So Many Running Fuels, How do I Choose?

Choosing the right running fuel is not easy…there are a ton of different types of fuel that have been created specifically with runners in mind, so this gives us a ton of options to choose from which is great, but with so many options it can be hard to choose.

When I was new to running I know I would have appreciated some recommendations on fuel types, however, when I began running it was a trial and error type of thing…I bought tons of different types of running fuel and it was really hit or miss if they worked with my body. Even after reading this article you may that trial and error is still the best way to decide.

Here is what I have personally experienced with different types of running fuels:

Gels

The gel fuel types can be found at almost any sporting or running store. They are designed to be easily downed while still running and the packaging is small, light, and easy to open. I am a fan of the gels because they are so easy to ingest while running, however, some of the brands can leave your mouth and throat feeling sticky and thick. I highly recommend taking a gel and then drinking water immediately to avoid this feeling. Also, be careful on the flavor you choose…I have experienced some gag worthy flavors. The brand may also play a factor in taste, consistency, etc.

Jelly Beans

Yep, pretty much exactly what they sound like, it’s jelly bean fuel. I have had a good experience with these, I like that multiple beans come in a pack and they are easy to grab one or two while still running. I also found that I don’t get any kind of weird residue from them, so while they say to drink water with them, I have always found that they go down fine on their own, but water is always a good idea. They are somewhat more bulky than the gels, but are still relatively easy to carry with you. Not ideal for runners who just want the fuel in one quick swallow.

Gummies

Super similar to the jelly beans, these are a lot like fruit snacks. They are normally super tasty. I haven’t stumbled on a bad flavor yet. They are much softer than the jelly beans, but still require time to eat and chew them. Again, this is probably not the best idea for runners who want a super quick energy boost, since these do require chewing.

Bars

By far my least favorite form of fuel to take on a run with me. While I think energy and protein bars are a great post run snack, I do not like them during. I find that not only are they time consuming to eat, but they are too much to ingest while running. I am usually left feeling somewhat nauseous and heavy after eating one of these on my run. However, I would say try out different types of fuels and find what works best for your body.

Fruit

Another one of my least favorite types of fuel…Fruit is generally great for runners as it provides a quick boost of energy due to the sugar and carbohydrate content in fruit. However, I personally rarely use it as a type of fuel while on a run. The reason being is where the heck to you put it? How do you carry an apple or banana with you on a long run? Yes, I do get there are ways to do this, but I simply don’t care for the bulkiness of it. I also have found eating more than a couple bites of a banana leaves me feeling somewhat heavy.

Have recommendations on fuel? Let us know.