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A Trail Runner’s Guide: Fueling Before, During and After Exercise

No doubt, each time you’re on your next trail run, your body is challenged differently. But there is one thing that is constant: it isyourbody at work. This means making sure you are fueling your body properly to feel replenished and empowered to go on your next adventure. 

Naak Nutrition Blog | Trail Runner

Here is a brief guide to fueling before, during and after trail running:

Before Exercise 

A good start to your run begins with adequate nutrient and fluid fueling. Start your run hydrated and energized by having a drink with a light meal or a snack! Be sure to focus on carbohydrates (CHO) for fuel and small amounts of Protein for satiety like toast with peanut butter or oats with fruit. 

Also, choosing foods with sodium can help your body reach euhydration (i.e normal hydration and where you want to be) and avoiding excess fiber or fat can prevent GI discomfort. Fluid sources of CHO and protein, like a fruit smoothie, is also a great option for nutrition and hydration fueling.

During Exercise

Naak Nutrition Blog | Trail Runner

During exercise, your heart is pumping blood to your muscles to supply the oxygen they need; because of this, less attention is given to your digestive system. But this does not mean you can forget to replenish your sugar, water and electrolytes stores! Of course, each trail runner is built differently so a general rule of thumb is consuming 100-300 calories per hour of exercise. This is roughly 30-60g of CHOs. 

If your session lasts less than 1.5 hours, you should consume 0.5 - 1.1L of water and 200-300 calories of CHOs per hour. But if your session is more than 2 hours, you’ll need to add on 200-300 mg of salts and electrolytes per hour to your water and CHO intake. 

Tip: Set a timer during your run for every 30 minutes or 1 hour so you don’t forget to refuel; Time for that hydration mix! 

For your sugar stores, the faster you are running means it is more important you drink easy CHO to fuel your muscles, while a slow pace during longer runs opens doors for solid foods. We recommend easy to chew and digest CHOs, like Dextrose or Maltodextrin, found in Naak’s Ultra Energy Bars or Ultra Energy Waffles. 

After Exercise

Naak Nutrition Blog | Trail Runner

Your post-exercise meals are just as important as before and during; it plays a big role in what will happen between today’s and your next run. Remember: recovery nutrition should target: 1) refueling muscle glycogen, 2) repairing muscle and 3) rehydration. This means recovery meals should contain CHOs, some protein and lots of fluids and electrolytes. 

You can opt for a cheese and ham sandwich, yogurt and granola or a tuna and quinoa salad within 30-60 minutes after your run. This time window is when sugar from your blood moves into your muscle cells faster!

Don’t forget those fluids! We recommend fluids, mainly water, or you can opt for a recovery drink mix for that dose of sugar and electrolytes.

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