September 12, 2018

Candy as Running Fuel? {My Top 4 Favorites}


Disclosure: The products from Goetzes were received complimentary to review and share. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.


As I mentioned in my last post (all about my favorite runner recovery tools!) I am just finishing up training for my 7th marathon. So many questions. How did this happen? I guess I really am a marathoner instead of a person who ran a couple marathons now? Don’t you get hungry on long run. The answer to that last question is definitely yes. I usually always eat a little something before long runs and practice fueling so my body is used to what’s going to be happening on race day. Typically I don’t eat during runs if my run is less than 75 minute-ish. I do fuel more on race day than I do in training runs too. I’m a fan of Honey Stinger Ginsting gels (like caffeinated honey in a packet), Huma gels, and GU gels. I do take some chews on middle distance runs or half marathons. In a pinch though, I always turn to adding some candy into my fueling. Or taking a Ziploc bag of Swedish Fish with me on a 13 mile run. It’s kind of an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth, but also is pure sugar running fuel.  


For marathoners, it is recommended to intake 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour, depending on his or her speed and size. Carbohydrate gels like the ones I mentioned I use or even Sports Beans contain between 20-25 grams of carbohydrate per packet. If you look at some of these candies, they contain 20-27 grams of carbohydrate per serving as well.

mini Cow Tales vs. Birthday Cake GU

This is really talking about marathon distance over other distances. Fully carb loaded, your body can only store about 60-90 minutes of carbohydrates. For more information on marathon fueling check out this awesome post via Charm City Run’s blog. Typically you only need to fuel. Anyways, you want some fast, pure sugar coursing through your veins fast so why not turn to candy. This article from Runner’s World does a nice job of explaining the pros and cons of using candy as fuel.  

Pros of Using Candy as a Fuel

-It is delicious
-Candy is cheaper than most running fuel.
-Candy can be bought at any convenience store, drug store, etc.
-It’s sugar.

Cons of Using Candy as Fuel

-Some studies show that taking in more than one type of sugar carbohydrate can speed absorption and lower chances of GI issues
-It doesn’t include any electrolytes or caffeine like many of the running fuels do.
-Most candy contains artificial colors and preservatives which aren’t the healthiest/best for you and may cause GI distress.

So I’d say try it for yourself. It’s a nice way to switch up fueling for a run or if you happen to find yourself without fancier running fuel on you. Again, I love candy as a supplement to my gels for longer distances, something to eat before an afternoon/evening run or to eat during a middle distance run. 


These 4 candies are my favorite running fuel candy options which are tried and true for me. Again, always test any new fueling out to see if your body tolerates it during a training run :) 

1 . Swedish Fish

First of all I love Swedish Fish period. They are a little chewy, with that delicious strawberryish flavor. They don’t take a lot of chew when I’m on the run and also don’t melt a ton. Unfortunately for any other time but fortunately for running, you only need a handful to make a serving so there isn’t a ton of candy you need to consume at once.

2. Gummy Bears

Another delicious candy. This option is great because you can bring one serving which is usually somewhere between 12-17 bears give or take (depending on brand) so you have lots of little bites of sugar. With gummy bears you also get a few different flavors in each handful.They can get gooey or involve a lot of chewing, so they aren’t always the best mid-run option.

3. Cow Tales

Caramels with a little creamy center. These do have some milk ingredients in the cream which can be iffy when choosing candy as fueling because the fat can cause GI issues plus is slower digesting-they are also wheat-based if you have any allergies. Popping a few of these in my mouth before a run hasn’t been a problem for me so far with my already very sensitive stomach (hasn’t made anything worse) so I’d say as with anything, try it and see how your body likes it.

These are individually wrapped and don’t melt which is a plus. I used to eat these all the time as a kid and love how chewy and delicious they are. Goetze's Candy , which I found out was a Maryland-based company, was nice enough to send me some Caramel Creams and mini Cow Tales since I’m such a sweet tooth. Let’s just saw these did not last very long, with and without running!

4. Twizzlers

Twizzlers are a weird strawberry chewy candy that I happen to like. They cemented themselves as a great running candy when I grabbed a few from a stranger during the Boston Marathon at one of the middle miles when I was freezing cold, soaking wet, and candy seemed like a good idea. Despite it being a monsoon, Twizzlers do not get gross when wet! It was also something that was easy to hold and take a few bites out with while running. I was actually snacking on a serving of them before a couple afternoon workouts last week!


Do you use any nontraditional or runner-specific fueling options?



10 comments:

  1. I used to keep candy corn at my desk and in my fuel belt year round. Then I got pregnant and developed an aversion. I haven't touched one since ;)

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    1. Oooh man, that's interesting! I usually only eat candy corn around Halloween.

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  2. Love the swedish fish option! I trained for and ran one marathon back in 2014. I used the gels to train and for the actual marathon. I ran out of gels at mile 24 I ran into another woman that was like me and just wanted to drag herself across the finish for her first and only marathon and she was using the swedish fish and handed me a few! Love them and her!!

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    1. That's so awesome to hear! Swedish fish are a really good choice and are similar to some of the chews out there.

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  3. I usually stick to Honey Stinger chews for my fueling needs, but on a couple of occasions, I haven't had any available for whatever reason. I've done fruit snacks a couple of times, and once I popped into a CVS and bought a bag of Gummy Savers before an afternoon run to use as fuel. I don't think I'd want to use those most of the time, but it got the job done in a pinch, and that's what mattered to me!

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    1. Yes they are great options that you can get anywhere. For longer runs I usually supplement with candy and keep things interesting-I need something to look forward to if I am not switching up my runner fuel much!

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  4. I have used Gummi bears and swedish fish too. They are my favorite candies so adding them to running makes it all that much sweeter.

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    1. Same, although I find it's dangerous to have candy for running laying around my house because I often eat it just because it's yummy.

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  5. I don't think using candy for fuel is a bad idea at all! If the taste suits your needs and you can stomach it, I say go for it!

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    1. Exactly, I think sometimes runners think they need to use sports-specific carb and sugar options!

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