Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the gels, chews, etc. that most runners use for fuel before and during their workout, especially when there’s such a great natural alternative! I’ve never been able to stomach traditional whole-food running fuel like bananas either, so when I found medjool dates, I was floored by how my body reacted!
When you look at a typical gel, they usually contain about 100 calories, 25g of carbs, 0g of fat, and 0g of protein. One pitted medjool date has 65 calories, 18g of carbs, 0g of fat, and 0g of protein. See? Their macronutrient profiles are nearly identical!
Not only do dates have a very comparable macronutrient profile, but they have small amounts of naturally occurring minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc. Medjool dates also contain small amounts of naturally occurring vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K. These micronutrients really start to add up if you consume 2-3 dates before and/or during your workout!
I have quite the sensitive stomach while I run. In fact, all of my workouts are fasted workouts. I try to experiment on some of my longer runs (10+ miles) so that I can prepare myself for race morning. I’ve never experienced any digestive issues – it’s a miracle! There’s nothing better than heading out for a run knowing that you won’t have to stop for the dreaded bathroom break! It’s the same amount of sugar as a piece of fruit, but little-to-no volume so the chances that you’ll experience digestive distress are slim-to-none!
They are really easily to put into a baggie and slip into the pocket of your running shorts or bring with you to a race. Just be sure to remove the pits so you don’t crack a tooth!