Perfect Day: What to Eat During Marathon Training

Looking to set a new PR? What you put on your plate is key to achieving your goal. Take the guesswork out of eating with our sample plan!

When you’re in the midst of a heavy training period, fueling is vital, says Tara Gidus, MS, RD, a runner and sports dietitian in Winter Park, Fla. She explains, “You may need an extra 500 to 1000 calories a day depending on mileage,” while eating a good balance of antioxidants, healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates.


1 whole-grain bagel topped with 1 fried egg
1 orange
2 cups green tea

Bagels are dense in carbs, exactly what you want if you’re regularly lacing up for long runs. The high-quality protein stimulates muscle recovery.

Morning Snack

12 almonds
1 apple

Almonds are packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that may help reduce soreness.


1 whole-grain tortilla stuffed with 2 ounces turkey, 1 cup spinach, 3 slices tomato and 1/2 avocado
1 cup tomato juice

Research suggests that nitrates in spinach amp up strength by improving muscle contraction. Tomatoes combat training-induced oxidative stress.

Afternoon Snack

1/4 cup hummus with 5 baby carrots

The combination of carbs and protein will keep your energy levels up.

Mid-Run Snack

1 small box of raisins

If you’re working out for an hour or longer, you’ll need fuel. Try raisins instead of sugary gels or chews.

Post-Run Snack

Smoothie: 1 cup low-fat milk, 1∕3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries and 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder

After a hard run, this smoothie is an easy way to refuel and rehydrate.


Stir-fry: 1 cup shrimp, 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli and 2 cups mushrooms

“Stir-fries are quick to put together and are a great opportunity to get all the necessary protein, carbohydrates and nutrient-rich vegetables your muscles need,” says Gidus.

Nighttime Snack

1 ounce dark chocolate

Chocolate is a surprising source of iron, a crucial mineral for active women.

Daily Total: 2003 calories, 91g protein, 59g fat, 300g carbohydrates