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May 15, 2018

If you don't fill your car up before going for a long drive, it wouldn't be long before you'd be coming to a sputtering stop. The same goes running, if you go out without topping up your energy stores you're soon going to find yourself crashing. This is just as true for the Weekend Warrior who gets out two to three times a week as it is for those who are racking up the big miles everyday.

Don't despair though this doesn't mean having to spend hours with a spreadsheet to avoid bonking on a run, just follow these five simple tips. 

1. Don't Run on Empty

The greater the distance you are running, the longer it takes to fuel your body up for it. To keep things super simple we've made a quick guide of when to start fuelling for each distance. 

  • 10k or less -  A moderate sized breakfast on the day of the run with plenty of carbohydrates that you know your body responds well to.
  • Up to 20 miles - A slightly larger meal the night before, with plenty of easily digestible carbs and a good breakfast the morning of the run.
  • Marathon Distance and Beyond - Start slowly increasing calories and carbs a few days before the race without over facing yourself. Then again have a good breakfast on the day that you know works well for you and a small snack depending on your run time.

2. Trial and Error

Everyone is different, what may work wonders for me might leave you retching by the side of the road. That's why it's so important to try out different nutritional approaches for yourself before having to rely on them in races. 
The best way to do this is to use your shorter runs as a testing ground for new approaches and foods. If something works well for you on a shorter run then you can try them on your longer runs and if they are still working well for you on  longer runs then you can add them into your race plan. 



3. Hydrate

Don't leave hydration till the day of the run, drink plenty in the week in the building up to your long run. Trying to down four litres just before you head out for 20 miles will only leave you with a bloated, sloshy stomach and desperately looking for the nearest toilet. 

4. Don't Caught Short

So you've fuelled up before hand, now you need to keep those energy stores topped up. After the first 45 minutes eat little and often. An average 80kg male runner wants to be taking onboard around 60g of carbohydrate an hour or in Chia Charge terms three Mini Flapjacks

If you are hungry on a run it's probably too late.

5. Recover  

Don't make recovery an afterthought. Drink plenty as soon you get back, especially if it's been hot and eat something that will give you a good combination of fats, protein and carbs. If you are away running make sure you've packed some recovery food.