If you plan to run for less than an hour, plain water should
be all you need to top up your fluid levels while you’re out. Exercise
for longer, though, and you may find sports drinks helpful. These
usually contain sugar, maltodextrin and electrolytes including sodium –
the exact constitution will vary between manufacturers. Experiment with
several varieties to see what suits you best, and which flavours you
For long runs (over 60 minutes), consider taking a snack
with you so you’re not left running on empty. Energy gels washed down
with water will give you an added boost, as will jelly beans or a
banana. Few runners are able to tolerate anything more while on the run.
If you’re planning to eat or drink during a race, try doing
so a few times in training beforehand. There’s no way of predicting how
your body might react to anything new and you don’t want any nasty
Replacing fluid after a run is just as important as before
and during. Drinking around 500ml of water or diluted juice in the first
30 minutes after your run should be plenty, but if you have a headache
or feel nauseous you should have more.
After hard sessions, especially if you plan to train again
the next day, think about having a recovery drink. The
carbohydrate-protein ratio of these drinks will speed up muscle repair,
rehydrate you quickly and also give your immune system a boost.
Energy bars are also good for topping up your fuel reserves
when you get back. Like recovery drinks, they contain a mixture of
carbohydrate and protein that will help your muscles recover faster.
Other good post-run snacks include eggs on toast, a fruit smoothie and a
tuna sandwich. If you can, try to eat within an hour of completing your
run, as this will maximise the benefits.