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Optimizing Marathon Run Fueling: Latest Updates and Strategies

Let's talk about run fueling. I am in the middle of training for the Chicago marathon. I'm about halfway through my training cycle, so there are nine weeks left until race day. Fueling for this race and this training cycle has been one of the things I am focused on. In my last three marathon training cycles I feel like fuel is something that I've really struggled with. I have it down for the half marathon and less but once we get to the marathon distance, I struggle not only on the run but also in my everyday life, making sure I'm feeling enough (shout out to Stephanie Darby who is an RD that I am working with to fix the everyday fueling)

I feel like I’ve really nailed down long run fuel and so I wanted to share with you what I'm doing, what I'm loving, and why I feel like it's working this time when it hasn't worked in the past.

Pre-Run Fueling

I am either doing a Nature's Bakery bar and a banana or two Eggo waffles and some syrup

and sometimes throwing in a banana or an applesauce pouch while I wait for my run club, trying to make sure I'm getting those 50g of carbs or more in.

During the run, depending on how humid it is, I am putting just a third of a container of Tailwind in my hydration pack. I have a 50 Oz hydration pack that I'm using on long runs that

I love, so I'm throwing just a third which is a little over a tablespoon of Tailwind in that. That's about 13g of carbs and I sip on that over the course of the entire long run, so 12-14-16 however many miles my long run is. Every half an hour I try to take in some sort of fuel. I'm not always nailing that part especially as I'm trying new fuel.

Long Run Fuel

Right now, my favorite long run fuel is still the Huma Plus. It has the electrolytes so I don't need to worry about having them in my liquid. Having just water in my hydration pack or very watered down Tailwind helps with my digestion and the Huma Plus has a decent amount of carbs in it and it just has a texture that I can handle. Some of the other gu’s I cannot handle their texture. This one is a little bit more liquid so it doesn't bother me as much.

I had a friend recommend the Awesome Sauce by Spring Energy and that has been great. It's bigger, so it does take me closer to 45 minutes to finish it which is why I said I'm you know not quite nailing the every 30 minutes.

Marathon Run Fueling Plan

I do the Huma Plus at 30 minutes into my run and then at 60 minutes/one hour I do the Awesome Sauce. It's bigger–it's 180 calories. It's also a slightly different texture so that’s nice. I’m someone that definitely gets texture fatigue with all the gels or gu’s, so switching between a couple of different brands is nice! Like I said, that one takes about 45 minutes to “sip”, so now I'm at an hour and 15 and then right about an hour and a half or an hour 45, I do another Huma Plus.

On my run so far I haven't gone past that–they've all been less than the 2:15 right around 2:15 or less and so. I will probably do another awesome sauce once my runs get longer. Or I

have some Maurten I got to try and didon’t love so I may use that (until it’s gone, but not on race day. It was fine and my stomach tolerted it, I just didn’t love it. Lower in carbs and calories than I want.)

One of the things that I do know from experience is that the farther into the race it gets or the farther into the miles it gets the less that you want to eat the gu and the gel you brought, which is why I like to have the mini Stroopwafels an option. No they're not in high as carbs and all the other stuff as it should be, but it is something and something is better than nothing, especially in the final miles of a marathon. I also know to front load those early miles with fuel because you won't want to take in more at the end.

I hope this is helpful! Comment below and let me know if you use any of these and if you have any questions on fueling for really long runs!

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