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Why Do Runners Eat During Long Runs?

Why Do Runners Eat During Long Runs?

Families are hitting the ground running in the new Run-Walk Experience and Fitness Path! In the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, you can become a runner for life, and work on building your muscles at the same time! 

You may see dedicated runners around the city or in your neighborhood. On weekends, they wear number badges and race for new personal-bests across the finish line. Has your mom or dad ever run a race like this? Three-mile races are really popular, but for longer races, like mini-marathons (13.1 miles!) or full marathons (26.2 miles!), you might notice people munching on snacks as they race by—but why? 

More energy please! Long runs are tiring...

And your body certainly feels it! You probably know that after a lot of playing with or racing your friends, you need a break. Well, that’s because you’ve run out of energy! 

When a runner runs for a long period of time, their bodies use up all of their stored carbohydrates (“carbs” for short). Carbs are contained in our food, and they are our main source for energy. The storage areas where carbs are kept is called glycogen. Once glycogen is depleted (usually between 45 and 60 minutes of running), runners need more fuel! 

What do they eat? 

Dried fruits, granola bars, and get this—even gummy bears! These foods are higher in carbs and sugars and lower in fats. They keep you going and don’t slow you down! 

"Stick with high-carb, sugary options with less fat and protein, such as dried fruits, honey, Fig Newtons, Twizzlers, or gummy bears," said Dr. Kristine Clark to our friends at Active.com.


When you visit the Cory SerVaas Fitness Path and Jane and Steve Marmon Run-Walk Experience, ask Mom or Dad to pack gummy bears. If they say no, tell them you need the carbs for your long run (and good luck!).

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Categories: Exhibits, Never Stop Asking Why
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