written by The Trail Co. on 2 February 2022
Food and drink consumed on the run is widely known as "nutrition" in trail running, and it comes in various shapes and sizes. Common forms of trail running nutrition are powders you add to water, bars, gels, and of course every-day normal food – all of which are packed with calories (units of energy) and / or electrolytes (essential salts for hydration) to keep you going on the trails for extended periods of time.
Trail running nutrition is made up of three simple parts: energy, hydration, and recovery products – all of which are designed to deliver different types of macro-nutrients that your body needs, or uses faster during extended or strenuous exercise.
Your body can only store so much energy and electrolytes, and depending on how hard you are running, your body will generally deplete those stores during long training runs and events. Taking in nutrition while you run is a great way to keep your body fuelled without having to run loops past your car, or come to a grinding halt when you ‘hit the wall’. Nutrition is especially important on long training runs and races, where finishing wouldn’t be possible without replenishing your body’s lost nutrients mid-run. Hello aid stations and sports nutrition.
Our guide below gives you some of the products we have tried and tested, and use for long training runs and events, to stay hydrated, and to help recover afterwards.
Energy gels are sachets of fast-acting carbohydrates, often mixed with electrolytes to deliver easily absorped energy and a top-up of essential salts quickly. Gels are easy to carry as they are small, and it doesn’t matter if you squash them in a pocket or running pack; simply rip off the top and squeeze the contents into your mouth. Think of them like a thick glug of maple syrup that you wash down with some water. Alternatively, you can add a gel to a small flask of water to dilute it and sip on-the-go.
Energy gel flavours, packet size, consistency, and number of calories vary from brand to brand, so it’s worth trying a few energy gel types and flavours to find one you like.
Energy bars are pretty similar in style to a granola bar but formulated with nutrients to meet the needs of higher energy expenditure while training, or recovering from running.
Energy bars are a great alternative to energy gels if you don’t like the goopy texture, or prefer a more ‘real’ food, and can be consumed before or after training or racing to get extra calories in, simply. Available in single serves, these bars are an easy way to keep track of how much energy you’re putting in as you train or race, and pack into running vest pockets easily.
Simply put, hydration for trail running is drinking to keep your body’s balance of water and electrolytes in check. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium help your body to hold water in your cells, and are lost as your body cools itself by sweating. It’s important to manage the intake of water and electrolytes before, during, and after long training runs and races, to keep you healthy and allow your body to perform at it’s best. Drinking water alone may not meet your body’s needs, so practising your hydration strategy for different climates and distances is an important part of training.
The term ‘The Trail Co. Pty Ltd’ or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is . Our ABN is 90609730985. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website.
We are committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
The policy may be occasionally updated. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you agree with any changes.
What we collect
The Trail Co. may collect the following information:
What we do with the information we gather
The Trail Co. require this information to further understand your needs and improve our service, in particular for the following reasons:
We do not share your data
The Trail Co. will not share your data with any third party for marketing purposes, and you will not receive offers from other companies or organisations as a result of providing us with your details.
You can unsubscribe at any time
Although The Trail Co. would like to stay in touch, you can unsubscribe at any time - simply click on the unsubscribe link in any of our emails or contact us via the website to unsubscribe from our mailing list.
The Trail Co. take your security very seriously and take all reasonable steps to keep your personal information secure. Personal information may be stored both electronically on our computer system, and in hard-copy form. We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable procedures to safeguard and secure your information.
The Trail Co. use traffic log cookies to identify page usage. This helps analyse data about customer traffic, allowing the website to be improved, based on customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and this data is then removed from the system.
Cookies provide you with a better website experience by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful. A cookie does not give The Trail Co. access to your computer or any personal, other than the data you have chosen to share.
You are able to either accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers now automatically accept cookies, but you can usually change your browser settings to decline cookies. However, this may prevent you from taking full advantage of the The Trail Co. website.
Links to other websites
The Trail Co. website may contain links to other websites. However, once you have used these links and have left our site, you should note that The Trail Co. has no control over other websites. We therefore cannot be responsible for the protection of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites. These external sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website you are visiting.
Controlling your personal information
You can restrict the collection or use of your personal information:
If you believe that any information The Trail Co. is holding about you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us.