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Running products you don’t need

It’s no secret that I’m a minimalist at heart, and unsurprisingly that minimalism spills into my running. There are countless products available for runners, most of which you can survive just fine without. If you’ve just started running, it might be tempting to go out and buy a bunch of running accessories.

Expensive Shoes

You might think that the more you pay for your shoes, the less likely you are to suffer an injury. However, research has found that the more you spend on your running shoes, the more likely you are to get injured (link).

Expensive Clothes

You could spend hundreds of dollars on specialised running clothes made of high-tech fabric and that will make you look more beautiful. Or you could do your small bit to save the planet and use an old t-shirt that would otherwise end up in landfill. Although I admit, a good pair of running shorts is not as negotiable, as that’s where the chafing can happen. Let me know in the comment of you have any money saving suggestions for running clothing.

GPS Trackers

Did you realise that before GPS running watches and apps were invented, people got satisfaction from the simple act of running without uploading a map of their workout to the internet? I know! It’s hard to believe, but you can do it too. Just give it a try. It feels so liberating. Like running naked (but I don’t recommend that).

Water Bottles

OK. Use your own judgement on this one. If you’re running a long way or in hot weather, ignore me. However, if you’re running for less than an hour, you can’t sweat enough to need to drink during your run. If you like a bit of controversy, check out Tim Noake’s book, “Waterlogged”. Disclaimer: don’t blame me if you die.

I would love to hear your suggestions of running products that you don’t need, or money saving ideas for running. Let me know in the comments.

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The Benefits of Slacklining for Trail Runners

Slacklining started in the 1980s as a way for rock climbers to make the most of time spent waiting for bad weather to pass. It’s now gaining popularity with runners, especially trail runners, as a strength training exercise. It has steadily gained exposure in urban areas, but can also be done out on the trail. All you need is a couple sturdy trees and some patience.

So what is slacklining all about? It’s a bit like tight rope walking except the line isn’t tight. It’s slack, as the name suggests. Even better, the rope isn’t a skinny cable but a 1 to 2-inch band of nylon or polyester webbing. The fun part is learning how to balance in order to walk across the line. You don’t hold a long pole like with tight rope walking. Instead, you balance using just your body. It sounds easy enough, but it takes a bit of practice, a good amount of patience, and some time to strengthen the small muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet and lower leg. It works out the muscles that are important for balance and agility when trail running. Also, it’s a lot of fun to master the technical challenge, so it’s not as arduous as doing normal strength training exercises.

Slacklining increases physical and mental stamina, improves your balance, and strengthens your feet, ankles and legs, which results in reduced risk of injury. It also improves your mental focus as you have to really be in the moment to master the technicalities of slacklining.

Because it strengthens areas like knees and ankles, it’s a valuable tool for building certain muscle areas or even for recovering from an injury. Particularly for injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, resting the area (by reducing running load) and strengthening the foot (with slacklining) can have a significant effect.

Like running, slacklining is not expensive to get into. You can pick up a basic slackline kit for $50-$100 at your local outdoors store. Then, all you need is something sturdy to string it up between. Slacklining is a sport that anyone can do. You don’t need to be an acrobat to get started. Just learning the basics of balancing on the line will give your feet, legs and mind a great workout. Just listen to the simple cues from your body and you’ll be slacklining in no time… well, not no time, but some-time.

Although, the focus is on the feet and lower leg, slacklining actually involves the whole body. Your knees, quads and hips are all important. Your core and back are engaged. Your upper body and especially your arms have to move around to adjust your balance with agility.

Studies have shown how slacklining can be used effectively as a recovery tool. A 2013 Australian study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports showed it to be beneficial for recovery of the quadriceps. Also in 2013, an Austrian study showed the benefits of slacklining for injury prevention and in an article published in the International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training stated that it provides an integrated approach to the improvement of functional capabilities in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

In addition to being a great tool for recovery, it’s also awesome for injury prevention. It’s not high intensity, so it doesn’t even feel like hard work, but it’s a beneficial full-body workout and a great activity to do on rest days.

Have you tried slacklining? What was your experience? Or do you already incorporate it into your training plan? Do you have any advice for other trail runners? Let me know in the comments, and if you found this article useful, please consider sharing it.

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The best trail running podcasts of 2018

These are some of the best trail running podcasts in 2018.  If you haven’t tried these out already, do yourself a favour.  You may also be interested in my lists of the best blogs and Youtube channels.

Trail Runner Nation – Awesome interviews, training advice, etc.

Training for Ultra – Mix of elite interviews with mid to back of the pack runners who inspire.  Whether you are just starting to run or are a seasoned pro, everyone should find something interesting in this podcast.

Science of Ultra – Interviews with elite ultra runners, training advice, etc.

Fastest Known Podcast – Coming to you every Friday: interviews with FKT-setters and other athletes in the world of Fastest Known Times.

Touching the Trail – Their mission is to help you be better daily through mind, body, and soul by learning together how to live our truest selves.

The Trail Runners Experience – Running coach from Adelaide chats to various people in the trail running community.

Let me know your favourite trail running podcasts in the comments.  Feel free to plug your own channel.

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The best trail running Youtube channels of 2018

These are some of the best trail running Youtube channels in 2018.  If you haven’t tried these out already, do yourself a favour.  You may also be interested in my lists of the best blogs and podcasts.

The Ginger Runner – This is how many of us got started in trail running.  Ethan and Kim are still producing awesome content, movies, interviews, reviews, etc.

Vo2maxProductions – Sage Canaday’s, professional ultra trail runner shares his training tips, nutrition advice, etc.

Billy Yang Films – Billy produces some awesome trail running movies.

Run Steep Get High – Jamil Coury has some awesome content on this channel.

Treadmill TV – Virtual trail running videos to make your treadmill runs more interesting.

Let me know your favourite trail running Youtube channels in the comments.  Feel free to plug your own channel.

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The best trail running blogs of 2018

These are some of the best trail running blogs in 2018.  If you haven’t tried these out already, do yourself a favour.  You may also be interested in my lists of the best Youtube channels and podcasts.

Sage Canaday has a couple blogs – http://sagecanaday.com/ is an older one, but still entertaining. New posts are going here: https://www.sagerunning.com/

Kilian Jornet – An absolute legend in the ultrarunning world.

Gary Robbins Runs – Lots of training insights for Gary’s Barkley attempts.

Trail Sisters – Their mission is to increase women’s participation and opportunity in trail running through inspiration, education and empowerment.

Trail Runner Magazine – The authority on off road trail running.

iRunFar – A blog by Brian Powell, author of Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons

Trail & Kale – A comprehensive trail running blog with lots of product reviews.

Let me know your favourite trail running blogs in the comments.  Feel free to plug your own blog.

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Tips for technical trail running

Technical trail running is characterised by the terrain being quite difficult to traverse.  This may include obstacles such as rocks, loose surfaces, roots, mud, water, steep climbs and steep descents.  Some technical sections may also require the use of the upper body in order to negotiate.  Technical trail running is usually significantly slower than running on smooth surfaces, and there is a higher risk of injury.

Time and effort

If you worry too much about how fast you’re going and how much distance you’re covering on technical terrain, you run the risk of becoming disheartened.  Instead, focus on the effort you’re putting in and the time you’re investing.  If you find it challenging, the chances are that others will find it challenging too.  If you put in maximum effort, you can’t go wrong.

Balance

Balance is critically important on technical trails.  Try to incorporate balance (single-leg exercises) and plyometrics (split and squat jumps) into your training.  Refer to this training plan for examples.

Shorter stride

It’s important to reduce ground contact time and “float” over the surface.  This makes it easier to deal with unexpected changes in terrain.  Avoid stop and go movements, which will slow you down, waste energy and can make the terrain harder to negotiate.

Footwear

Good trail shoes make a big difference on technical terrain and will give you a lot more confidence.  The lugs on trail shoes help grip the surface as you climb hills, rocks and muddy slopes. They also help you stop when you need to on steep descents. A good tread pattern will help to clear mud as you run.  You will find shoes designed specifically for particular terrain types.  However, to get started, general trail shoes with good grip should do just fine.

Find your line

Keep your eyes about 2-4m (5-10ft) ahead and look for the best path.  Try to plan your next few steps ahead of time.

Stay alert

Terrain and the obstacles you need to deal with will be constantly changing. You need to be constantly aware of those changes and plan accordingly.  This will take conscious effort to begin with but will become second nature as you become more experienced.

Aim to finish

Don’t take unnecessary risks.  Technical trail running takes time.  In a race situation, focus on finishing, not your position.  In training, challenge your limits gradually to improve your skills.  Run the same familiar trails at progressively faster paces.  Each time, you’ll make improvements in foot placement and you’ll become progressively more confident.

I hope you found this useful.  Do you have any tips or advice for technical trail running? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

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Gift ideas for trail runners

I thought I’d make a list of gift ideas for trail runners, partly for myself and partly as a resource for others.  Often when people ask me what I want for birthdays or Christmas, I can’t think of anything.  Trail running doesn’t require a lot of equipment, and usually, the things I need, I’ve already got.  Maybe with a few prompts, next time I might be able to think of something.

Around $20

These items are the kind of gift you can give without consultation, and they’re reasonably cheap, so if you get it completely wrong, it’s not the end of the world.

Books: Always welcome, and there are so many trail running and ultrarunning books to choose from.  Just check whether they want physical books, digital books or audiobooks.  I love listening to audiobooks when I’m doing treadmill workouts.

Socks: Receiving socks as a gift might be a bit of a joke for some, but they do wear out especially when you crank out the kilometres.  I particularly like the Injinji toe socks as they stop my toes rubbing together.

Cap: I suppose you can only have a few caps, but a good one will be useful for years.  Look for one that’s lightweight, and has plenty of ventilation holes.

Gloves: Handy (pun intended) in winter, especially in colder climates.  Check that the gloves allow you to operate a touch screen while you’ve got them on.

Gaiters: These little skirts for your ankles stop stones and dirt getting into your shoes.  They’re just the right price for a gift, and come in some pretty groovy colours.

Buff: Another item that is available in an infinite array of designs.  Handy for soaking up sweat, keeping the sun off your neck, or your hair under control.

Around $50

Resistance bands: A set of resistance bands of varying thicknesses are useful for strength workouts.

Foam roller: Not the most exciting gift, but useful nonetheless. 

Soft flask: A soft flask to fit in an existing running vest is a nice little gift for a trail runner.  They likely have soft flasks that came with their vest, but there are some available with better features.

Over $100

OK, most of these items cost quite a bit more than $100, and they’re the type of thing that you probably shouldn’t buy for someone without consulting them first.  Some even require fitting, so the person you’re giving to really needs to be involved.

Trail shoes: Shoes are a bit pricey to give as a gift, and obviously they need to be fitted.  So, maybe give a gift card instead.

GPS watch: Likewise, GPS running watches are generally a bit too expensive to give as a gift.  And it’s the kind of thing you don’t want to get wrong.  However, the number of models available isn’t too confusing, so your friend should be able to tell you which one they want.

Running vest: Definitely not the type of thing you would buy for someone without talking to them first.  They’ll need to make sure they get the right size and the features they want.

Headlamp: Handy for running at night.  Look for one specifically designed for running.  Pay particular attention to weight (including batteries), brightness, and battery life.

Wireless headphones: If your trail running friend likes to listen to music while running, wireless headphones might be a nice gift.  Look for running specific ones as they’re sweat-proof and better at staying in the ears.

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What is technical trail running?

Technical trail running is characterised by the terrain being quite difficult to traverse.  This may include obstacles such as rocks, loose surfaces, roots, mud, water, steep climbs and steep descents.  Some technical sections may also require the use of the upper body in order to negotiate.  Technical trail running is usually significantly slower than running on smooth surfaces, and there is a higher risk of injury.

Each of the terrains and obstacle types requires special skill and experience.  If you are planning to run a trail race that has technical sections, you should devote a significant amount of time practising running on those surfaces.

Obstacles

These are some of the most common obstacles you will encounter, and some tips for negotiating them successfully.

Rocks

Rocks come in all shapes and sizes and each one requires a slightly different approach.  Small rocks or pebbles can create a slippery surface or find their way into your shoes, making running uncomfortable.  Larger rocks can result in twisted ankles or stubbed toes.  The trick is to keep focused on foot position and plan your line.

Here’s a great guide to running on various rock types.

Loose surfaces

Loose surfaces such as gravel or slippy mud can be challenging, especially when combined with a slope.  Grippy shoes may help to retain traction, but in some cases, you may just have to slow down and take it easy.

Roots

Roots pose a similar risk to rocks, and come in many shapes and sizes, but tend to protrude higher from the trail surface and trap the foot a bit more.  They also have the added benefit of being slippery and can result in a foot unexpectedly loosing grip.  Because they differ based on the type of vegetation growing in a area, it pays to train in the area you’ll be racing in.

Mud

Mud can be some of the trickiest terrain to overcome, particularly the sticky, slippery kind.  If it’s really bad, it can coat the bottom of your shoes, adding unwelcome weight and providing a slick surface with no traction at all.  Sometimes there’s no alternative than to grab a stick and try to scrape the mud off.

Water

Usually, water crossings just mean that you’re going to get wet feet.  Fortunately, most trail shoes are pretty good at directing excess moisture away from the foot, and you’ll be reasonably dry in no time.

Steep terrain

Steep terrain is one of the most common things you’ll encounter while trail running.  To complicate matters, you’ll probably also encounter one or more other types of obstacle at the same time.

Refer to this article on downhill running for advice and tips.

Tips for technical trail running

Time and effort

If you worry too much about how fast you’re going and how much distance you’re covering on technical terrain, you run the risk of becoming disheartened.  Instead, focus on the effort you’re putting in and the time you’re investing.  If you find it challenging, the chances are that others will find it challenging too.  If you put in maximum effort, you can’t go wrong.

Balance

Balance is critically important on technical trails.  Try to incorporate balance (single-leg exercises) and plyometrics (split and squat jumps) into your training.  Refer to this training plan for examples.

Shorter stride

It’s important to reduce ground contact time and “float” over the surface.  This makes it easier to deal with unexpected changes in terrain.  Avoid stop and go movements, which will slow you down, waste energy and can make the terrain harder to negotiate.

Footwear

Good trail shoes make a big difference on technical terrain and will give you a lot more confidence.  The lugs on trail shoes help grip the surface as you climb hills, rocks and muddy slopes. They also help you stop when you need to on steep descents. A good tread pattern will help to clear mud as you run.  You will find shoes designed specifically for particular terrain types.  However, to get started, general trail shoes with good grip should do just fine.

Find your line

Keep your eyes about 2-4m (5-10ft) ahead and look for the best path.  Try to plan your next few steps ahead of time.

Stay alert

Terrain and the obstacles you need to deal with will be constantly changing. You need to be constantly aware of those changes and plan accordingly.  This will take conscious effort to begin with but will become second nature as you become more experienced.

Aim to finish

Don’t take unnecessary risks.  Technical trail running takes time.  In a race situation, focus on finishing, not your position.  In training, challenge your limits gradually to improve your skills.  Run the same familiar trails at progressively faster paces.  Each time, you’ll make improvements in foot placement and you’ll become progressively more confident.

I hope you found this useful.  Do you have any tips or advice for technical trail running? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

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Can I wear my trail running shoes in the gym?

If you’re going to the gym to bust out some kilometres on the treadmill or do some weights, trail running shoes will work just fine.  If, on the other hand, you’re planning to do an aerobics class, trail running shoes will work, but they might not give you the most enjoyable experience.

Trail running shoes usually have a lot more grip than standard running shoes or cross trainers.  They’re designed for rugged terrain and unsealed trails.  They are also usually versatile enough for running on more stable surfaces like cement, roads, and pavement.  But, say you forgot you were wearing your trail shoes and headed off to the gym.  How will trail shoes perform?  Well, it depends what you intend to do while you’re there.

The main differences between trail shoes and road shoes are:

  • Trail shoes usually have thicker materials on the upper. They have strong mesh to prevent rips from trail debris. Most trail shoes also a bit of extra material around the toes, called toe bumpers, to protect your toes.
  • The soles of trail shoes are designed to grip an uneven trail surface. They usually have large lugs, teeth, and a sticky rubber for better traction to deal with dirt, mud, and rocks. Some also have a plate of hard plastic in the mid-sole area to protect the sole of your foot from rocks and sharp sticks.  They’re usually less flexible than road running shoes.
  • Many trail shoes include stability features to help prevent rolling an ankle on uneven surfaces.
  • Although there are light-weight models available, trail shoes are often heavier than the average road shoe.

Treadmill running

Today’s trail shoes have much more to offer than some of the older designs. The first trail shoes were bulky and stiff but today you can find lightweight trail shoes and most offer great flexibility. This makes them well-suited to running on a treadmill. However, if you’re doing faster workouts such as tempo runs or interval workouts, you may feel more comfortable and faster in a lighter road shoe.

Trail running shoes will work well on a treadmill.  You may notice that they feel different to when you wear them on soft ground.  Some trail shoes might even feel uncomfortable, as the lugs may dig into the bottom of your foot slightly.

If you wear trail shoes a lot on a treadmill, you may notice that they wear differently to road shoes.  Since trail shoes only contact the surface of the treadmill at the tips of the lugs, those lugs mar wear noticeably.  It shouldn’t affect their on-trail performance though unless they wear off completely.

If you’re going to be doing a trail ultra, it can sometimes be hard to get enough outdoor kilometres in.  And it’s important to wear your race day shoes in.  So, wearing them on a treadmill makes sense.  Also, many ultras have sections on roads and other hard surfaces, so getting used to running in trail shoes on surfaces other than trails makes some sense too.

Weights session

There’s not a lot of foot work involved in a weights session, so the type of shoe you wear is not particularly important.  Trail shoes will work just fine.

Aerobics class

Aerobics classes involve picking up your feet and putting them down a lot.  So, you might find that trail shoes feel a little heavy.

Also, trail shoes with aggressively lugged outsoles will cause a couple of issues.  Firstly, because of the good grip, your foot will stop abruptly when it makes contact with the ground.  Also, the grip makes it difficult to spin or change direction.

Most trail shoes are quite rigid.  This rigidity will stop your foot from being able to bend as it should.

So, you can probably get away with using a trail shoe, but it won’t be particularly comfortable.

Be considerate

Obviously if your trail shoes are caked in mud, don’t wear them to the gym.  You probably won’t be invited back if you put mud all over the treadmill or carpet.

I hope this helped.  Please leave a comment if you have accidentally worn your trail shoes to the gym.  How did it go?

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Trail running on real food: the ultimate list

On long runs, you will need to consume food on the go.  What to eat and how much to eat will be different for each runner and will depend on multiple factors.  This article serves as a rough guide, but each runner will need to experiment to work out what works best for them.

Eating while running

When you run, your body consumes stored carbohydrates as well as some fat.  The ratio of carbohydrates to fats depends primarily on the intensity of the activity.  However, your body can only store a limited amount of carbohydrate and it usually runs out after about 90 minutes of intense activity.  Whatever your intensity or ability to burn fat, you will still need to replenish your carbohydrates after roughly 90 minutes.  If you don’t replenish the carbohydrates, your performance will suffer. Your body will force you to slow down and will burn relatively less carbohydrate and more fat.

So, if your run is shorter than 90 minutes, you can get away with not eating, and just replenishing after your run.  But if you are running longer, you’ll need to eat along the way.

When you run, you burn calories faster than you can take them in.  The average runner can digest somewhere between 150 and 300 calories per hour, depending on multiple factors such as effort, body mass, type of food, climate and more.  And, you’ll burn somewhere between 600 and 1000 calories per hour depending on pace, body mass, terrain, and more.

The idea is to give your body just enough food so it’s not starved of carbohydrates, but not more than you can digest.  Too much food will weigh you down and lead to gastrointestinal issues.  Don’t try to eat as many calories as you’re burning, or you’ll have a bad day.

The general rule is to start taking in calories after about 30 minutes and continue to take in about 100 calories every 30 minutes or so.  Obviously, this will vary based on the individual and a multitude of factors.  It’s important to experiment during your training runs to work out what works best for you.

What to eat when running

So, you know roughly how much to eat while running. Now to work out what to eat.

The macronutrients that make up foods are carbohydrate, fat, and protein.  For running, carbohydrates are the important ones and generally, you’ll be looking for food high in carbohydrates, although fat and protein shouldn’t be ignored.

Carbohydrates include sugars, starches and fibres.  They’re classified into simple and complex carbohydrates.  Simple carbohydrates contain just one (monosaccharides) or two sugars (disaccharides), such as fructose (from fruits) and galactose (from milk products). Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) have three or more sugars. They are often referred to as starchy foods and include beans, peas, lentils, potatoes, and whole grains.  As a product of digestion, complex carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars.

Another important class of nutrients for running is salts.  Sodium is probably the most important, but potassium and magnesium also play a role.  These are important for muscle and nerve function, pH and fluid balance.

You should also consider how portable a food is for trail running.  It’ll need to go in your pack and will be subjected to constant jiggling for kilometre after kilometre.

Why real food?

I’m not a big fan of gels and sugary drinks for race nutrition or for long training runs. I much prefer using real food. For me, it sits better in my stomach and feels better in general. It’s also a lot more palatable and doesn’t lead to a litter problem.

However, as I already mentioned, eating while running is a highly personalised thing.  Some people might not be able to handle any solid food at all

You can get away with eating just about anything when running.  The most important thing is getting the calories in and keeping them in.   

The list

So here is my list of real foods for trail running which may also be useful long distance running and endurance sports in general.

Bought and ready to eat

These foods don’t require any preparation, other than stowing into your pack.  These are good if you’re just starting out or if you’re in a hurry.  Also, if you find yourself out on a long run with a credit card, you can just pop into a nearby store and pick up some of these to keep you going.

Bars: This is a very broad category and includes a wide range of products.  Try to pick bars that aren’t too high in refined sugars and are made from whole grains.

Chips (crisps): These are great when you feel like a bit of salt.  They’re really light in your pack.  Just go for plain flavours as the spicy ones might not sit well.

Nuts: Nuts are a great combination of protein, carbs, and fat.  Choose your nut based on the macronutrient profile.  Don’t over-do the nuts though.  They can feel a bit heavy in the stomach sometimes.

Fruit: Some fruits are better than others.  Bananas are a common favourite.  I also like apples.  Be careful with fruits that are high in fibre.  Some of my favourites:

  • banana
  • apple
  • orange (pre-peeled or be prepared to get sticky)

Dried fruit: These are a bit more portable than fresh fruit.  As with fresh fruit, be careful with fruits high in fibre if you’re sensitive.  Just experiment with what works for you.  Some favourites are:

  • dates
  • cranberries
  • mango
  • apricots
  • pear
  • peach
  • apple
  • pineapple

Pretzels: Nice for a bit of salty starch.  Easy to pack and quite light.  Some people find them a bit dry though.

Junk food: Things like doughnuts, tarts, biscuits (cookies), pizza, and lollies (candy) are all valid foods during a long event.  Whatever you need to do to get the calories in.

Requiring some advance preparation/cooking

If you want to get serious, preparing your own running snacks is the way to go.  You’ll know exactly what’s in them and you can tailor them to your specific requirements and desires.

Boiled potatoes: If you can get baby potatoes, just boil and salt them.  If you can only get large ones, they can be cooked, oiled and salted.  You can also mash them and put them in a pouch.

Wraps: can be filled with just about anything, but here are some suggestions:

  • peanut butter and jam (or banana)
  • almond butter, banana, honey (+ soy sauce for salt if you want to go crazy).  I think I heard this one recommended by Dean Karnazes.
  • nutella and dried fruit

Croissant: Fill them with just about anything.  Cheese, jam, nut butter, etc are all good options.

Fruit cake: Either homemade or bought.  Cut into nice sized chunks and put into plastic sandwich bags.

Drinks

Water: My preferred hydration option.  If you want hydration, water is the original and the best.

Coconut water: Coconut water is full of handy electrolytes and some people live the taste.  I’ve tried it but it didn’t work for my tastebuds.

Iced tea with honey: Honey contains potassium, which is an important salt for muscle function. Honey is also a good source of antioxidants.

Fruit juice: Provides a nice little sugar kick.  Use with caution.  Can be hard for some people to stomach.

Cold brewed coffee: I’ve seen this at a couple of events, and it’s surprisingly refreshing.  The caffeine hit may also be desirable in the late stages of an event.

Chocolate milk: You’ll need to keep it cold, maybe by freezing it in a pouch, but chocolate milk is great to keep you going during a long run, and some people swear by it for recovery.

Flat Coke: Some people swear by flat coke for a bit of caffeine and a sugar kick.  I haven’t had Coke for years, though so I wouldn’t recommend it.  Other flat soft drinks would also be an option.

Semi-liquid

Baby food: If you get it in those squeezy pouches, it’s really portable and easy to digest.

Honey: A bit tricky to get into a pouch, but packed full of energy.  You can also buy honey in little disposable pouches, but then you end up with a litter problem. 

Home made gels: You can make your own gels, like these.

Pouch recipes: You can make your own semi-liquid creations to fill squeezy pouches. The No Meat Athlete has a collection of great recipes, including these:

  • Salty Sweet Potato
  • Date-Espresso
  • Banana-Date
  • Pina Colada
  • Apple-Banana
  • Beet-Ginger
  • Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal
  • Apple Maca
  • Banana Maca
  • Chia Switchel

Please let me know your favourite running snacks.  I’m sure there’s a heap of stuff I’ve left out.