Science suggests that if runners fuel up their muscles and liver with glycogen before a big race, they won't tire out as quickly. Sports dietician Leslie Bonci suggests eating .45 grams (.02 ounces) of carbohydrates, about the equivalent of half a bagel with a tablespoon of jam, one hour before a long run. If eating before you run gives you a grumpy stomach, try drinking a 16-ounce (.47-liter) sports drink about 5 minutes before you head out.
To keep your body full of energy during your long runs, mix up the types of carbs you ingest. A mix of glucose, fructose and sucrose will improve the rate of carbohydrate absorption and help you feel the effects faster [source: Bonci]. Sports beans (or plain old jelly beans,) handfuls of nuts or raisins, and specially formulated gels (Accel, Gu) are easy to transport in pockets. Before you stuff a fanny pack with candy, however, Bonci also advises that "less is more" when it comes to carb-loading during a run.
For better recovery after your long runs, try to eat a small snack immediately after you finish running. The other half of your pre-run bagel or a handful of almonds should do the trick.
Before you plop down on your couch to munch your way to recovery, however, you should attend to another post-run ritual. Our next tip is all about stretching.