A 6 Guidelines Information to Strengthening Your Half Marathon
Do you need to refuel during a half marathon? It is an excellent question! As you cover the 13.1 mile distance, you will most likely struggle for adequate energy if you don't consume some calories. Most half marathon runners consider refueling an integral part of their race day strategy.
Should you eat or drink during a half marathon?
The simple answer is YES. You should definitely refuel during a half marathon or when running long distances. The tricky part is figuring out how much, how often, and with what to refuel.
However, if you ask enough runners, you are sure to find some who do not consume any calories at all during a half marathon. Please, please, please trust me when I say this is an anomaly. Most of us need calories to keep moving for this long.
If you don't purposely refuel during a half marathon (or other, longer race), you can find yourself again hit the wall.
What if you don't fill up properly?
Runners who don't consume enough calories during a race often hit the proverbial wall. In the world of endurance sports, hitting the wall is also known as “boinking”. It's the place you feel great when suddenly it feels like someone is throwing a brick wall right in front of you and you punched right into it.
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While it is not a real, physical wall, in reality the physical effects are very real. What happened is that you have used up your body's glycogen stores.
How do you prevent this from happening? By taking in fuel!
Translation: Eat or drink calories, typically in the form of carbohydrates.
How do you fuel a half marathon?
Most runners agree on that Every run over 60 minutes needs fuel. The distribution of fuel delivery varies from runner to runner, as does the amount of fuel you need to consume in terms of calories.
A good rule of thumb is: start refueling about 45 minutes after your run. After that, refueling typically takes place every 30-45 minutes. The amount of fuel you consume is up to you as every person's body is different. Somewhere from 100-150 calories per “dose” of fuel is the rule.
This also assumes that you have had a decent pre-race meal in order to adequately prepare your body for the race or run you are about to complete. More on that later.
For those without a fuel plan, I recommend having a small breakfast between 2-2 1/2 hours before their race. Some runners also want something very small like an energy bar just before the start of the race. After that, refueling every 45 minutes is a good starting point.
This gives you something to aim for and lets you see if you will need fuel sooner or more often.
It's super important to stay properly fueled. It is also important to be adequately hydrated.
Do you need to hydrate during a half marathon?
Yes, you should be hydrated during a half marathon. You need somewhere in between one liter and 2 liters of liquid during your race. Of course, that depends on external factors.
You may need more water when it's particularly hot and sunny. This also applies when it is damp. You may need less fluids during a winter half marathon. It's okay to adjust your hydration based on your temperature.
Most races have water stations every 1 1/2 – 2 miles throughout the route. If it's particularly hot, this may not be enough. That's why I prefer to carry my own fluids with me. I like a drinking belt because it allows me to carry a bottle of water and one filled with a stamina drink. Often these straps also have a place to carry your fuel.
This is important to me because I try not to eat the fuel on the track unless I've drunk it before. This helps me avoid upset stomach and gastrointestinal disasters while running.
My Garmin beeps every kilometer. I make myself take a few small sips of water every time my Garmin beeps. I also make sure to drink when I refuel.
What's the best way to fuel up a half marathon?
There are many refueling options for longer runs or half marathon races. These fall into different categories.
Energy gels: There are a variety of sports nutrition options in a convenient gel format. These gels are small, compact, easy to open and transport, and have the perfect dose of carbohydrates.
Chews: Some people don't care about the consistency of the gels and prefer some kind of chewing. Similar to a fruit snack, they are packaged small and also easy to transport.
Energy bar: Although they are slightly larger and often not as easy to digest, energy bars are another source of energy. My favorite is the Cliff Bar!
Waffles: This is my fuel of choice, the Honey Stinger Waffle. They are like a soft waffle ice cream cone with a kind of filling in the middle.
Real food options: The last category includes real food options. That deserves its own category!
Real food for your half marathon!
Have you seen those applesauce bags that little kids love? These are popular with runners alike! Baby food also comes in handy sachets and is a great fuel in the long run.
If chewing fruit isn't okay with your stomach, consider eating simple old-fashioned dried fruit snacks. Sugar food may not be your thing. Raisins or dates can be great options if you prefer to get your energy boost from nature's sources of glucose. Honey can also be bought in small bags or "honey straws" for a quick energy boost.
Believe it or not, some runners and endurance athletes carry small sandwiches with spreads like honey or jam, others nibble potato pieces to recharge their batteries.
The fact is, there is no wrong answer. If your fueling strategy works for you and enables you to perform well, then only that matters!
Refueling strategy before the race
It is worth mentioning that you have the prerequisites for a successful run of. should create have a good breakfastwhether you are going for a long run or a race. This can be anything from oatmeal to toast or bagels with peanut butter.
Getting something inside your body a few hours before the race can help prepare you for the performance. Just give yourself enough time to digest this food before you hit the starting line. A poop in the middle of the race has never helped anyone with PR!
The 6 rules every half marathon and marathon runner should follow:
Just to summarize what we've learned, there are key components:
1. Eat a decent breakfast: something your body is used to on long days running.
2. Hydrate with sports drinks / water the day before and also on the morning of.
3. Carry your fuel. Make sure it's something you've been practicing with.
4. Have a fueling strategy. We recommend every 45 minutes if you don't have a plan.
5. Remember to drink while you run Water and / or electrolyte drink of your choice.
6th After the race, absolutely eat a carbohydrate and a protein to refuel your body.
Run happy friends!