Increasing mileage: fuel and hydration question

Can anyone point me in the right direction for information! Up until now, my longest run has been 11k. I have only taken on a small amount of water on a couple of very warm days and don't usually carry water with me. However, now I want to increase my distance for a 10 mile event in October, I guess fuel and adequate hydration will become more of an issue (especially as we move in to the summer). I don't know where to begin and there seems to be a lot of, sometimes conflicting advise out there😮. Do I need to start learning about electrolytes etc?

13 Replies

  • That 10 mile race is 5k more than your farthest so far. How did you feel after the 11k? Are there water stations at the event? At what stages of it? Listen to your body and figure out what's right for you :)

  • I used to be fine up to about 12k (say 75 minutes running ) but found beyond that I needed to refuel. I've found Goodies date and banana bars are great. I have one after about 5 or 6k and then take bites from a second every couple of k or so. This has got me to about 2 hours of running (18k ). Problem is I think I'd need to carry 3 to get me through a HM and they're a bit bulky so I'm going to look a shot bloks as I've heard others recommend them on here .

    Good luck in finding out what works for you

  • Hi Sandra, the time to take on nutrients and water is before you feel the need. I prefer little and often, starting at about 5k.

    You have plenty of time to experiment with different alternatives to find out what suits you and what you like. Gels are perhaps easiest to carry and one should do you at 5 miles, however, not everyone gets on with them (including me).

    I find Shot bloks and Hi5 sports drink tablets dissolved in water (contains electrolytes) suit me best, typically one shot blok cube followed by a mouthful of drink every 4k or so. This doesn't tend to sit in my stomach so heavily.

    If it is warm, take on liquid more frequently, but it is important not to overhydrate.

    I'm sure others will have different favourites!

    Good luck!

  • In terms of nutrition, I struggle with anything that is too dry (feels like I am trying to eat sand) and after a bit of trial and error found good ol' Jelly Babies to be best for me. The gels don't seem to do anything for me. As OG says, the key is to take them before you feel the need for them and for a 10 mile race, I would be looking take it fuel on at around 4 miles.

    In terms of hydration, I like the SIS Go electrolyte powder disolved in my water and take small but frequent sips.

  • Hi Sandra, ....long one here - sorry if it's too mush info😊

    Thinking back to running 10k plus and warmer weather I started off and bought a hand held water bottle and eventually bought a running belt (for food/energy) that sits on my hips .

    I carry water on short and long runs plus some money to buy food or more water if needs must - also in case I need to call for a taxi home...

    You could plan circular routes via home if you can pop in, or leave cold drinks in the garden - or you could leave a drink or two along your route before you head off if that fits in too.

    I've found routes where's there's a cafe in the park or forest to buy a drink (or tap water) to break up long runs; occasional flapjack if feeling low on energy. Tried jelly babies and things then tried gels(carbohydrates). I didn't have a clue because there are many brands and types (some are thick gels and you need to swig water afterwards and some are thinner and you don't).

    Lots of posts in Runners world etc. I first bought a runners starter pack of gels from the Wiggle website and a tube of citrus flavour High 5 electrolyte tablets (potassium replacement). I was always reading how you should try these things out before races and like food some may or may not agree with you. I liked these and a good price.

    This is what I now use SIS (science in sport) Hydro tabs (one tab dissolves into 500 mls and lasts 24hrs once made up). I add half a tab to my run bottle and sip away as I get hot, thirsty, sweat etc. I usually take a gel around the 4K mark on races and tried differant times of taking them. One or two types have caused cramps but it may have been due to the physical effects of long runs of 9 miles plus.

    Half an hour or so before any run, I have a small banana with a squirt of honey or nut butter or half a bagel and jam or plain yoghurt and golden syrup or honey. And a medium glass of water. This works for me.

    More recently I'm trying out pitted medjool dates with a bit of nut butter. And am Also bringing plain dates with me as food to replace gels. Just experimenting!

    Btw, I tried putting 'hydration' into the search bar above and lots of previous posts and responses came up.

    I now enjoy drinking around 3+ litres or plain water a day, before and after meals and try and eat and drink well every day and week as well as I do when it's a week leading up to a race!

  • Thanks Jaxsy, for all that info, and also to the other replies.🙂 Lots for me to think about and research there. It does sound as though it's about finding what works for you. For example, tried out coconut water today as it is supposed to be good for hydration and has electrolytes in it. Certainly had a good 10k and feel quite good now, so we shall see! Food before a run is pretty sorted, it's the refuelling that I will need to consider. My sister also advised leaving bottles etc along a route...but I have a tendency to run off the beaten track so think carrying what I need will probably be the best option. Am actually quite looking forward to exploring this new aspect of my running journey! Thanks again for your thoughts everyone🙂

  • Yes to coconut water - good idea, I'd forgotten how good it is; great to hear you had a good run on it.

    Good luck on your next step up, it's really exciting and rewarding plus a gorgeous time of year to go exploring👏👏👏

  • Good question Sandraj39 , interesting reading replies 😊

  • I only take drinks for runs over an hour or in heat and use a belt with a couple of small bottles on it. I don't like carrying bottles (and have read they can cause imbalance in form). The only long run I did carrying one irritated and annoyed me - but that's just my experience. And it was the "donut" type bottle.

  • I got a relatively cheap, hydration bladder pack and rucsack from a supermarket, though only ever used it on runs over 8 miles. with the pack straps tight, found running with it no problem. The furthest I have run is half marathon, and on this just had my water pack on my back and no nutrition. Though I have the added complication of type 1 diabetes, which is why I like my ruckasack as there is just enough room for some money, and some sweets/biscuits in case my sugars drop. I can remember an interview on marathon talk podcast that discussed nutrition and gels etc, and the interviewee basically said if you train with gels you will need gels and become more dependent on them. If you train without, your body will be used to running that distance without. Marathons can be done without the use of gels.

  • Thanks for that - my gut is to go with natural foods/fluids iff possible and the less I can get away with the better. What you say about your body and dependency makes sense. ☺

  • I do take fluid and snacky snacks if I am doing anything more than 8 miles as a rule and I have the most fabulous Salamon running gilet with 2 soft flasks and pockets for nibbles. I use 1 SIS tab ( lemon flavour) broken in half and in each flask and some sweets. If I am doing more than 12 more of the same and an energy gel. Hope that helps and good luck!!!

  • Thanks for that..will have to start to try out a few ideas as I extend my runs!

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