do, your body is sure to thank you by performing well and feeling great.