Alternative Fuel Sources For Runners and Endurance Athletes

In order to run 26.2 (or even 13.1) miles without hitting 'the wall', you’re going to need to eat something to refuel along the way. Most runners have resorted to popular Gels or chews, which are often consumed repeated over the course of your run and have the benefit of being easy to transport.  But as you likely know, these products can be overly sweet and gooey in consistency. Increasingly runners are seeking alternatives to these overly sweetened products, like natural foods which are less likely to cause bodily issues such as GI issues. 

The trick is to find foods which are a source of carbohydrates and protein, yet are relatively easy to transport. Also, try to keep your carb intake during each hour of a long run between 30-60 grams per hour, so once you find some real foods that work for you, tally up the total carbs to make sure you are taking in enough. 

Here are a list of some alternative carbohydrate fuel sources for runners:

  • Large banana — 121 calories, 31 grams carbs
  • Fig cookies: 2 each — 198 calories, 40 grams carbs
  • Small box of raisins:  — 123 calories, 33 grams carbs
  • Sliced apple — 77 calories, 21 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber
  • Low-fat bagel — 128 calories, 19 grams carbs
  • Hard pretzels — 108 calories, 23 grams carbs (Hint: grab the extra salty kind if you’re a salty sweater in need of extra sodium.)

It is important for runners to realize that as they sweat, they not only lose water from their bodies, but valuable minerals that need to be replaced in order for the body to continue to function properly.  Mineral replacement during a long run is essential for the body to continue to process the fuels necessary to perform at increased levels of intensity.  Sodium and potassium are minerals most associated with electrolyte replacement products, but there are numerous other minerals in the body essential for proper bodily function and performance that should be replaced. 

Athletes need at least 13 of these electrolyte-forming trace minerals to have the body function properly. And you can’t just buy these minerals in a store and put them into your food or take them as a supplement. They need to be in just the correct amount to: 

  • Help the brain function properly,
  • Heighten concentration and alertness,
  • Boost energy levels
  • Provide support to strengthen the immune system
  • Enhance the uptake of vitamins and proteins and other minerals you are digesting, such as amino acids and proteins, which help athletes recover following exercise
  • Help to re-establish healthy alkaline Ph levels, which is necessary in the body for it to stay healthy

You can find out more about the how athletes can benefit from mineral replacement and the trace minerals found in our concentrated electrolyte spray in “Fueling For Peak Performance", by Nina Anderson (SPN). To obtain a copy, write us a request at  Or visit our website at .