Dialing in your nutrition strategy is key to maintaining optimal performance throughout your races and getting the most out of your training runs. Use the information below and free running calorie intake calculator to estimate how many calories per hour you should be consuming while running.
The calculator below will give you a lower and upper calories per hour consumption range based on your weight and average pace. Keep in mind, most runners will need to train their gut during workouts to handle the upper calorie range listed to avoid any GI distress.
How Many Calories Should Runners Be Eating While Running?
While running, the body fuels itself with primarily with muscle and liver glycogen, then fat, and when necessary protein. However, we have a limited store of glycogen to pull from, usually between 1400 and 2000 Calories worth depending on muscle mass and body size. So, to avoid running low on glycogen and hitting the dreaded wall( aka "bonking") runners need to supplement with additional fuel during workouts and races beyond 1.5-2 hours long.
Runners should aim to replenish 25-35% of their energy expenditure per hour. For example, if you're burning 600 Calories per hour, you should be replacing between 150 Calories and 210 Calories per hour with the macronutrient make up coming mostly from carbohydrate.
Free Running Calorie Intake Calculator
Enter your weight and average running pace to get an estimate of how many Calories you should be eating per hour while running. Use the estimates below during training workouts to experiment with what Calorie intake allows you to maintain performance without causing any GI distress.
Example Breakdown Of A Runner's Calorie Intake Per Hour
A 150 lbs. runner with an average running pace of 10:00 min/mi would be expending roughly 668 Calories/hour. To meet the 25%-35% of expenditure goal, the runner would need to eat between 167 Calories and 234 Calories per hour. Their nutrition strategy for one hour could look like the following:
- Muir Energy Red Raspberry Energy Gel - 115 Calories
- 16 ounces of sports drink - 80 Calories
- 8-16 ounces of water - 0 Calories
- Total Calories: 194 Calories
Learn more about using energy gels in training and racing by reading our energy gel guide here.