Fueling for Exercise

Fueling for Exercise

When it comes to nutrition for training everyone is a bit different regarding what works for them to get through a long distance run without bonking. The best time to experiment with the various nutritional supplements available is during your training runs and not during the race itself. Below are some basic guidelines.


Nutrition: One to two hours prior to a long run a small snack high in carbohydrates for quick energy, low in fat and fiber to minimize intestinal issues and moderate in protein.

Fluid: Two hours prior to a workout drink 17-20 oz of water.

During Long Duration Exercise

Nutrition: Runners on average need 30 to 60 grams of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates per hour to maintain blood glucose levels. A good breakdown is to eat or drink a carbohydrate food every 20 minutes to maintain blood glucose levels. Some popular foods that runners use to fuel continuous endurance exercise include sports bars, sports drinks (which serve a dual purpose of supplying carbohydrate and fluid), energy gels, and chewables (Clif Bloks).

Fluid: 7-10 oz (or based on sweat loss) every 10-20 minutes. [Water and/or sports drink with balanced electrolyte replenishment.]


Nutrition: Refueling with carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes after a workout helps restore used up energy storage and rebuild fatigued muscles. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a carbohydrate intake of 1.0 to 1.5 grams/kg* of body weight. (*weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg) Runners should consume a real meal within two hours of run completion that contains carbohydrate and protein in a 3:1 ratio to adequately replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscles.

Fluid: 16-24 oz for every pound lost.

Additional Resources:

• How to Keep a Food Journal – Illana Katz MS, RD, CSSD Optimal Nutrition for Life
• Source for finding local sports nutritionist expert who is an RDN. www.SCANdpg.org

• Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CS, SD

• Bits and Bytes: A Guide to Digitally Tracking Your Food, Fitness, and Health – Meagan Moyer, MPH, RD, LD

• Nutrition for Runners – Jeff Galloway with Nancy Clark