Low on fuel? Try these Long Run Energy Bites

Have you ever been a few miles from the end of a long run when everything starts to fall apart? 

How I look during a bad long run…

You start to feel shaky, lightheaded, and loopy. All of a sudden, you realize you’re crashing… hard.

Running low on fuel during a long run is common. That “out of it” feeling is from low blood sugar from not enough food both during and before the run. If you don’t want to feel like a zombie at the end of tough workouts then proper fueling is key.

Get it right and you’ll feel powerful as you finish strong with solid negative splits. Get it wrong and… well, you’d make a great extra in the next World War Z movie.

The topic of intelligent fueling is complex but today I want to simplify things for you. Below is a recipe from our Nutrition for Runners program to help you fuel before and during long runs.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s quick and easy. Fifteen minutes to prep with no fancy ingredients and you’re done!

Best of all? The recipe is vegan and can be gluten-free so it’s perfect for those with modified diets.

If you’re interested in more information on this topic, download our nutrition Q&A audio seminars here.

Let’s dive in.

Long Run Energy Bites Recipe

These energy bites are great for when you want on-the-run fuel that’s a little more substantial than your usual energy gel or drink.

Dates provide quick-release carbohydrates for immediate energy, in addition to some fiber and slow-release carbohydrates for sustained energy.long run energy bites

Oats and almonds also provide some fiber (but not too much – you know what we mean), keeping you full and energized after the immediate boost in blood sugar.

The fat and protein in almonds also contribute to satiety, making these bites great for the tail end of a long run, when you tend to get hungry for something besides just carbs.

Don’t worry – the fat and protein content aren’t high enough to cause any GI issues – although of course you’ll want to test this out before race day.

Recipe Info:

Makes 16 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes active + 1 hour in fridge

Cook time: none

*vegan, gluten free with GF certified oats

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups packed pitted dates (about 1 lb)
  • 1 cup toasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1 cup rolled oats (GF certified if necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until very finely ground and mixture holds together when pressed.
  2. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving excess plastic wrap hanging over the edges of the pan.
  3. Place the mixture in the pan in an even layer, then cover with the excess plastic and press down very firmly to pack the mixture in.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour to set, then turn the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board, peel back the plastic wrap, and cut into bite-size squares.

Want more recipe ideas? Sign up for our free nutrition series!

Runners, what other fueling options do you rely on to get you through hard workouts or long runs?

  • Do you have a “go-to” fuel that’s not an energy gel?
  • What do you eat for more staying power during a long run?
  • Which foods agree best (and worst…) with your stomach while running?

Or, have a question about this recipe? See you in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Just in time for Fall racing season. 🙂

    How do you store these and do you have a recommendation for usage (i.e. – how often/how many for a half marathon or long training run?

  2. David Townsend says:

    Made the recipe for Long Run Energy Bites. They taste great and I sure the ingredients will deliver. However, had no luck with being able to cut them into bars – it would just crumble. Any suggestions? I did follow the recipe.

    • The sugars in the dates and the fat from the almonds holds everything together. If yours aren’t pressing together, you either need more dates or to grind the ingredients more finely in the food processor. Glad you liked it!

  3. What’s the estimate for total carbs on this?

  4. My go-to for long runs is actually an energy “gel” but one I make myself and heat-seal into packets. (I’ve found the gels in the stores to be too thick and goopy for me and I can’t breathe while I’m trying to get them down. ) Mine’s–almost–a liquid version of these bars. It has dates, a couple additional sugar sources (brown rice syrup, honey), black strap molasses, cocoa powder, and peanut butter powder. It tastes a little too molasses-sy to me, but the cocoa and PB powderhelp and also cut the overwhelming sweetness of the sugars quite a bit. It’s easy to get down with some water.

    I will have to try these next time I make a batch of my mix–the “form factor” appeals to me.

  5. Jeremy Griffin says:

    Just made them. They taste wonderful! I may use them for dessert also instead reaching for ice-cream or something else sweet. I’ll use them before and run a long run, and I’ll let you know how it goes. I don’t mind GU but I don’t care for the taste of them that much.

  6. I make something similar – I soak dates (dried apricots, peaches etc, but dates are the sweetest) in warm water and then put them through a masticating juicer (without the juice screen on) to make a paste. I don’t have a food processor, so I use almond flour/meal from trader joe’s and some unsweetened flakey coconut from tj’s as well – roughly in equal parts, adding more date paste if needed. Next I mash it together and roll into balls. Sometimes I add unsweetened coco powder and/or instant coffee. I have never baked them, but that sounds like a good idea. I don’t eat grains, but the oats sound really good 😀 Thanks for all the great info!

  7. Looks great! But I do have one question. Would you put them in your pockets or how do you store them while running? I like to run with nothing on me otherwise I’d feel really uncomfortable. Does anyone else have this problem?

  8. Just cooked the Long Run Energy Bites Recipe.

    Absolutely brilliant, and very easy on the stomach.

    Thanks for the great recipe, I’ll share it for sure!

Trackbacks

  1. […] of running and other endurance events – if you’re sick of gels and gummies, give my Long Run Energy Bites a try. The recipe is featured over on Strength Running this […]

  2. […] of running and other endurance events – if you’re sick of gels and gummies, give my Long Run Energy Bites a try. The recipe is featured over on Strength Running this […]