These Are Our Favorite Nutrition and Hydration Options for Runners

A runner mixes a Maurten hydrogel drink

Your car can’t run without fuel, and neither can you.

A runner's diet should consist of a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods. But it's not easy to pack and eat your Thai quinoa salad while you're running, so you'll need some on-the-go options for long workouts and races.

Nutrition and hydration for runners can be tricky subjects, though, especially if your stomach can’t handle certain foods. Luckily, there are countless options to try when you’re gearing up for a big workout.

From drinks and energy gels to chews and solid foods, here are some of our favorite nutrition products for runners.

A tube of nuun Vitamin drink tabs in blueberry pomegranate

nuun

Hydration is important to peak athletic performance, and nuun wants you to hydrate better.

The Seattle, Washington-based company started by creating electrolyte replacement drinks without carbs (read: sugar) to keep you hydrated during your workouts. Most nuun products have 1-2 grams of sugar per serving and come in dozens of flavors like Ginger Lemonade, Cherry Limeade and Mango Orange.

Each serving of nuun comes packed into a dissolvable tablet. You can throw a tube into your backpack, plop a tablet into your water and sip stay hydrated on your way to work or a far away race.

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A packet of Maurten Hydrogel endurance fuel for runners

Maurten

Maurten is relatively new to the endurance sports world, but it’s making a name for itself by powering elite athletes to dominant wins.

The secret behind Maurten is hydrogel. Maurten harnessed the properties of natural ingredients—alginate from the cells of brown algae, and pectin, found in produce like apples, lemons and carrots—to create the three-dimensional hydrogel structure. Then, they stuffed it with the human body’s favorite performance fuel: carbohydrates.

The hydrogel facilitates easy transportation of carbs through the stomach and into the intestine, where they’re absorbed without upsetting your tummy. And the results speak for themselves: marathon runners fueling with Maurten won Tokyo, Boston and London in 2019, and they took down Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York in 2018.

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The lemon-lime flavored drink mix from Skratch Labs

Skratch Labs

Skratch Labs started in a home kitchen when a sports scientist was looking for a way to keep his professional cycling team hydrated. It has since grown into a full lineup of hydration, energy and recovery products.

The original Skratch Labs hydration mix delivers a hit of electrolytes to match what you actually lose in sweat (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium), and it’s flavored only with real fruit for a naturally delicious drink. 

When you finish your workout, the Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Mixgives you a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein, designed to help you recover faster.

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GU Energy

The “GU” in GU Energy comes from the texture of the gooey gel sealed into each packet. The “Energy” comes from carbohydrates and amino acids.

A doctor worked up the GU Energy gel when his daughter struggled to fuel for the Western States ultramarathon. His recipe of carbs and amino acids supported her run better than other products on the market at the time, and the company was formed.

Now, GU sells their original gels in an array of flavors, like Birthday Cake, Campfire S’Mores and Salted Watermelon, but they also have gummy chews and solid food, like Stroopwafels, to get—and keep—you going.

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