With long distance training, whether hiking, biking, running, swimming, or whatever activity you’re doing that takes longer than an hour — its a good idea to have some snacks on hand to make sure you’re keeping your energy and glucagon levels up and properly fueling your body during a workout! I’m not an expert by any means so if you are interested in learning more about exercise nutrition definitely reach out to a local nutritionist (many colleges have one at student health who you can consult for free) or try to find some certified sources on the internet with good advice (Abbey Sharp on YouTube is great). 

Personally, I reached out to the nutritionist at my school and got some advice for marathon training and other long distance activities. During runs that were longer than 8-10 ish miles (depending on how long I was out running or what I had eaten prior to running) I packed several energy gels, blocks, chews (or whatever you want to call them) to fuel me on my runs. 

It definitely took a bit of practice to get comfortable with eating during a run and to this day I still reach for the super easily digestible foods like gels and gummy based chews over more solid foods like granola bars, energy bites, or waffles. If you’re interested in trying out some products, heres a list of my five favorites that helped me get through my first marathon (!!) last Sunday. 

1. GU Energy Gels

GU Energy Gels were definitely my go-to when I wanted something more coffee or dessert flavored. While the brand has a bunch of fruit flavors, my favorites were definitely the Carmel Macchiato and Espresso Love, plus the vanilla bean was pretty good too. They also have waffles, chews, and hydration mixes as well. 

2. GummiShot Energy Gummies

For all the fruit loves and caffeine fans, these GummiShots are for you! I got the chance to sample these and the orange is definitely my favorite of their flavors. Also, these gummis have the highest caffeine concentration out of all the products below, so if you really need a quick energy boost grab some of these!

3. CLIF BARs and Energy BLOKS

The classic and very popular CLIF BARs brand has a wide array of products from their famous granola bars (oatmeal raisin walnut, sierra trail mix, carrot cake, and peanut toffee buzz are my favorites) to energy chews (aka BLOKS) and more! The BLOKS are a great digestible source of energy and if your digestive system gets iffy with food during a workout I would definitely recommend the ginger ale flavor as it’s very gentle on your stomach. These come in caffeine and caffeine-free choices which is a nice option to have. 

4. Honey Stinger Energy Chews

HoneyStinger has a bunch of products, from waffles (which they’re the most famous for) to energy gels, chews, bars, and hydration mixes. My favorite is probably the pink lemonade Energy Chews, since the flavor is great and they’re really easily digestible for a quick fruity boost of carbs and sugar to get you going. They’re also caffeine free which is nice for a change. 

5. UnTapped Maple Syrup 

In true Vermonter fashion, I could not leave out UnTapped maple syrups natural athletic fuel which is basically just maple syrup either pure or with extra flavors…and its so good! They also have stroopwaffles (the chai flavor is my favorite) which I don’t really reach for on a run but are great for bikes and hiking or just as a fun snack. 

After a long workout definitely make sure you’re refueling with a protein and carb rich meal and throwing some fruit and veggies in is a nice bonus. Also I cannot say it enough but HYDRATE and drink ELECTROLYTES!! Water is such an important part of overall health and feeling good on a run (I normally ran with a hydration pack for longer runs to make sure I was getting liquid in) and replenishing salt and nutrient stores with electrolyte mixes (whether homemade or bought like Propel, Gatorade, etc) is integral for recovery.