Skip navigation

5259 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 22, 2011 2:10 PM by BT.ROB
2power Pro 91 posts since
Jan 5, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 17, 2011 8:53 AM

Half Marathoner's...when do you fuel during your race?

I've ran marathons, but next month I'm running my first half. Just curious on when everyone generally fuels with carbs (GU,blocks,etc) during their half? Do you just go by how you feel, or do you kinda have a specific mile or two in mind when you generally refuel? I obsess about this every time.....



  • aj01 Pro 143 posts since
    Jul 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Apr 17, 2011 10:28 AM (in response to 2power)
    Re: Half Marathoner's...when do you fuel during your race?

    A little of both.  I pop a gel right before the race and about the 1/2 way point (100 cals. each).  I have an extra in case I feel like I need it near the end.  I also use Hammer Heed (about 150 cals. worth) sports drink instead of plain water.  I don't take extra water or gatorade at water stops or I'll have to make a restroom stop.  I'm probably a little heavy on calories but that's how I normally eat when not racing.  I've only run 2, so my experience is very limited but I so far, so good.  That said, everybody is different so you're probably better off basing more on your full marathon experience than my half.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Apr 17, 2011 12:30 PM (in response to 2power)
    Re: Half Marathoner's...when do you fuel during your race?

    I usually just drink the kool-ade (i.e. sports drink) that is available at the water stations.




  • Digler Amateur 16 posts since
    Feb 1, 2009

    I also pop one just before the race, and then have another about halfway. That kinda depends on where water is available - last time I ate a Gu Roctane around mile 6.7, but there was no water until mile 7. D'oh! Kinda gnarly to be running with a mouthful of engineered sweets!

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007

    I don't think you have to for a 1/2, but I do at most around the 7 mile mark.  I do a small cup of cool-aid as Len stated at most water stops.  I have never (so far) had the issues I get with marathons, I need to work on the correct fueling for them.

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Apr 18, 2011 12:09 PM (in response to 2power)
    Re: Half Marathoner's...when do you fuel during your race?

    At best you probably have only about 2,000 calories of carbs fuel on reserve.  So in theory for 2 hours you should be okay.  I would take 1 at 5 and 1 around 8.5 or 9 to give your body some time to absord the energy.  Good luck.

  • ModernMaven Pro 135 posts since
    Jun 8, 2009

    One about 15-30 minutes or so before the race and then another around mile 5-6.  I carry an extra just in case, but havent used it.  By the time I realized that I could have used it, it was too late.


    08/15/2009-  Patrick Joyce Scholarship Run 5K (Lakewood, OH)  30:00

    08/29/2009- Outrun Ovarian Cancer OROC 5K (Cleveland, OH)    28:50

    09/12/2009- Race for the Cure 5K (Cleveland, OH) 30:08

    10/17/2009- Mid Town Classic 5K (Cleveland)  30:15

    05/02/2010- Lakewood Hospital Ambulance Chase 5K 27:45

    09/11/2010- Race for the Cure 5K (Cleveland) 28:50

    10/10/2010- Towpath Half Marathon (Cleveland) 2:16:28

    10/23/2010- Army Ten Miler (DC) 1:42:12

    03/12/2011- St Malachi 5 Miler  45:50

    04/23/2011- Run for Cover 10K (Dallas, TX) 58:18

    04/23/2011- Cleveland 10 Miler 1:34

    05/15/2011- Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon 2:05

    07/05/2011- Warrior Dash Ohio 36:40

    08/06/2011- Gazebo Gallop 5k 26:20 PR!!

    08/14/2011- Run Jane Run 10K 57:40 PR!!

    08/20/2011- OROC 5K 26:15 PR!!

  • RunAndCraft Amateur 9 posts since
    Apr 17, 2011

    I take half a gel about 15 minutes prior to the race,,,,,the other half

    around the 6 mile mark and if I feel the need I always carry an extra

    but rarely use it......

    20 halfs and counting Most recent Feb 2011 Half PB 1:59:02 - Aug 8/10

    3 Fulls PB 4:26:49 - May 8/11

  • Jasonhomey Pro 236 posts since
    Jul 19, 2004

    I would not use a gel for a 1/2 marathon. I would have some jelly beans about 30 minutes before racing, but nothing else other than the water/gatorade on the course for me. Good luck.

    Do or do not, there is no try. - Yoda


    Marathon - 3:24:47 10/17/10 Columbus Marathon

    1/2 Marathon - 1:34:26  09/07/03 Columbus Half Marathon

    30 K - 2:22:36 09/28/03 Heritage Rails to Trails

    10 Mile - 1:12:20  08/17/03 Alum Creek 10 Miler

    4 Mile - 25:43 11/26/09 Pilgrim Progress

    5 Mile - 34:43 05/26/2003 Upper Arlington 5 Miler

    5K - 18:55 05/22/11 Physicians Free Clinin 5K Fun Run

    10K - 40:50 02/27/11 Last Chance for Boston

  • christine94 Expert 56 posts since
    Sep 23, 2008

    I take a fuel belt on my half marathons to ensure the gatorade i have is going to be compatable with my stomach, i dont' take chances. I take a few gels with me on the run, typically at mile 7 or 8.  I also take in all the water at the the water stations.


    I have seen far too often many half marathoners falling apart around mile mile 10/11 because they are dehydrated or cramping really bad.  Preparing before the race is just as important as during the race to ensure your hard work and effort will get you to the end.

  • BT.ROB Legend 270 posts since
    May 12, 2009

    If your event starts in the morning (most do), you only need to replenish glycogen stores burned during sleep. That is usually a couple hundred calories. Food should be taken 2-3 hours prior to start, which could put you at 4am. Alternatively, take a gel 10 minutes before start with some water. Take it easy on the coffee too far ahead of the race as it is a diuretic and you want to stay hydrated prior to start. Caffeine does not have the same effect while you are running however, For most events up to an hour, no fueling is necessary. If you are a competitive runner (1 -1.5 hrs for a half) you probably are good with sips of water at aid stations. For the rest of us, a gel after the first hour or use of a sports drink (I use HEED as well) will get you to 2+ hours. I usually take two hits of a gel packet a mile or two apart (or at consecutive aid stations with water), and then another about 1:45 -2 hours in (depending on how long I expect to be running). Remember you can't replace what you are burning as your body only can absorb 200-250 calories an hour and you are burning much more than that. Ran a half this past weekend with my wife and we finished under 2:30 (her PR) and that system worked for us.



More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...


  • Correct Answers - 10 points
  • Helpful Answers - 7 points