Pre-half marathon meal?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
Hi all,

I'm running my first half marathon in a couple of weeks, and not sure what I need to eat before hand.

While training, I do most of my runs in the afternoon/evening (because of work and other commitments), but this one will be at 10 am?

Normally I'd have porridge for breakfast, reasonable lunch (eg baked potato and beans or salad, or soup and roll), then a small snack about two hours before running - like a banana or some dried fruit and nuts, yoghurt, piece of toast etc, then dinner afterwards.

If I eat breakfast as normal (a bowl of porridge) - will it be enough to see me through? Or should I be eating extra? (don't want to over-eat and feel bloated/heavy either?!?).

What do you normally have for breakfast on the day of a half-marathon?

Many thanks,



  • Moto2Moto2 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    I'd eat the porridge around 7 with maybe some honey and fruit and an energy bar 8:30 and another at 9:30, I'd then have a gel half way.
    If you're not used to gels skip it though
    Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Eat some calorie dense, natural, unprocessed foods.....cashews or something similar, I think 100G of cashews is over 600 calories and they won't bag you up.

    Leave the porridge, too much volume, not enough calories.
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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    Thanks guys, I wish I'd thought of this sooner.

    I've never used the gels, but do get hungry on longer runs. think I;ll take your advice and skip it this time though - will try using gels on longer practice runs after this race is out the way.

    Thanks again,

  • thorthor Forumite
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    I don't like eating before going for a run and when I did the Great North Run a few years ago I ate nothing at all. I reckon that most people will have more than enough calories already in their body to deal with a 13 miler. A full marathon is a different story.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    thor wrote: »
    I don't like eating before going for a run and when I did the Great North Run a few years ago I ate nothing at all. I reckon that most people will have more than enough calories already in their body to deal with a 13 miler. A full marathon is a different story.

    I definitely couldn't do it on an empty stomach!
  • pinkteapotpinkteapot Forumite
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    BIG portion of pasta the night before. I worked up to a 60 mile charity bike ride last year. I always cycled first thing. Once I reached the longer distances, what I'd eaten the night before made a significant difference to my energy levels.

    My best ever ride came after eating a large Dominos the night before (2,600 calories). But obviously I shouldn't recommend that, so go with a big healthy bowl of pasta. :rotfl:

    That being said, it's not a good idea to try out a new nutrition regime for an event. If you can, do some of your final training runs in the morning instead of the evening. Experiment a bit with what you eat the night before, and what you eat for breakfast. In particular to make sure that what you have for breakfast doesn't make you feel sick.
  • browneyedbazzibrowneyedbazzi Forumite
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    I'm not a runner but my partner is and he'd usually have a carb heavy supper the night before a half marathon (usually spag bol) then the morning of a race he'll have a bowl of porridge and a banana at least 2 hours before the start, followed by another banana about half an hour before the start.

    For longer races he'll also have gels and sports drinks during the race, but I've never known him to bother for a half. I can't do gels (they make me feel queasy) but can use glucose tablets instead when I'm doing long distance cycle rides. Some people will even just have a handful of jelly babies.

    Are you hoping for a particular time or is it more about getting around?
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  • LizlingLizling Forumite
    882 Posts
    Ideally, get a couple of runs in in the mornings to test what works for you and find a pre- morning run routine. Also, it can feel quite different running at different times of the day in terms of energy levels, so it's a good idea to get your body used to the idea before race day.

    Eat a big, carby dinner the night before, then a fairly plain, light breakfast like a couple of slices of toast, a banana and something to drink. You don't want to be running with a really full stomach so really it's the previous meal that'll carry you through.

    I avoid dairy (including milk in porridge) before a race. Not wanting to give TMI, but lactose can have bad effect if you're working really hard. A friend discovered this also applied to her, mid race, on about her 6th-7th half marathon and has only made porridge with water ever since. A lot of people also have similar problems with caffeine, but on the other hand a bit of caffeine does provide a small boost.

    I also carry a gel if none will be provided during the race. I don't always use it, but it's good to know it's there if I want it.
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  • rochjarochja Forumite
    564 Posts
    If I were going to run a half marathon I would start with prawn cocktail, followed by steak, chips, tomato and beefsteak mushroom, followed by Tiramisu. All washed down by a nice Chianti. Then I would sit in the deepest chair I could find with a half bottle of Armagnac. I figure it would probably be my last meal anyway.
    Life is like a box of chocolates - drop it and the soft centres splash everywhere
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    I did my first half marathon last year. I tend to agree with Thor - I prefer to run without too much in my stomach. I think its partly a worry that I might need the loo halfway through.:eek: My plan before a long run is to make sure I eat really well for the couple of days before the race - no alcohol or empty useless calories. The day before I eat 3 plain healthy meals, with the emphasis on 'good carbs' (porridge, pasta, jacket potatoes etc) and drink LOTS of water throughout the day. On the morning of the run I eat granola or porridge but just a small amount and at least 2 hours before the run and have a large glass of water. After that I don't eat again until after the run. I often don't drink during a race either as i find it disturbs my breathing pattern.
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