I'm running a marathon for charity!   Donate Here.

Proper Fueling and Nutrition

September 20, 2023
3 minute read

One of my biggest worries when I started training for the marathon was, "how is my stomach going to react on a run like this? Will I be able to find a bathroom fast enough?"

Since I started training in April, I've slowly been able to increase my long runs. The need to get to a bathroom after the run has always existed. But I've been hopeful because I could see progress. I've read the online articles about what you should and shouldn't eat before a run - but I quickly realize that everyone is different. Foods that work for one person might not work for another.

And after talking with every runner I came in contact with, I also found out that some people just have less sensitive stomachs than mine! I label those people as natural born runners :)

I on the other hand am not a natural born runner. My stomach works well. And often. Which means that running only me have to run for the bathroom even more.

So I tried a bunch of foods and tactics that I read online. Then I decided to hire a nutrionist to help with me determine the proper things to eat before (and after) my runs.

Here's what I found since working with Kara:

  • The day before a long run, I can't eat any kind of exotic foods. Not even tomatoes, no pizza, no pasta, no garlic or onions, and nothing too fatty. THe more bland, the better.
  • Rice, red skin potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, and quinoa are all great carbs. I used to think that bread was a good carb - but it's not. Not for me anyway.
  • Taking french fries and other fried foods from my diet is great. The fatty content of the fried foods really affects me.
  • Fueling with gels during a long run is crucial. Complex carbs are what you're looking for.

Regarding how I fuel during a long run, I discovered (through Hammer Nutrition) that the body can only absorb so many carbs an hour. So the often heard term of "carbo-loading" is pretty much a myth. You can't really get all your carbs the day before a run and expect to be good. You still need to get your carbs during a long run in order to sustain energy.

Now, after much trial and error I know that I need to eat super bland foods the day before a race. I can't eat any pasta, pizza, alcohol, mexican food, or anything spicy. I've also come to realize that saying that is one thing - doing it is another. Mentally, eating well can be a challenge. Especially if you've settled into a routine of the same foods.