I recently posted on IG about intra-workout fueling during my trail runs, and I received many DMs asking, "how the heck do you eat and run?!", so I thought I'd address it.
I thought the same thing originally!
Am I going to choke?
I can barely breathe as it is, how am I supposed to chew and digest at the same time?!
All valid questions.
Let's break it down.
Eating early and often is key. If you are hiking or running for more than 1.5 hours, I'd start whippin' out snacks at about the 45-minute mark. The energy your body is exerting needs to be replenished to
1, continue to feel good and energized,
2, function properly and avoid bonking, and
3, to recover well after the session.
Think simple, easily digestible carbs (30-45g).
Lately, I've been enjoying CLIF Blocks and Honey Stinger Waffles.
I know many who like Gels, but I haven't gotten around to trying them yet.
Whatever you choose, you'll likely need to trial and error to see what your stomach can handle. Some can handle more fiber than others (things like CLIF bars have a little fiber).
Hiking and eating is a bit more straight forward. Walk, eat, enjoy views.
Running and eating is the more daunting one, in my opinion. I'd recommend eating when either you have your heart rate stabilized in or around HR Zone 2, you're going downhill (likely easier on the lungs), or you have a chance to slow down to a walking pace to eat. Nose breathing may help control your breathing as you chew, too.
Start with snacks you know you like and that are easy to chew. Branch out as it becomes more natural to you.
Happy hiking (and eating)!