Our Favorite Trail Snacks

Our Favorite Trail Snacks:

Pictured: Vanilla Honey Stinger Waffle, Justin's Honey/PB Blend, Swinging Bridge

Back into spring, into heavy training mode, that time when so many thoughts inevitably turn toward one of my favorite subjects: food.

Mmmm ... food.

In addition to the nutritional decisions we make for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, snack, after school snack, tapas, dinner, and dessert (Um, you have these decisions too, right?), we endurance athletes also have to put some thought into what sustains us out on the trail.

When running for 6-10 hours in a day, I have a few qualities I look for in my trail food:

Calories, taste, and palatability (does it sit well on the stomach?). I want a lot of calories for very little mass, I want it to be yummy, and I definitely do not want it to make me nauseous. I tend to fluctuate in various stages as to what I think qualifies as yummy, and I also have some old standbys that never wane. (For instance, back in 2009 I was in love with Berries-Go-Mega Odwalla Bars. Now? The very idea makes me want to throw up. I'm feeling a little queasy just typing this.)

I am one of those few runners who doesn't really love to talk gear. I think it's a result of having worked in gear stores for so long. (And plus, you know what? You really don't need most of that stuff! Shhhh!) But I can talk food forever! Especially while on trail.

So, I thought I'd share some of my trail food loves in the hopes that it will give you all some new ideas of what to try. I'm hoping, of course, for some of your brilliance in return.

Classic Standby: PBJ -Tastes good. Sits well. Always have it at home. Always available at aid stations.

Standard Race Fare: GU -Any flavor. Immediate rescue from an "inevitable" bonk.

Latest Favorite: Strawberry Honey Stinger Waffle with Justin's Chocolate/PB blend spread on top. OMG SO AWESOME! (Also amazing - Vanilla waffle with Nutella.)

Thirst Quenching: Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade Chews. Seriously, these taste like "cool and refreshing on a hot summer day." I don't know how they do it.

When I'm Feeling Pukey: GU Chomps. Calories that never come back up.

Early in a Run: banana, Mountain Mix Mojo Bar

Late in a Race: avocado with salt 

Post Run: Black Butte Porter (with a strawberry/watermelon GU Brew Recovery chaser)

So? Lay it on me friends. What do you love before, during, and after those long runs and races?