Marathon Fueling Tips

  November 5, 2011  |    Blog

This weekend is a very exciting weekend here in New York City. It’s the weekend of the ING New York City Marathon! Although we won’t be running in the race this year, we will be part of the excitement by cheering friends and clients on. For those of you who are running, here are some race day tips for fueling up before and during the race!

Before the race:
Race morning, you want to make sure to consume a few hundred calories to replenish the few hundred calories you expend while sleeping. This is NOT the time to experiment with new foods. Eat foods that you have eaten during your training and that you KNOW work for you.

A lot of people go for good options like bagels or English muffins with peanut butter and jelly, pancakes or waffles and syrup, Ensure, Fig bars, energy bars, sports drinks, and bananas. (When we have run long races in the past we ate our Mom’s homemade granola, it settled well in the stomach, didn’t bounce and gave us plenty of energy. Thanks mom!)

You want to make sure to eat enough, especially because the race start is late and most runners get to Staten Island a few hours before their race start time. Be a little conservative if you have a nervous stomach. If you wake up and eat breakfast very early and have a late start, bring something with you to the starting area, like some pretzels, an energy bar, or a gel to eat about 30-45 minutes before the start of the race.

During the race:
Your muscles are able to store about 2000 calories worth of glycogen; your muscles will break the glycogen down and use it as energy while you are racing. If you have eaten well in the days leading up to the race, you should have a fully loaded glycogen tank when you enter the race. Nice work!


Due to the length of a marathon, 26.2 miles, you may need to consume more (for most people this will be about 500-600 calories) in addition to the 2000 you have stored in order to finish the race without “hitting the wall”, or feeling like you’ve run out of energy, before reaching the finish line.

To do so, you should consume sports drinks or water and a sports gel frequently along the course. We recommend trying to hit most of the water stations along the course, which will be every mile starting at mile 4. Sports drinks are your best bet because they will hydrate you and give you calories, electrolytes and carbohydrates. But if you prefer to take sports gels, make sure you are hydrating with water every time you take them. To make the most of each water station, run to the far tables to avoid slowing down too much. Then, grab two cups of either water or sports drink. Pinch the top of the cup and pour into your mouth to help get the most liquid in your mouth instead of all over you. If you do this at most stations, you should get about 4 oz of liquid per station, you will be on track for consuming enough calories, electrolytes and liquid to keep you hydrated and give yourself the energy needed to run your best race.

If you are using sports gels, make sure to carry a few of your own. They may not be available at the water stations when you need them.

If you are racing this weekend, we wish you the best of luck. Run fast and, most importantly, enjoy the race! If you’re not racing, we hope to see you along the course cheering like us!

Please leave a comment and let us know if you’re running so that we can watch out for you and cheer you on. If you’re watching it, let us know and maybe we can cheer everyone on with you!

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