What To Eat During A Half Marathon

Fresh vegetable salad and healthy food for sport equipment for women diet slimming with measure tap for weight loss on wood background. Healthy Sport Concept

Diet is one of the key factors to consider especially when a sport involves the continuous movement of body parts such as a half-marathon. Even though participants in the long 3.1-mile race train themselves enough to stay fit and keep their minds present while running, many still miss getting the proper knowledge regarding the appropriate edible items they should take according to their body requirements.

If you are here, there are chances that you suffered weakness or nausea while running before or just about to take part in some competition. Whatever the case, I hope I can help you to some extent in this regard.

Those who have expected to complete the target in approximately two hours should eat a food item that provides 40-60g of sugar during a half marathon. In addition, it is important that your protein intake is adequate, for which you can choose Swedish fish, fig newtons, and protein drinks.

In this piece of writing, I have included some essential and best food items that will fuel you as they are enriched with nutrients necessary for gaining and retaining energy. Moreover, I have also mentioned some tips for effective recovery after finishing.

Nutrients And Their Key Sources For Eating

Nutrients Nutrition Eating Pyramid Food Pyramid


Among all the essential elements needed for proper functioning of body and mind, carbohydrates or sugars are extremely important. In case the meal you have taken before or during a half marathon does not have enough carbs in the total calories, the blood sugar level might decrease substantially. It will lead to fatigue and headache after you have covered some kilometers.

It will be more beneficial if you plan the entire diet while training and stick to those items while competing. For this purpose, you can practice with the items and drinks regularly and notice your performance as well. Moreover, you should also learn about the shops or spots for drinks near the running track.

Fortunately, there are many items that are rich in sugars and they are readily available as well. You can try bringing chocolate bars, candies, fig newtons, sweets, or fruit pies with you. To quench the thirst and cover up for the carbohydrates at the same time, you can also select any sugary drink that will add glucose in your body.

The recommended total intake of this macronutrient also depends on the approximate time a person takes to reach the finish line. You can easily get the idea of this period after practicing for days. One of the best ways to estimate the speed is using a pace calculator for a half marathon. It requires you to enter the relevant data and then calculates the speed in minutes per mile and other units as well.

Generally, it is suggested to consume 40-60g of sugars if the total time is about two hours. If you need more minutes to cover the distance, for instance 3-4 hours, you should double this amount.


Another important component of daily requirement of food which becomes more significant during sports is protein. Proteins are necessary for proper functioning of muscles as well as are a major energy source.

Excellent protein sources include protein bars, Swedish fish and boiled eggs. The bars help you move with the same strength for several minutes and last longer. Protein drinks are also a suitable option that you can choose to carry for that special day. These liquids are especially helpful if you are considering consuming the calories mainly in fluid form.


It is normal to sweat while performing any physical exercise. Similarly, running continuously for several hours can make the players sweat and lose body water. However, many sweat profusely as their body tries to cool itself down. Readers must be familiar with the fact that one does not only lose water, but also some minerals such as body salt.

The lower level of salt in blood can also make a runner lethargic to a great degree, making it challenging to even keep up with others. Therefore, one should remember to bring the supplies that fulfill the need. I suggest that you simply arrange for mineral water bottles and pretzels to avoid the occurrence of any bad incident.


Though zinc is among micronutrients, that is, an element needed in small proportion, it is significant for normal functioning of the body. When it comes to athletes, it gains value as they need more zinc than people who do not have much physical activity. In this regard, zinc supplements are best for fulfilling the need. Participants can also bring nuts such as almonds and cashew nuts with them.

Items To Avoid During Half Marathon

There are gel food items such as in capsule form that are readily available in the market. They are especially built to increase the energy level of athletes and other people who have high physical activity. Also known as nutritional gels and carbohydrate gels, these foods can cause gastric and digestive system problems in some players. It is because of the mildly sensitive body mechanism that cannot tolerate these products and struggle with incorporating them in the fluids. It can result in diarrhea, cramps and even nausea.

Considering their cons, these gels can instantly fuel you on that day and also are easy to carry in pockets. However, it will be wise not to forget about safety measures and precautions. To avoid any risk, one should only consider buying them after a positive experience. I recommend testing them at least twice during your practice.

Ideal Foods For Eating Before Half Marathon:-

Not only is it necessary to take care of your diet on the day of competition, but also a day before running for miles. In addition to your determination, a balanced meal packed with nutrients will undoubtedly assist you in showing amazing performance.

More than 80% of the overall calorie intake should comprise only carbohydrates. To achieve this goal, you can enjoy pancakes, waffles, rice, oatmeal, and many other items. However, you should also keep in mind your weight which is one of the main factors governing the quantity of sugar you can consume. Furthermore, you should drink 8-10 glasses of water daily since it helps you stay hydrated and provides minerals as well.

Those entering the match should avoid eating fatty foods, especially those which are deep-fried. High lipid content can make you feel heavy. Moreover, restrain yourself from using spicy dippings as they can mess up with your digestive system.

Foods That Facilitate Post Half Marathon Recovery

A human body goes through a lot while running: ATPs (adenosine triphosphate) are utilized, lactic acid accumulates in the muscles, and heart rate is higher. In addition, muscles go through some invisible tear.

Therefore, it is necessary to take care of yourself after running as well which will be beneficial in keeping you healthy and recovering the muscles fibers so that you can get ready for the exciting coming races. I highly suggest consuming vegetables and fruits that provide glucose and minerals, and food items that are protein rich. These include beans, eggs, and chicken. For regaining the electrolytes, one should not forget to drink enough water.

It is better to stay away from fizzy drinks and alcoholic items as much as possible since they can cause burning sensation and keep yourself from staying hydrated since you will feel more full. If anyone really wants some beverage to pair with the chicken or other meat item, that person should not exceed consuming more than one glass.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much zinc should a runner take?

Those people who often take part in long runs like half marathon and marathon should take in between 11-20mg of zinc daily. This recommendation can vary from one person to another due to different body needs.

How many carbs do I need during a half marathon?

For occasions like a half marathon, one should consume calories that contain 1-2g of carbohydrates per kilogram of an individual’s weight in an hour.

Why are carbohydrates important for a marathon?

Carbohydrates are essential for people participating in running events because they help in boosting the energy level, enabling the body to store glycogen in the liver and muscles.


While strictly training for a half marathon, one should give proper attention to food items that will be utilized on the day of the event. Ignorance can cause health issues and unexpected performance as a result. I have mentioned a list of elements and the foods that will help you maintain your pace and keep you fresh even during hot summer days.


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