Full marathon food choices


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Hey all-

I'm on day 4 of Whole 30 so far. Ate about 80% Paleo beforehand, but signed up for the Whole 30 challenge to help break some mental habits that I had built up from work and life stress. I'm a type-1 diabetic as well, which factors pretty heavily into this topic.

About midway through the 30-day challenge, I've got a marathon scheduled. I'm not worried about what to eat the night before (or immediately after) the marathon, and I've read the topics here on what to do for a half marathon, but a full is a pretty different experience.

The race we're doing is relatively unsupported - it's not a big race. I'm going to opt to make my own sports drink out of fruit juice & salt and will be carrying salt tablets on the run, but I'm really concerned about what to bring for portable energy boosts throughout the event. If I were just doing this as a "paleo" challenge I'd bring something like Stinger Energy Gels - http://shop.honeystinger.com/categories/Energy-Gels/ - but I'm really trying to avoid foods that are "off the list."

For emergency low blood sugar I usually keep pure glucose tablets on me. I've considered using these for the event (for energy, not just for emergencies), but I'm not sure what the consequences of that might be. They're also not nearly as portable as Gu/Stinger Gels/Energy Gels. The consequences of not having enough energy are FAR worse for me than going off the plan for an event, but I'd love to stick as closely to recommendations as possible.

My wife is also running this marathon, so I'd love advice that isn't for type-1 diabetics as well. If anyone has experience with what they've done on marathons/ultramarathons, I'd love to hear it.



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I haven't done a marathon while doing a Whole30-or even while eating any percentage paleo! My only marathons were supported by carbs in the form of bread and pasta....and beer!

That being said-I am doing my first Whole30 right now and will be running a half the day after we finish. I want to continue eating this way, so I too have been looking for ideas for fuel on long runs. I've tried dried fruit and that seems to work wel-pineapples, apricots, bananas and mangoes seem to be the best for me. Just enough natural sugar and carbs and they don't upset my stomach. I haven't mixed them-just tried one at time so far. I make my own with a food dehydrator.

I have a friend who just did a 50 mile trail run and she fueled herself with the same things. We both use the nuun tablets along the way in our water too.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

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Back when I ran marathons, I carried bananas in a fanny pack with me because my stomach tolerated them, but not the bars that were available back in the early 90s. You might also look at baby food. You could transfer it to a zip lock bag and eat it with your hands on runs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was just looking at Ella's Kitchen baby food for some backpacking purposes, but I'm also training for a full. It looks like a number of them are ~100 calories, no refrigeration needed, and soft packs to stuff into pockets with easy eat spouts. I've seen them at both Whole Foods and my local normal supermarket and they're about the same price as Gu, etc...

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I tried the Ella's Kitchen baby food for the first time today on a 5 hour hike. I was not happy with it at all. They add a lot of apple purée to sweeten it to sickly-sweet. I didn't find it to be very energizing, rather my stomach balked a bit and for a short while I felt crappy and sluggish, like I had eaten some cheapo fructose-laden junk food.

I always keep a stash of GU in my backpack, later on in the hike when I was getting really run down from the exertion and the heat, I went for a half shot of GU instead, and had the remaining half for recovery when I hiked back to my car at the base. The energy burst was much faster and my stomach didn't complain one bit. I am not going to pretend they are compliant, but....processed as they are, they did the job a lot better. I have a few other favors of Ella's to try, but I think will be awhile before I take baby food on a backcountry trek again.

My personal recommendation would be to try the baby food on some of your training runs to see how you react to it before planning to use it on race day. Have a great run!

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