Fueling: Long Runs, Workouts, Post-Work Runs

Back in the fall I discussed some changes I made to fueling during long runs and overall nutrition.

But other than saying that I was fueling, I didn’t go into specifics of how I’m fueling for these runs. I’ve received a few questions on either Instagram, Facebook or recent posts, so I wanted to address the ways I fuel myself for long runs, workouts and post-work runs.

Long Runs
I typically do not eat anything before my long runs (Note: I drink a cup of coffee with creamer). It’s not that I am trying to start on an empty stomach, but I’m often doing these runs early on Saturday morning (5-5:30am) and in order for me to eat something and allow time for it to digest, I would have to set my alarm for 4am – or earlier – something I’m not willing to do on a Saturday morning.

I started experimenting more with Generation UCAN that last few months. Prior to this cycle, I really only used Gen UCAN for races. But I found that it was the perfect solution to wanting something in my stomach for the long run but not having to worry about waiting around for it to digest.

These days, I mix two full scoops of Gen UCAN in a 16-20 oz water bottle and drink about 5 oz before the run. I keep the bottle outside my house and often stop 1-2x for another 3-5 oz at a time throughout the run. I don’t have a set number of miles or time in between stops – I gauge it off of how I’m feeling. I do, however, try to go longer at the start of the run. It’s a mental thing for me and I like knowing that I have less miles to run this time before a quick stop for more fuel.

This is the only fuel I use on my long run. It started because my husband and I were doing a sugar detox – and so gels and chomps were not something I wanted to use. After two successful long runs with just Generation UCAN, I decided to continue to use it for these runs.

For my 22 miler, I stopped after mile 9 and 17. For my 23 miler, I stopped once – mile 14.

However, I plan to approach race day fueling the same as my last two marathons – two scoops of Generation UCAN before the race and then gels during the race. If there was a way for me to have Generation UCAN during the race, I would definitely go that route. But I don’t want to carry anything in my hands and won’t have access to anything else along the course – so gels it is!

Morning Workouts
If I’m doing a long workout in the AM, I often have my cup of coffee and start the workout. My dinner from the night before is usually more than enough energy to get me through the workout. There have been a couple of workouts where I’ve brought a water bottle with Generation UCAN down to the treadmill with me – but most times I can get through without anything.

Post-Work Workouts
This has been a huge learning curve for me. Once my mid-week long workouts started to reach the 12-14 mile mark, I found that it was sometimes better to shift the workout to nighttime rather than have a 3:30 or earlier wakeup. It’s hard to function all day when you get up at 3:15 in the morning.

Here’s what I have found works for me. I try to push back lunch later in the day (so rather than 12pm, I try to eat closer to 1pm or 1:30pm). I will have a light afternoon bite – Larabar, banana, almonds + cashews – around 3:30/4 and I skip my afternoon cup of coffee (I don’t always have a cup in the afternoon).

If I’m home by 6:45/7, I have my coffee and a small snack while getting the boys ready for bed. Once they are in bed, I head down to the basement. This can be anywhere from 7:15-8pm. I find the coffee wakes me up and gives me that boost of energy I need to get the workout in. Yes, it keeps me up after the run. But I am usually wired post-workout anyway, that it doesn’t really make a huge difference.

Last night was a 13 mile workout – last workout before Boston. I started the workout at 8pm and for an extra boost of motivation, turned on the Olympic Marathon Trials.

2 up: 8:10, 7:53
3 x 3: (6:53, 5:53, 6:48) (6:48, 6:48, 6:44) (6:44, 6:39, 6:31)
with 2:30 recovery
1.4 down: 7:41, 7:35


After the workout, I was starving. I didn’t even shower immediately – just took off my sweaty clothes and threw on some sweats that needed to be washed anyway, with my robe and ate steak and potatoes (leftovers) standing up in the kitchen. With a glass of wine. At 10pm. Not glamorous at all. But the workout got done and I am one day closer to Boston!

Hope you are having a wonderful week! <3

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    6 thoughts on “Fueling: Long Runs, Workouts, Post-Work Runs

    1. I have been following you for a while and am truly inspired especially with your very early workouts on the treadmill. I am also running Boston and have similar goals to you, I believe. My Bib is 8845, so maybe we will see each other out there. Best of luck!

    2. I use a Simple Hydration bottle to carry my UCAN on the run and at races. It tucks into the back of your shorts and doesn’t need a hydration belt.

      I love UCAN! My husband got me hooked on it several years ago, and it really has made a difference in my fueling. I still haven’t quite nailed it for the marathon yet, but I’m close.

    3. Thank you so much for sharing this!! Do you eat breakfast in race days, or is it the same as your long runs?
      Random question, what kind of coffee creamer do you drink?