So, way back in January, a friend suggested I should sign up for my first full marathon.  I’d always sworn that this was something I would NEVER do, but as it happens, good friends can be quite persuasive.  With roughly half a dozen half marathons and countless 5k and 10k races under my belt, I figured maybe it was a good time to go ahead and make the leap.  Training began back in June, 16 weeks of training, ultimately ending at the start line on October 13th at the Chicago Marathon.

I haven’t spoken a whole lot about it here, mostly because I’m trying to avoid being this person….

marathon ecard

marathon-ecard copy

I’m not sure my family would agree I’ve been very successful.  Thankfully, my partner in this endeavor (or BRF–best running friend–as we will call her), and I hash out most of our ‘marathon talk’ in daily texts and long runs.

With roughly 11 weeks down, and 5 more to go, there are a lot of things I’ve learned during this period of training.  Things like…

  • I sweat more than anyone I know.  Hydrating and fueling well are everything.
  • There are thousands of marathon running pages of Facebook ready and willing to answer ANY question you may have about running 26.2.
  • During a long run, Salted Caramel GU tastes nothing short amazing.
  • Chafing is almost as torturous as running 20 miles.
  • A beautiful sunrise makes the 4:30am wake up call worth it.
  • The term ‘runger’ has a whole new meaning.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had this kind of hunger in my life…the day after a 20 miler I could eat nonstop.

Eating & Marathon Training

Not to worry, this isn’t going to turn into a running blog. However, eating well during marathon training is a must and probably the biggest lesson (right next to hydrating and body glide) that I’ve learned during these weeks of training.  So, in keeping with my food blog roots my BRF and I came up with some of our favorite foods and indulgences that have helped us to log the many miles training for 26.2 requires.

  • Bananas (great pre-run fuel)
  • Margherita Pizza with whole grain crust
  • Whole Grain English Muffins with peanut butter or almond butter
  • Anything of the Mexican food variety….homemade nachos, enchiladas, fresh tomato salsa with blue corn chips
  • Egg white omelet with goat cheese
  • Overnight oats with greek yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Watermelon (a great post run, hydrating snack)
  • Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
  • Ice Cream
  • Black Bean and Sweet Potato bowl–this is one of my personal favorites.  A baked sweet potato topped with black beans, sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado, a dollop of greek yogurt, chopped pepper and a bit of salsa.  Maybe a few blue corn chips on the side.  Nicely filling, satisfying that ever present ‘runger’ I spoke of earlier.
  • Kind Bars—I discovered these bars about a year ago and have been slightly obsessed with them ever since.  After a long run, I usually don’t feel much like eating right away, but when I’m finally  hungry, I reach for one of these.  They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty, protein and carbs.  My enjoyment of these bars isn’t just limited to post run snacks.  I always carry one in my purse and will often pack them in the boys lunch boxes as dessert.  Generally, I have found them in Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but was excited to learn that they are now carried in the pharmacy section at Target too.

Eating and Marathoning

So, now it’s your turn!  Have you run 26.2, or any distance for that matter?  What advice do you have for fueling….or just plain survival when it comes to training and race day?  This newbie marathoner would love all the help she can get!

3 Responses to How to Eat During Marathon Training

  1. Lucinda says:

    I’m excited for you to run your first marathon! I ran Chicago last fall when I was 8 weeks pregnant (had no idea). It’s a great race, fast course, and very well-organized by the race directors. You should be set for an excellent debut! I actually just wrote a post about marathon training tips at:

    Good luck! p.s. I’m ALL about that sweet potato bowl – sounds AMAZING!

  2. Susan says:

    I will be running Chicago, too! It will be my second – I guess 4 years was enough time to forget about how hard it is to run a marathon. Good luck!!

  3. Kristin says:

    I’ve run three half marathons and handful of 5Ks, and definitely found that good eating is so essential to training and racing well! Pre-run, what I eat depends on the time of day and distance I plan to go. I can do a quick 3-5 mile morning run without eating beforehand, and usually refuel with a protein/carb combo (eggs and toast, yogurt and granola). If I run in the evening, I (strangely enough) love eating oatmeal with cranberries, almonds, flax seeds post-run. Orange slices and pretzels during the race or immediately after taste awesome – you get the salty, sweet, and wet all in there. Overall, I think the best advice I received about during-the-race eating was: Do what you did during training. Your body will know what it’s already experienced — so if you drank a ton of water, or had energy gels, or didn’t eat during your training runs, do that for your race! I didn’t eat during my most recent half marathon since I hadn’t done any training runs with food (though I probably would need to if I was running twice as far!), and it went great. Hope you have an awesome experience!

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