Natural Running Fuel

When I first started my added sugar ban I thought about the difficulties of buying things like sauces, soups and of course, how much I would miss my 4pm chocolate hit. What I hadn’t even considered was my upcoming half-marathon, and what I would use for fuel. I’m used to using Gu’s, in particular Salted Caramel Gu, which I love, however definitely has added sugar. I spoke to some friends about what they use and came up with this great selection of ideas;

Baby Food

This is actually the option I went for during the North London Half. I opted for Ella’s Kitchen ‘The Green One’ an organic mix of apples, pears, bananas and kiwi. It actually tasted great and was exactly the hit I needed. If these came in smaller pouches I would definitely take them more regularly on my runs, and think they would be fab as ‘real food’ in ultra runs. There’s such a huge selection of pureed fruit for kids, just make sure you check that it’s only naturally sweetened with no extras!

Natural Run Fuel


Dried Fruit and Nuts

Bringing a little bag of dried raisins, figs, pineapple, or even peanut butter filled dates (thanks for the idea Anne), along with some salted nuts would make a great energy source for a sugar and salt hit! If you’ve got spectators on the way you could get them to hold pre-cut fresh fruit.

Homemade Energy Balls 

They may end up a little squished, but making your own energy balls like my Sultana Energy Balls, means you can control exactly what goes in them, and make them with all your favourite ingredients. If I was making these for a run, I would actually miss out the flaxseeds to reduce the fibre a little.

Sultana Energy Balls


Whether they’re homemade or bought, (Nakd bars are a great no-added sugar option) bars can be great on long runs when you have time to stop and eat them. Personally I don’t think I could eat this while running during a race, however if you cut them up beforehand to easily stuff in your mouth then this could be a great option!

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bar from Lean Green Bean


Homemade sports drinks

For shorter runs, often a sports drink is more than enough energy. These homemade sports drink recipes from Daily Burn are great, or you could make up your own recipe, to include water, something sweet like fruit juice, and salt. Salt is key- don’t omit it!! I imagine a Margherita style drink would be amazing in the summer!


What do you use for fuel on your runs?


  1. misszippy1
    March 20, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Great ideas! I love the idea of fueling with real food, not all the commercial crap that’s out there.

  2. March 20, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    These are great ideas! I’ll have to try the homemade energy drinks!

  3. March 20, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    I am all about the nakd bars and oranges this year. There’s something so refreshing about having fresh orange segments mid run.

  4. March 22, 2015 / 8:42 am

    haha i was going to write this exact post, as I was faced with the same predicament on long runs! I tried Ellas Kitchen but agreed the packaging was just too big. Now I have a bag of dried fruit with broken up nakd bars in too. Think today I’ll try filling my medjool dates with nut butter…. yum x

  5. March 22, 2015 / 3:44 pm

    Thanks for including my natural sports drinks story 🙂

    • charlotte
      March 31, 2015 / 10:26 am

      No problem! Love all the daily burn stuff!

    • charlotte
      March 31, 2015 / 10:19 am

      Thanks Abby!

  6. Gail
    February 21, 2016 / 3:48 am

    When you run using a natural sports drink do you also have to take water

    • charlotte
      February 21, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      I do, yes!

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