Marathon Nutrition

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about in regards to training is my nutrition.  I can run all of the miles I want and prepare physically but one thing I know I need to work on from last years marathon is nutrition.  Last year at the NYCM was a bit of a disaster as far as nutrition and timing goes and here is why:

I was up at 3am (technically 4 because the clocks fell back).  The race started for me close to 10am.  That is 7 hours of being awake before actually running.  If you know me in real life you know I struggle not eating before a run.  I normally wake up hungry.   I can eat about an hour before running (normally) and not have a lot of issues.

Here is my timeline before the race:

3:00am: wake up have a waffle with peanut butter and coffee

Take the train to the ferry to the bus to the corral.

7:00am: have a bagel with peanut butter and more coffee as well as hot water because it was cold outside.

9am: have a gel

9:50 (I think or was it 9:40) start the race.

I consumed roughly 1000 calories before the actual race.  Before a race that I could wake up a couple hours beforehand I wouldn’t consume nearly that much.  Before all of my long training runs, half marathons and other races I generally eat about 400-500 calories, 2 hours prior.  (This included the majority of my training runs).

I didn’t practice this (at all) beforehand.  I pretended as if it wasn’t real life and went along with it.  I knew what I was going to do, but had not actually tried it.  (You know the age old wisdom, don’t try anything new the day of race…).

I took 3 gels along the way of the course.  Maybe that was enough, maybe not.  Looking back, I claimed that I have never been that tired during a race.  It was most defeinetly true.  The marathon humbled me a lot.  That being said, it wasn’t like my pace went from 7:15 miles to 10 minute miles.  It went more like 7:20 miles to 7:30 miles.

I do still think nutrition played a large role in my training and race day.  It is something I’m actively looking to improve this training cycle. I do know during my next marathon, I think I’ll take four gels.  (Past that I really don’t know).

I don’t really know about main nutrition yet.  For my training runs and half marathons I’ve found eating two hours beforehand has normally always worked for me.  (There have been a few exceptions that I’ve just felt off).  I am hoping I’ll be able to do something similar.  It’s a constant challenege I guess.

Questions for you:

How do you fuel yourself for marathons?

How long do you need between eating and running?