Anyone who knows me well is likely aware that I have a major sweet tooth. Seriously. I cannot be trusted to keep any candy around our apartment and have it last for more than a few days (sometimes even a single day is asking too much). My love of candy, coupled with the fact that my birthday is the day after Halloween, has forever cemented All Hallow’s Eve as my absolute favorite holiday. Dressing up in costume and getting jacked up on candy immediately followed by a day of cake and presents? BEST. THING. EVER. Especially if you’re under the age of 12. Let’s be honest, though, I’m 24 and I still get super excited about it. But enough about me. Believe it or not, I am writing today to use my candy obsession for good! We’ve talked before about the importance of fueling your body properly before, during, and after a run, and turns out candy can be a great (and often cheaper) alternative to all of those fancy energy bars and gels. They can even be the better option for people who struggle with tummy troubles from consuming gels, or for people like me who have food allergies (peanuts are a common ingredient in almost all energy bars). Of course, not all candies are created equal, so I’ve put together a list of the best Halloween favorites for runners. Enjoy!
1. Smarties/Sweet Tarts. Simple candies like Smarties and Sweet Tarts are great for runners because they are easy to pack and take with you on a run and can be popped into your mouth for a quick sugar boost. Those little cylinders of Smarties that are popular on Halloween work especially well for this purpose. The tartness is also effective at helping fight dry mouth.
2. Life Savers. Fruity hard candies like Life Savers are another great option to take with you on a run. These provide a longer-lasting candy experience during your run, similar to chewing a piece of Quench Gum (minus the chewing). They are also a good choice for people who want to juice up their taste buds during shorter runs (3-5 miles), when a full serving of a carb-rich snack isn’t needed. At only 20 calories per piece, it would be difficult to go overboard. Peppermint and spearmint hard candies are also a good option during runs, and have been reported by some to help settle their stomachs.
3. Gummy bears/Jellybeans. For those of your who prefer a chewier, longer lasting in-run snack, gummy bears or jellybeans might be for you! Jelly Belly actually makes energy-boosting jellybeans now, called Sport Beans, that have added vitamin B, C, and electrolytes. The Fruit Punch and Orange flavors are particularly tasty, but keep in mind that it might be best to stick with regular jellybeans if your stomach is easily upset by other energy-boosting products like gels.
4. Snickers/Almond Joy/Hershey’s with Almonds. Chocolate bars with nuts in them, or small candies like Peanut M&Ms, can be a good after-run snack. If you can, you should try to snag the dark chocolate versions of these candies, as dark chocolate has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure and inflammation. Furthermore, nuts, especially almonds, are a fantastic source of vitamin E and can help lower cholesterol and even fight cancer! These candies can pack a punch when it comes to calories, though, so be sure to keep an eye on the amount you are consuming, and save the full-size bars for a snack after your longer runs (>1-2 hours). Luckily, Halloween means that fun-size bars are available in excess at most grocery stores!
5. Candy Corn. I’ve saved, what I consider, the best for last. Candy corn, a candy that is as Halloween as Halloween itself, is my favorite in-run snack. It is quick and easy to eat, travels well, and is super delicious! What makes candy corn even better is that the most common brand found on shelves at Halloween (Brach’s) is sweetened with sugar, corn syrup, and honey, instead of the high fructose corn syrup found in a lot of candies today. I’ve been using candy corn as a fuel source since it hit shelves this fall, and have found that my taste buds and stomach prefer it to more complex gels or gummy energy candies, like ShotBlox.
So, readers of Technically Running, don’t think of those candy-lined aisles of grocery stores from late August to early November as a threat to your physical fitness, think of them as a great (and usually on-sale) source of energy for your long runs! Do you have any favorite candies that you consume on runs? Tell us about it in the comments! Now, where did Steven hide our Halloween candy?
Featured image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Meagan is a geochemistry research lab manager, runner, Netflix binge-watcher, and Mom to a rescue dog, a bunny, and a human child. She started running in May 2011 and ran her first half marathon in October 2012, followed by her first marathon in October 2013. In July 2018, she joined the triathlon world and completed an Olympic-distance race. After an extended break (pregnancy/maternity leave), she is making a long-overdue return to running and is preparing for a high-elevation half marathon at Crater Lake National Park in August 2020.