Pro advice for eating and drinking on the run when the mercury dips below freezing.
Cooler temperatures, whether from the last vestiges of the polar vortex, the normal pre-dawn chill or when the thermometer drops twenty degrees during your after-work run, can make on-the-go fueling a challenge—if you’ve ever tried to eat a frozen chew or drink ice cold water on a cold day, you can relate. Knowing that you need to eat and drink is a given, but there are logistics to consider, especially when setting out for long efforts away from the creature comforts (in this case warm beverages and soft food!) of home. We scored fueling tips from two athletes willing to run in any weather and who regularly experience temperature swings from well below freezing, to far above it all in a single run. Sari Anderson is a Carbondale, Colo.,-based champion trail runner, adventure racer and multi-sport athlete. Zeke Tiernan, who calls Aspen, Colo., home, has many top ultra finishes under his belt and can be found heading out for long trail hauls year-round.
RELATED: Last-Minute Winter Running Tips
Just say “no” to frozen food
Sari: “It’s important to avoid food that freezes easily. I find that most energy bars become so hard that they can crack my teeth. I’m a huge fan of the Honey Stinger energy chews as they are very easy to eat, even with gloves on, and don’t become too hard to chew.”
Zeke: “I mostly eat gels, one every 30 minutes when it’s really cold, and keep them close to my body, so they don’t freeze. Before I eat one, I’ll knead it to warm it up.”
Real Food Works
Sari: “I tend to eat more real food in cold weather. I find myself craving homemade date/nut balls, peanut butter and banana wraps, and trail mix. They’re easier to eat with gloves on (except the trail mix!) and keep me going longer.
Zeke: “For long runs, I like to take a bag of boiled and salted sweet potatoes to snack on.”
Mix Your Drinks
When it comes to what to drink, Sari has found that adding a sports drink to her bottle or bladder lowers the freezing temperature. On cold days, Zeke fills up with hot water—there’s no reason to drink and carry cold water if you don’t have to!
Both Sari and Zeke are proponents of sipping frequently, as often as every ten minutes, so they stay hydrated and their drinks are less likely to get slushy.
Sari: “On days when I use a hydration bladder in my pack, I’ll use an insulated hose sleeve and stick as much of the hose as possible in my jacket. If I’m carrying a bottle, I’ll keep it inside my race suit and use body heat to keep fluids from freezing.”
Zeke: “For really cold days, I’ll use bottles instead of a bladder with a hose. On days when I do use a bladder, I blow the water back into the bladder after I drink, so it doesn’t freeze in the hose.”