Running fuel

When I was on my way to the start of the marathon the other weekend I was horrified to see about a dozen marathon runners in the queue at the burger van.

It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it to be honest. I really can’t think of anything much worse than eating a big greasy burger before running 42km. Yuk!

So what is the best fuel for running?

If you have done a marathon before you will have noticed that most organisers will invite you to a pasta party the night before. Pasta is a great thing to eat the night before the marathon but as I can’t eat wheat, mine is always the free from version, which I have at home as you won’t find that at a pre-run event.

On the morning of a race I have never been able to eat or drink much. I  hate the feeling of running on a full tummy or equally running with the feeling of loads of fluid bouncing up and down.

It really is personal preference though as illustrated by the dozen runners at the burger stand that morning.

That said, my top tips for fueling your run are:

  • The day before the race drink non fizzy drinks at regular intervals to boost hydration
  • Eat pasta the night before
  • Chew your food particularly well the day before to aid digestion
  • The morning of the race avoid tea, coffee and hot chocolate
  • Eat a banana when you are getting ready
  • Take something like a Clif Bar with you and eat it on the way for slow release energy
  • Sip water and an energy drink the morning of the race …don’t glug it down

runnng fuel

You will see some people wearing a belt full of energy gels. I think this is a bit unessessary but again it is personal choice.  Many marathons hand these out so having a couple at low points is normally enough.  If you have a small pocket pop a few jelly babies in … you will be patting yourself on the back for that one as the day goes on.

Enjoy and run on!

Fitness 4 Mamas


  1. Can you see me nodding? I am the same cannot run marathons on a full stomach, and both times bananas were the only thing I had on the morning before the big run. I love pasta and always had plenty the night before and also after the run. I think it really depends on where you run as I remember in london there were energy gels everywhere, but when I ran in Prague there were none but they had my favourite bananas, salt and sugar and plenty of energy drinks. I personally do not jelly beans, but have seen loads of people munching on them. Soon will start properly training for the Venice Marathon this October, so love reading your #marathon posts 😉 Thanks for linking again #FitnessTuesday

  2. I’m right with you on the pasta and bananas but have found gels really useful. I just run out of steam without them and when I’ve taken them regularly throughout marathons they’ve kept my energy levels up nicely. I’ve found some that I like as they’re very liquid and not too sweet. I’d love to use real food but don’t think I could stomach it en route. I did suck fresh oranges in Mallorca- delicious! #FitnessTuesday

  3. Wow – just the fact that you run marathons amazes me, I’m not sure I could do it! Great advice though and I’ll be sure to check back if I ever do try to run a marathon. #FitnessTuesday

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