Just as important as fueling before your event is making sure that you keep up your endurance by fueling and hydrating during your event. Again, carbs are your friends here. Your body is burning up tons of carbohydrates as you run your race, or ride in your bike race. The University of Portland Health Center recommends that in any workout or event that is over 60 minutes, you need to include carb-containing foods and drinks.
There are many ways to do this. There are natural ways, sports drinks, gels, etc. and it seems that every person you ask has a different way that works for them and no one way works for everyone. Some people cannot handle eating food during their event, so drinking sports drinks is the best choice for them, but even then it’s suggested that you alternate water with the sports drink or water it down.
Sports gels are very popular, but there are many pros and cons to that, too. Allaboutrunning.net says that gels are a great way for your body to obtain energy during an extreme endurance event. Most are made of malodextrin that will break down very easily and provide energy for the athlete. Some of their cons are that some people’s stomachs become upset when taking them, and sometimes you feel like you’ve had too much sugar when you take them. There are many different brands of gels, and other forms, such as gummies or beans, that an athlete can take to see if one works better than the other.
Still other people go to natural food for fuel. I know people that eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels, fruit, or even candy during their event. Personally, I would find that hard to store or eat during my race, but it works well for others. I polled a running group that I belong to and got quite a few different answers as to what they use during their long runs. They ranged from the gels or gummies, to pretzels and fruit, and jelly beans or Swedish fish.
The biggest advice I can give is to make sure you try out which fuel you are going to use on during your training. The worst thing that could happen is that you try something new, have it not agree with you, and aren’t able to do your best at your event, or worse even you have to DNF.