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Marathon Nutrition

Marathon Nutrition: Energy Bar, Drink, or Gel?

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Many marathon runners look for an energy boost during the race, but what’s the best source for this?

Sports Drinks and Gels

Sports drinks and sports gels are typically easy for your body to absorb. If you're doing an extended endurance event like a marathon or triathlon, these will likely be your go-to sources of carbohydrates.

There's no need to have a sports drink or sports gel if you're hanging around your office or you have a normal workout, like a 30-minute workout or a 40-minute spin class. You don't need that intense source of carbohydrates then.

But the extra dose of carbs can be much-needed for endurance events and workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes or so.

Energy Bars

Energy bars vary widely in their carb and protein content, so check the labels to find one that meets your needs in terms of protein and carb to fuel your workouts.

And think about the logistics, first: A bar may work well during a triathlon while you're on the bike, but it may be harder to eat mid-run.

The Verdict

Ultimately, most sports drinks, gels and energy bars are high in carbs and calorie-dense, making them a great fit for endurance energy, but maybe not so great if you’re just chilling and not burning so much energy.

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