Training for a Marathon– What to Eat

When I mentioned that changing how I fuel for a marathon changed EVERYTHING about the race – everyone wanted to know if I got into Lance Armstrong’s stash what I was eating?!what to eat during a marathon

Figuring out what/when to eat and drink while training for a marathon is a very very important part of training. And everyone is different – some people can’t handle certain types of gels/chews/drinks. I don’t know if you know this, but I am a red headed Mexican that eats Sriracha for breakfast, so my stomach is like an iron cauldron = I can pretty much take anything Winking smile

If you are a little sissy lala that thinks you can’t eat during a run – figure it out (hey, the full marathon is tough so I have to be tough with my advice). You have to stay hydrated and full of shug-ah to run a full marathon without wanting to die.

Okay, that’s a lie.

You’ll probably want to die even if you fuel right, but your blood sugar will be stable enough to talk yourself out of it. running rock n roll pasadena

Again, all of this information works for ME a person who:

  • is a very salty sweater / sweats a lot in general
  • got bad cramps in her quads around mile 20-22
  • drinks A LOT of water in general
  • likes margaritas – it’s relevant, trust me.

You should identify what your body’s needs are and fuel accordingly.

Training for a Marathon – How I eat before the race

In the week leading up to a full marathon I eat at least one banana a day. This helps prevent my quad cramp issue. i am turning into a banana

I love them and don’t care if I turn into one…i am turning into a banana

I also try to stay hydrated.

monica dancing drunk

Luckily, my friends are super supportive of my hydration needs…shots shots shots shots

The morning of the race I’ll have oatmeal or PB Bagel/Toast with a banana. Both work for me, doesn’t matter what I go with. delicious new york bagel for my bellyConfession: I often put salt on top of the PB bagel/toast too. I need a lot of sodium on race day.

How I eat during a marathon:

I eat 3 Margarita Shot Blocks at Mile 5, Mile 10, Mile 15 and at Mile 20 I have a chocolate gel of some sort <- because it’s delicious and I look forward to the chocolate goodness.

I love the Margarita blocks because they have more sodium than the other flavors. Each package has 6 in them, I eat half a pack every 5 miles. I cut the packs in half so they’re easier to eat during the run. I usually put 2 in my spibelt and one in my sports bra. clif shot blocks

Sometimes I skip the first water station unless I’m thirsty but drink at all the other ones. If it’s hot I dump water on my head. If it’s super super hot I dump water on someone else’s head. This way they chase me and I have to keep running even though I want to sneak off the course and eat ice cream.

Normally there is a spectator with oranges or popsicles or horse meat corn dogs and I might grab that if I feel like it. In NOLA they were handing out animal cookies. God Bless it.

But, I am only one peep so I polled a few of my marathon runner friends to chime in with how they fuel during a race.

sole runners steve

Coach Steve: Averages a Sub 4 hour marathon.

I’ve been trying a lot of different foods. I try to consume 200 calories per hour. At Surf City Marathon I had two brownies that I ate on the run starting at mile 5 and finishing them by mile 13. At mile 15 I started taking an Island Boost gel every 3 miles. I also was drinking water with electrolytes in it  and had cup with Nuun in it at mile 20 for more electrolytes. For Fuel and Hydration I follow the Sole Runners 10-30-45 rule. Drink every 10 minutes, take electrolytes every 30 minutes and eat every 45 minutes.

skinnyrunner blog

Skinny Runner: I eat four gels throughout a race and usually at the same points: mile 8.5, 13.5, 18 and 22.  (about 15-30 minutes before a race ill eat an energy bar.)

I’ve also eaten candy during marathons which is fun, but if I’m taking the race seriously, I go with gels.  They’re habitual and I don’t have to think about how many calories I’m taking in, (“was that handful of gummi bears the same as one gel or half?!”), and they’re easy to suck down and get energy in quickly.

I also drink water from nearly every aid station and switch it up with sports drinks in the later part of the race.

run like a Clydesdale blog

Dave: I fuel 5x with GU and just started eating a snickers marathon bar at the half way point

the faster bunny 2

Margot: My PR is a 3:32.  I eat a lot – I would say a gel with caffeine every 5-6 miles and sports drink at almost every water stop. 

Breakfast before us usually 300 or 400 calories…Luna bars or something a couple hours before race time.

hector running marathon

Hector (doesn’t have a blog because he’s too busy running ultramarathons every weekend!): Average 4:50, I try to eat a bit of bar every 30-45 min. Gels tear up my stomach.


See? We’re all different. So, the real answer to the Question:
“What is the best marathon nutrition plan?”  is…

Everyone is different. Make sure to figure it out during marathon training. Experiment with different gels, chews, bars before and during your long runs. Show up on race day already knowing WHEN and WHAT you are going to eat and drink.

And because I am a big fan of  Cliff Shot Blocks – the company is sending one RER reader a box of them to fuel their runs! IMG_1494 (640x480)

To Enter: Leave a comment with your favorite race distance. Any distance – even around the block works!

Open to residents of the US. Closes 3/14/2013 at 8am PST


  1. Danielle says

    I’m running my first marathon this fall – I got into Chicago!! I’m super salt-tastic too so I’d love to get my margarita block on!

  2. Linda says

    You got me! I’m a round-the-block runner-jogger-walker who at almost 68 years is just getting inspired by your blog! :) Cool, huh? :)

  3. Jen says

    I heart the half! But I am training for a full….my first! Yikes!
    Clif bloks are my fav fuel thus far (I just might have tried them all), but I have not had the marg one.

  4. Kellu says

    I want to be hardcore and say the full marathon – but I really just love a good half marathon with some hills.

    • buddy says

      if you are ever in the nyc area, the there are 2 half marathons that are mostly hills as they take place in central park. the manhattan half which in january and gretes gallop in october. there is a 3rd one, nyc half but you either need to qualify or get in through charity. the first 6.5 miles of that race is run in central park.

  5. Amy says

    half marathons-all the cool kids love them! It’s just enough where you feel bad a** training, but not too much that it takes over your life!

  6. Barb says

    Ive only run half marathons (and I love them!) it’ll be my third and fourth this year. Id love to see what I can do over a full marathon.

  7. NG says

    My favorite race distance right now is 15k because in December I won my age group! There were only three of us in my AG but I’ll take it! :)

    Thank you so much for doing this post! Right now I’m training for my first marathon and I am really wondering about how to fuel for my long runs. It sounds like the one key thing is to fuel *often* however you do it, so I probably need to keep that in mind more.

  8. Martha says

    Wooooooo! I’m so excited about this giveaway — I’ve recently decided that I need to get REAL about fueling during races. My fave distance is 13.1, and I’d love to try some Bloks while training for the next one!

  9. says

    My favorite distance is 5k, mostly because I haven’t made myself step up to a longer distance race. I am planning to run at least one 10k and one half this year though!

  10. GretchenP says

    lovin’ half marathons right now :) thanks for the giveaway! ..and sharing about cutting the shot block package in half… serious duh! moment for me there 😉

  11. says

    10k even though I’m slow.
    On fueling – perhaps it’s also good to know where the aid stations are on the course and practice fueling at those mile markers during training.

  12. Allison @ says

    I’m just getting back into running after a running-free pregnancy. Since I’m doing Couch to 5k to get back in the game, I’m going to say 5k. Training for a short distance works best right now with my schedule (or should I say, my kids’ schedules). I’m hoping to get more speedy, which will help me get to my ultimate marathon goal of qualifying for Boston!

    Second favorite has to be the 12k Bay to Breakers. That was such a fun race, and a perfect distance between a 10k and a half.

  13. Michelle B says

    I do really like a 5k! However, I am signed up for a 10k and half-marathon this year with a goal of upping my distance. This post is very timely and I of course would love to try some different fueling options as I increase :)

  14. says

    Right now I like 10k’s because I feel like I can actually do pretty decent with that distance.

    And hell yeah to Margarita flavored bloks! Those are my favorite. I have low blood pressure, so I need the extra salt too :)

  15. Lucy says

    Thank you for the post! I don’t really know if I’m fueling properly and its great to read how others successfully do this.

    Marathons until I can conquer a sub 4 hour one. Only 2 min 24 secs away from this goal after many, many, many tries.

  16. says

    I’ve only raced a few 5ks and a marathon, so I’m not sure about a favorite racing distance. But for general training, I like 10-12 miles. It’s long enough to feel badass (and an excuse to eat dessert later…) but not long enough to completely destroy my legs/feet/head/morale…

  17. Dana says

    Favorite distance right now is 13.1, although now that I am registered for Chicago (my first full) I’m working toward loving 26.2!!
    Love CLIF shots they r my favorite fuel choice!

  18. says

    My favorite distance is 5 miles. Its a random number I know. When I was training for my half last year, 5 was my proud moment because I knew once I got to five I knew I could keep going.

    I fueled with cinnamon bears during my half….but I have never tried gels..this could be fun

  19. says

    I love the half marathon!
    You’re so right – figuring out how to eat and when to eat is SOO important in a marathon. It was also a life changer (or race changer?) for me the first time I nailed it.

  20. Debbie B. says

    My favorite distance is half marathon but that may be because i haven’t run a full yet. My first will be in June in San Diego. I could use the fuel. Margerita is my favorite.

  21. says

    I swear by those Clif Margarita bloks – LOVE THEM.

    I also have a love affair with the 30k [18.6mi] distance. You don’t find them often, but they’re long enough for me to feel like I’m running a super legit distance race, but not quite the marathon so I’m not completely and totally out of commission after like I am when I run 26.2.

  22. says

    Currently im loving 5milers. I’m training for my first half and def need to start fueling during runs so this would be a great prize!

  23. Melissa says

    Half-marathons are my distance. I always feel like I am in shpae to run a half marathon no matter what I am currently doing with my fitness. It is easy and challenging enough for me which I really like. I would really like to get marathons to be my distance but I dont believe my body would agree with me.

  24. Deniz says

    I love half marathons and 10-milers! They are both challenging without feeling like I am killing myself;).

  25. Jess says

    The farthest I have raced is a 15k, but I’m training for a half marathon right now and I think I’m falling in love. Don’t tell my boyfriend.

  26. says

    Since I just got done with my 2nd half marathon/training my favorite distance is anything under 3 miles because I got so bored of 3/4 mile runs during the training weeks!

  27. says

    I still like the marathon the best… However… I think I like the training better than the actual race… I’m weird like THAT. BTW… the chocolate BLOKS are awesome!

  28. says

    I love, love, love Clif Bloks. My favorite distance right now is the half marathon, but that may change after I run my first marathon in May!

  29. says

    I’ve been messing with fueling as well. I have to admit – I originally subscribed to the SR approach but have learned I cannot go more than 5 miles without fuel or I totally bonk. I train on 5-8 mile runs without using fuel, but anything more than that I hit the gel, candy or something every 5 miles….

  30. Tiffany Kaluzny says

    I like to race 5ks best, but if the weather is nice my favorite distance is 5 miles when I’m running alone.

  31. Joyce says

    Well since I’ve only run half’s, I guess that’ my fave but I should probably try other race distances before I make that commitment. haha

  32. Sarah says

    I love half marathons but during my last one my legs cramped. I thought it was because it got a little cold but maybe I should try the salt thing!!?!!

  33. Phil York says

    I love running the half. It gives me enough distance to really pace myself, but not so long that I feel the need to die. :) Planning to try my first full marathon in October though, so that might become my new favorite.

  34. Leah says

    Olympic distance Tri’s are my favorite but I am doing my first half ironman this weekend (wearing YOUR ST PATTY’s day green shamrock compression socks!)

  35. Kim says

    I like any distance I’ve ever run but half marathons are my favorite. I’m running Chicago this fall, so I appreciate the fueling tips.

  36. Ashley E says

    Favorite distance = 13.1. It’s the longest I’ve ever run, and once I finish growing this baby inside my belly, I can’t wait to get back out there and start training for another race!

  37. Sara says

    Half marathon is my favorite for a spring race, then I like to train to improve my 5k time and run one every single weekend in the fall!

  38. says

    I love 10ks, but I am thinking I might enjoy half’s too, as I have my first one this weekend and have really enjoyed the training!

  39. rhonda says

    right now my favorite distance (only distance) is 5k – but I’m signed up for my first half in September!

  40. says

    My favorite race distance is a toss up between 10 milers and the half marathon. Thinking about running a 10 miler is NBD but for some reason I get nervous thinking about 1/2s. BUT I run that distance every weekend so there is no reason to be nervous! I haven’t tried the blocks yet and would def love to! I use AMRAP bars pre race and then gu at mile 8 in a 1/2!

  41. says

    My husband and I just finished training for our first half marathon together (race day is just 3 days away!!). I’ve found that lately my favorite race distance is 10K (though I’ve never run an official 10K). I know I can run it in just about an hour and still have enough energy to get on with my day and not feel like curling up in bed with my 6 month old son and hibernating (which is how double digit runs usually leave me feeling).

  42. Kathleen says

    This post was super helpful! I’m training for my first trail 50K in April and am still trying to figure out what will work best for me. Hopefully, the 50K will be my favorite distance since its been fun to train for, but I also enjoy half-marathons as well! (Easier to train for, but still challenging and long enough to feel like you earned a big margarita at the end!)

  43. says

    I’ve only run 5Ks and 8Ks so far (first 10 miler in a few weeks, first HM a month after that! Eek!). So…. favorite race distance so far is 5K. Ask me again in a few weeks. =)

  44. Kylee says

    My favorite distance is the half! I love love loveee it and can usually push myself hard for those 13+ miles and then be dead at the end. I love that feeling:) My PR is 1:37 without fueling other than gatorade at the aide stations so maybe these shot blocks could push me further!

  45. says

    13.1 is my favorite race distance. The training is more manageable, time wise. Fueling during the race is tough, but fueling afterwards is even more of a challenge for me since I don’t feel like eating too quickly after a run.

  46. Meg in MI says

    I like half marathons a lot, although I am running my first marathon soon so we will see how feel after that :)

  47. jessica says

    I ran my first marathon in Feb and loved it. If I didn’t have a full time job and 2 little kids I would do alot more of them. So I settle on the 13.1 as my go to!

  48. Christine says

    The half marathon is my favorite. It feels like I have worked hard without completely killing myself. Good luck this weekend!!

  49. Ashley says

    I love a half! I’m finally training for my first full this fall, but will run at least 3 halls before then!

  50. says

    I’m not sure I’ve done enough to know what my favorite distance is! I’ve done a lot of 5k’s, a couple 10k’s, a half (while injured, that sucked) a 15 mile race (on a whim, not trained up for it, really hard), and a 1500m on the track. It was pretty fun doing a lot of track work leading up to the 1500m and then boom the race is over in 6 minutes. I am doing my first relay, first marathon, and first 8k distance this year. Would love to win those shot blacks!

  51. Harper says

    Haven’t “manned” up to a race yet. Right now my favorite distance is a 7 mile hike across a gorgeous bridge onto a little island.

  52. Jamie says

    I really like 5 miles runs. I’m training for my first half right now but 5 miles are just perfect for me.

  53. says

    Hey Monica! Thanks for doing this post, it’s come at the perfect time for me as I’m in the process of sorting out my fuel strategy for the London Marathon in April. I raced a half this weekend and used Clif Shot Blocs (Mountain Berry – yum!). I liked them, but I found them hard to chew down whilst running. Plus they get stuck in my teeth! Do you have this problem and do you chase them down with water straight after? I was thinking of cutting them up into smaller pieces next time… :)

  54. says

    I have to be honest 5ks are my fav. I am not a strong runner, no matter how hard I try so I like to stick to the 5ks, and I run them with my family so it’s a lot of fun! I usually run 3-5 miles on the treadmill, and I’m running the Biggest Loser 15k this summer!

  55. Amanda says

    Thanks for this great post! It’s really helpful. I ran a half marathon last year, and since I’ve signed up for 2 more! Really digging that distance, and have preferred Clif Blocks as my favorite fuel of choice :)

  56. Stephanie says

    I think a half marathon is the perfect distance. Long enough to be a killer workout, but not so long that I contemplate throwing myself off a bridge during the race (usually)

  57. says

    I’m a big fan of 10 milers. They require dedicated training throughout the week without having to spend hours each week running long runs. I may be a little impartial since I’ve run 4 10 milers and only a half marathon. But we will see this year how full marathon training goes

  58. Kelsey Y. says

    This was so interesting to read! So far, my only race distance has been a 5K. But that will all change in June when I run my first half!

  59. says

    I love a good Pikermi (13.1)!

    I’m completely in support of calling “half marathons” Pikermies, the name of the city in Greece at the half way point of the historical marathon run by Pheidippides.

  60. Jen says

    What a great post! I feel like a lot of newbies (myself included at one point) are so afraid of eating while running. This is a great reminder that it is necessary especially if you want to do your best! I really enjoy the half distance myself but I would like to take on a full one day!

  61. Kimberly says

    I Love Half Ironman-distance triathlons! I take in gels during the bike portion, and usually by the run I’m so ready to CHEW something. That’s when I turn to cliff blocks!

  62. says

    Favorite to run: Half Marathon.
    Favorite to finish: Marathon. I ran/walked/crawled it without eating anything, though the discarded gu/gel/banana peels were definitely a safety hazard.

  63. Patty Fischer says

    I really love the distance in a half marathon, but I LOVE racing in 5ks! I’m pretty competitive, so the 5k works much better for me to beat my own PR’s and place in my age/gender group!

  64. Brittney says

    Half Mary’s are my fave! I run about 1 marathon a year to say I can, but the half is by far my favorite distance to race!

  65. Lea says

    I’m a novice runner..10-12 min/mi. Jog a mile then jog/walk another mile or so. Even this can be a challenge.
    I love reading your blog for the great info and your sense of humor! :)

  66. Tara says

    The longest I have run to date is 8 miles, but I love the 10K’s! I hope to see say that 13.1 is my favorite, soon after my first half this Spring!

    These would be great; so far I have only tried swedish fish on my run; and want to try gels/guu’s and not really sure where to start!

  67. Sarah B. says

    My favorite distance is probably around 8 miles…long enough that I feel like I got a decent run in, but short enough that I can get it done fairy quickly and get on with my day.

  68. says

    As of right now my favorite distance is from my garage to the fridge, to the couch, then to bed. I tend to run this around 4:30 each day and man I wake up refreshed. :)

    On a more serious note, I’m training for my very first half so I really appreciate these tips on what to eat!

  69. abby r says

    of the races that i have officially completed (5k, 10k, half), i think a 10k is my sweet spot. i hope to pr at one with my sister (it is called the chocolate run and is followed by a chocolate festival…gotta love small towns!)

  70. Janee says

    I love the half. Training is minimal and not painful. I’m just now training for my first full and it’s tough.

  71. Danielle says

    I love running half marathons. I have been training for the for the full and hope to tackle that very soon.

  72. Julia says

    I love 5K’s, but really that’s the only race distance I’ve ever ran. I’m currently training for my first half marathon (in May) and I’ve been researching a lot about what to eat for fuel before/during the race. This has been super helpful! :)

  73. Rae says

    My favorite distance is the 5K! I’m 5K Rae! 😉 I’ve done one half almost two years ago, but I’m doing my 2nd this year. Can’t wait to tackle that distance again!

  74. Rachel says

    My favorite race distance is probably a 5k because I am not great at pushing myself so a 5k is perfect for me, it is easy and fast! What I enjoy training for is half marathons. I can relate with you when it comes to starting out the race too fast and then losing steam and thinking I might die and telling myself that this is the last race I ever run. Ha, I always seem to forget the pain and sign up for another one.

  75. Nicole J says

    My favorite race distance is 10 miles. When I get tired I needd little goals to push me through and the math on a 10 miler is just so easy! 3 miles down? 30% done, 70% to go.

  76. Suzanne says

    My favorite race distance is the half marathon. Training isn’t so taxing and it’s a lot of fun. I have done most of my halfs without fuel, but I think I am going to change that moving forward. I really love the orange flavor Clif shot blocks!

  77. Tasha says

    I love halfs! But I’m finally going for my first full this May, so these Shot Blocks would be perfect to try as I’m training!

  78. Jenny says

    I’m a pretty new runner, and am still in 5k territory (so much so that my favorite distance is probably really 2.5 miles), but am working toward a 10k next month and hope to be at a 1/2 marathon for the Fall round of races.

  79. Annie says

    Great advice! My favorite distance is definitely the half marathon. It’s long enough to feel like a great accomplishment, but the training is more manageable. Plus my lucky # is 13 :)

  80. Alyssa says

    GAH I love salt way too much. Need to try the margarita blocks! My favorite race distance is the 10 miler- just long enough that you don’t have to sprint the whole thing but missing that last killer 5K from a half marathon :)

  81. zoe kimberly says

    This is a great post. Favorite race distance: marathon. Favorite “pre-work” morning ritual run: 6 easy miles with good music (and a margarita shot block)

  82. Nancy says

    Half-marathon definately! Thanks for the tips, I still don’t know how to fuel properly and know that it is trial and error.

  83. Coffeepuff says

    Love your website! I’m training for a 10k, now, so 5ks are my favorite distance so far. Hope to do a half marathon later this year (maybe!)

  84. Krystina says

    I like 10 milers and half marathons. I love all races in general because of the energy, but don’t really like training…haha by the end, I’m always so burnt out!

  85. says

    13.1 FTW. Training can be intense without being a time suck. I really appreciate you going into what changed. I ran my first full last year, and I trained through one of the hottest Indiana summers on record. My stomach was a wreck, and I had to switch from gels to Swedish fish, as well as cut out dairy. I’m looking toward two half marathons this spring, and I’m using the Clif shot blocks. It’s like my love of Swedish fish and need for gels got married and had tasty babies.

  86. Jena says

    I’mstill relatively new to running, but I’ve recently started upping my weekly mileage, so my current fave is 5 miles!

  87. Denise P. says

    My favorite distance is the half mary. Although I have run about 3 dozen 5ks in my life, once I found half’s I never looked back.

    That’s cool that Coach Steve knows the awesomeness that is Island Boost. Love that stuff!

  88. Jessy says

    10 Miles is my sweet spot – long enough to make it worth getting up but not so long that I hate running for several weeks after I finish the race. So happy this is becoming a more popular race distance!

  89. Tracy Mahaffey says

    Right now I am liking 1/2s. I did my first 2 in January & February and my 3rd will be in a week and a half. I will be doing my first full in October! Never tried shot bloks…but would love to try margarita flavored. Tequila anyone??

  90. Bethany says

    My favorite distance is the Half. You need to train, but it doesn’t take over your life like marathon training.

  91. says

    My favorite distance is the half marathon. I’m trying to switch it up this year and do some shorter distances and fun runs (like a Color Run and a mud run). Hoping to get a half mary PR this fall! Then maybe I’ll be ready for another full next spring. (My first full was a disaster – I don’t think I fueled properly.)

  92. Madeline says

    I’ve done several 10 mile races in the past year and really love the distance! Although, there is something magical about the marathon…

  93. says

    My favorite race distance is definitely the 15k. Long enough to require some training but short enough I can suck it up on an off day!

  94. says

    I’ve been doing this running thing regularly for about 2.5 years. In that time, I’ve done six half-marathons and have two scheduled for this fall — I think it’s my favorite! It’s long enough that I can’t wing it and be happy with myself, yet training doesn’t completely take over my life… says the girl whose free time revolves around working out.

  95. says

    I actually really like running around my parent’s neighborhood and luckily it’s an easy measure. It’s 1 mile. There are slow long hills and no cars…it’s kinda nice. I say this because I haven’t run any races, but my first one is this weekend (3mi!) and I’m working my way up to a half marathon by the beginning of next year! Woo! :)

  96. Karin says

    So far I’ve only run 5k’s so that will have to be my favorite for now. I am training for my first 10k next month and then my first 1/2 on October! I’m not sure about the 1/2 yet, I think I will enjoy the 10k distance the most.

  97. says

    These are great ideas – for my first half I only drank water (no fuel) because I hadn’t trained with anything because I was afraid it’d bother my stomach. Unfortunately by mile 10 I was regretting it…

    I think my favorite distance would be 10K or half marathon. Not entirely sure.

  98. says

    Haha I love this post – perfect advice from a runner!

    I’ve done everything up to a full, but my true love is half-marathons! Not as much fueling preparation required, but still necessary for success!

  99. says

    Half marathons have become my addiction – far enough for a great challenge, but not so far that I want to die.

    and I freaking LOVE Shot Bloks. Discovered them in the fall and they’re my new fave.

  100. Erin says

    for racing, my fav distance is the half but my new fav non-racing distance is 7 miles cause it take me about one hour and still feel like i got a good workout

  101. Amber says

    Well the only distance I’ve run so far was a race that was supposed a 5k, but it turned out to be 4.5 ha, but I liked that distance. Want to work up to doing more, I’m a fairly new runner. :)

  102. Meg says

    Favorite distance = 20 milers! I love them in training runs. and that’s usually when I’m sick of marathoning.

  103. leahk says

    half marathons are totally my fav. 5/10ks i have to push too hard and marathons take a lot of training! I like my 9 min miles for a sub 2 hour half :)

  104. Sarah says

    I like the 10k! It takes me at least 3 miles to warm up and I’ve never tried for anything longer than a 12k. I’m like goldilocks, 10k is juuuuust right.

  105. says

    This is some great advice! I’ve done some half marathons, which I love, and I’ve been considering going for a full sometime in the near future, so this is really helpful :) It would be great to win some fuel!

  106. says

    This post was so helpful! I’m thinking about running my 1st marathon this fall! My favorite race distance would have to be 10 miles. Anything shorter doesn’t seem worth the entry fee 😉

  107. Alicia Wynn says

    My favorite is the Half! I even got 13.1 tattooed on my foot last year as my very first tattoo (second tat still pending!).

  108. Michelle says

    I’m beginning to really enjoy half marathons. When you know how to fuel and how hard to push yourself, running in general becomes a breeze!

  109. Kimberly says

    Right now I am training for my first marathon but I would have to say that 13.1 is my favorite because it is much easier to train for a half with two little ones to keep track of!

  110. adina says

    I just ran a 10 mile race and that was a great distance for me but I can’t stop there because I have a half marathon in a couple week~s!

  111. says

    I prefer half marathons right now. I am generally just “trained” for them now because I run 10-12 miles most weekends, so I can just run them for fun. But even if a PR attempt, training for them does not seem to take over my whole life!

  112. MaryBeth says

    This post could not have come at a more perfect time! I’m training for my 1st full so I’ve been spending every Saturday long run experimenting with different products and different timing for my fuel. Figuring out what works and what doesnt before the end of May!

    My favorite distance is the half (but who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with the full?). :)

  113. Shannon in Tustin says

    After running my first 26.2 at Surf City, I feel deeply, madly in love with the HALF marathon! I will likely do another 26.2 someday, but as a busy mom of two kids, I just don’t have the training time for that.

    Good news: After training for 26.2, ramping up again for the OC half in May feels like a piece of cake. 😀

  114. says

    10K is my favorite distance–it’s long enough to get going and go fast while working up a sweat/making it worth showing up for a race!

  115. elizabeth reisner says

    The longest run I have done so far is the Hot Chocolate 15K, and I’d have to say that THAT is my favorite so far.

  116. Pamela Carrico says

    I love half marthons when I’m trying to break my pr, otherwise any distance as long as it feels good & I can just relax and be in my own zen.

  117. Janice says

    My fave: half marathon. Via Las Vegas! Last year’s Rock ‘n Roll Strip At Night was my first. My husband already signed us up for next year … crazy!

  118. says

    My favorite is the full marathon. I’ve never run one. In fact, I’ve only run 5Ks. I’m signed up for a 10K in April, and a 1/2 in June. My dream is to run a full, so my favorite hasto be my dream :)

  119. Lauren says

    Hey Monica, I just love your blog. You got me into the Clif Maragarita shockbloks when you recommended last and I’ve used them for my last 2 marathons. I swear the extra sodium made a difference in my performance and recovery time! My favorite distance is the marathon because every finish line feels like a major accomplishment :)

  120. Maren says

    Great post! My favorite distance is the half marathon. I have no desire to ever run a full! Maybe I’ll get the itch someday 😉

  121. Theresa says

    Love this post! I’ve run both full and half marathons but i’d say half is my favorite so far. Maybe slowly switching over to the dark side of the full marathons 😉

  122. elizabeth says

    I don’t have a fav distance, but just like to be out running, preferably on trails with my dogs. This morning I ran 10 miles on the pavement and it was okay, saw a fox, but no moose today. Love Clif strawberry shot bloks, but haven’t tried many others.

  123. Frances says

    My favorite is the 10k, but I am demented and sign up for halfs. I can only eat shot bloks, gu’s do not agree with me when I am trying to run fast!

  124. Emily says

    My favorite is a 5K, but only because that is really all I have ever done. I want to start training for a half though and work my way up to be as cool as you and SR! You guys seem like you have so much fun running around the country! :)

  125. Bethany B. says

    I love running half marathons. The training schedule works really well for me, and it’s a distance I can “comfortably” cover without feeling like death afterwards. :-)

  126. Amy D says

    I am Training to run my first half marathon and i am not sure if that is my favorite distance but I love the 5-6 mile range :)

  127. Debbie says

    My favorite distance is the 10-miler. Love Shot Bloks. I usually eat Strawberry but because of my calf cramps at Surf City, it was suggested that I try Margarita. I’m a salty sweater, too!

  128. says

    ^^^^ This girl LOVES the half marathon distance.

    Good luck in L.A. I’ll be running a half in Chicago. I’m pretty sure your weather is going to be better!

  129. says

    Well I’ve got my first half in May, so I cant say if 13.1 is a favorite ( I have a feeling it will be!), but right now a good 11 miler is pretty tasty. I just tried Shot Bloks a few weeks ago and really like ’em – black cherry is my fav., but am open to any/all flavors :)

  130. says

    I’m new-ish to running, so the only races I’ve done so far were a 5k, 6k cross country, and 8k. But I’m running my first half in a month and couldn’t be more excited. I have a feeling it will become my favorite race distance!

  131. says

    Right now, my favorite distance is 5K. I did my first half–the Disney Princess Half–last month, and…no thank you. Of course, I’m a new runner, and the only other race I’d done prior to that was a 5K, so it could have been a case of trying to run (har har) before I really knew how to walk.

    I think I’ll stick with 5Ks for the time being and up it in the future once I get more miles under my belt.

  132. Caroline says

    So far I’ve only tackled the half marathon distance (a few times I might add) and I love it!! But I’m itching to move up in the world to the full marathon in the near future :)

  133. Anne says

    Right now I love a good 10k but I think once I do more halves, that will become my favorite! I’m also a crazy salty sweater and just tried the margarita flavor, thanks to you! What a big difference!

  134. says

    I used to think it was the half marathon, but recently I’ve been gravitating towards the 10k. In less than an hour, you’re done, sweaty and you’ve earned delicious brunch. A definite win in my book.

  135. Teresa M. says

    I’ve only ever raced 5k’s. Now that I’ve increased my mileage, I know that they will not be my favorite distance. I’m thinking I will like the half-marathon distance.

  136. amy says

    I am running my first 13.1 in a few weeks. So far my favorite is a 10K. Its fun but I am not totally toast after.

  137. Ashley says

    I haven’t run a whole lot of races-mainly 5Ks and 5 milers. I have a half marathon coming up in May though, so maybe I will get hooked on 13.1!

  138. Laura C. says

    Half marathons are probably my favorite distance. I’m injured now (had IT band release surgery in January) but when I was running all the time 5k’s were getting way too easy, 10ks were good but there weren’t alot around me. Half marys were good because they were challenging enough to keep it interesting without making me feel like death.

  139. Beth says

    I love the half marathon. Just long enough to be a challenge, but you don’t destroy you bod like the full.

    PS I love the margarita shot bloks….yum salt!

  140. Sidney says

    Half marathon! Long enough to feel like you accomplished something, not so long that you have to resist the urge to lay down and die :)

  141. Sidney says

    Half marathon! Long enough to feel like you accomplished something, but not so long that you have to resist the urge to lay down and die 😀

  142. Stacie says

    The half marathon is my fav! Thanks for this post!! Seriously, you have no idea how much this will help me.

    Thanks to you and Clif for the giveaway :)

  143. PattiR says

    I just started running 1/2 marathons last year and LOVE that distance. I adore my long runs on the weekend and a 1/2 gives me a great excuse to take the time for myself and let my husband wrangle the kids for a bit.

  144. Ali says

    I love 10 mile races! They leave you wanting more and feeling like you could easily run another 10… but you don’t becuase you don’t have to :)

  145. says

    I usually only run 5K races, but I am training now for my first half marathon. I am really beginning to love my longer runs.

    What are the best tasting gel flavors out there?

  146. says

    I don’t know – I just love racing. :) I do especially love the 10 mile distance, and I get to do a 10 miler in about a month! Score! Also LOVE LOVE LOVE shot blocks, gels usually uck up my stomach but the blocks don’t. My faves are blue and strawberry. :)

  147. Lindsey B says

    I love any middle-distance race — especially 15K’s, 10 Milers, and half marathons! But, super pumped to be running Chicago Marathon in October. LOVE Shot Blocks btw. They are my all-time fave race fuel!

  148. Rebekah Patin says

    I love 5K’s but am training for my first half marathon right now. I anticipate it being the best experience ever!!!

  149. Laura says

    10 miles…not too long-not too short. Just right!! And I LOVE the chocolate cherry blocs….I tried the margarita ones and couldn’t get it down : / But the choc cherry….I could eat them as a snack!

  150. Kary says

    Fav distance has to be the Half Mary. I used to be partial to the sport jelly beans, but have recently started liking the blocks because they’re just like gummy candy. Yum!

  151. Sarah D. says

    Never commented here before but I love your blog. I have never tried the shot blocks, so I would LOVE to be able to try them out! I love half marathons- not too time consuming to train for and fun to run. Thanks!

  152. says

    I think the half is going to be my favorite race distance, but after running my first full 10/12, I know that won’t be the only time I do it:-)

  153. Gabrielle says

    I love the lucky number 7 miles 😀 I’ll be running my first half-marathon to raise money for Operation Smile, so I’m working on increasing mileage!

  154. Jaclyn says

    I’m running my first half marathon this weekend, so I don’t know if it is my favorite yet. However, I am loving the 8 mile distance. It is just far enough, but not too far. By the way, I love Shot Bloks! They are my fuel of choice.

  155. Lindsay says

    I like to run 5 miles because that will take me around 2 pretty lakes where I get to look for baby animals. Nothing beats seeing baby animals on a run. Or ever.

  156. says

    I’ve signed up for half number 2, so I think that’s my favorite!

    I’d be interested in trying the blocks. I puked my guts up after the first half and the gels. Did NOT sit well. Bars may be a better way to go for me. And I’ve got to figure out what is best for pre-race.

  157. Melissa says

    Love my half marathons. I like marathons and I don’t; I like them a lot more before and after they take place than I do around mile 20.

  158. Cortney says

    The half is definitely my favorite, but I’m running a 5k this Sunday just so I get the free green beer afterward :)

    Shot bloks are definitely my favorite fuel…I used to use sport beans but once I tried the bloks, I never went back!

  159. Emma Schuering says

    Marathon distance is my favorite. I always have the same problem with my quads, too. I’m going to try the bananas all week strategy and see how it works for my next one in a few weeks!

  160. Lynn says

    Well, I am a newbie runner (training for my first half and a 25k this spring!), but of the distances I’ve raced thus far I really liked a 4-miler. It’s fast and just as soon as you’re starting to think “this hurts”, it’s over!

  161. Traci L says

    The 1/2 Marathon is my favorite distance right now!

    The tropical punch shot blocs play a big roll in my training and I am down to my last package!

  162. Kate says

    Half marathons are the best! Feel a great sense of accomplishment when finished, but don’t have to make my life crazy with training (like marathons require).

  163. Natalie says

    I’m training for my 5th Half Marathon with Team Challenge for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. There is nothing better than challenging yourself while raising money for a great cause (one that is near and dear to my heart).

  164. Margaret says

    I love the full Marathon. Not srue why. Maybe casue its soo hard and the accomplishment feels so great. I could really use the shot blcoks as they have become my fuel of choice during this year’s Boston training. Yum.

  165. Isis says

    My favorite distance is the half marathon but I also love 10ks because I can be a lot more speedy with that distance! I’ve never tried shot bloks, but I’d really like to!

  166. says

    My fav race distance is … further. There is seriously something wrong with me, I *just* ran a marathon and now I’m training for an ultra because running another 5 miles after a marathon just sounds peachy to me.

  167. says

    Ohhhhhh my Gosh! Thank you for this info!

    I LOVE MARATHONS! you know…all TWO of them I’ve done. lol

    The Margarita Shot Bloks saved my hiney at the oven-ending of my second marathon. Big fan. I’m too much of squirrel and think I need to hoard them to only use them when I absolutely NEED them. You and Steve have really helped pound the idea in to not let your tank get to low.

    Again, thank you so much.

  168. Sandy says

    I really like 5K’s, but I loved the 1/2 Marathon I did in October. It was so tough though. I am working towards doing another 1/2 in the summer.

  169. Camara says

    I think that I will one day like 1/2 marathons, but I haven’t yet worked up to that distance. So right now, 10ks.

  170. says

    I love half marathons. They are challenging and don’t take up too much time since I am a slow poke. I have attempted to full marathons and I love the bigger challenge. I started fueling with Uncrustables and gels. The uncrustables are an awkward size but I think they work great and are cheaper.

  171. Amy P. says

    I love the half. That distance is great for me. I’ve never ran a half at a race, but used to run a half for my long run on the weekends. I’m out of the habit and trying to get back into it.

  172. Jen B says

    My fav is the half, although I’m running a full on St Patty’s Day.
    This post was exactly what I’d been wanting to find. Thank you!

  173. Patty says

    10k only because that is the farthest I have raced so far but hopefully this will be the year of the half!

  174. Karen says

    I guess I ‘d have to say a half marathon. Although there is nothing like the satisfaction of having survived a full! :)

  175. says

    I love 1 mile right now b/c I can do that. I was doing regular 5ks daily, but my lungs died, and now getting to 1 mile is a victory.

    Yay running!

  176. Laura says

    I’m having a baby in 5 weeks so right now a 1 mile run would be challenging. But normally my favorite distance is a 10k!

  177. says

    Probably a 10k. A 5k is about speed and a half Mary is about pacing as well as a full Mary but a 10k is both combined. Though it was always fun racing to the swings at recess — winner!!

  178. says

    Half marathons are my favorite! Perfect blend of speed and distance. I keep registering for fulls though .. hmmm ….

    Also I just bought a box of the margarita shot blocks last week, salty sweater party of 1 right here.

  179. Kasey says

    I’ve only ran 1 full, but it was my favorite so far. we’ll see if that still holds after I run marathon #2 10 days from now!

  180. Rachael says

    i recently ran my first half marathon, and loved it! I’m planning on running another one in the fall!

  181. says

    I love half marathons! But there’s also something really fun and nostalgic about a 5k for me since it was my first race distance. I did my first marathon last year and wanted to die but I am going to try to make marathons my favorite. :)

  182. Sarah says

    I ran my first marathon last November and I loved it! The actual running was fun to a point but I think I enjoy knowing my body can actually carry me that far even more :)

  183. Melissa K. says

    My fav so far is a half marathon.. But im running my first full marathon this saturday!! Somehow i dont think it will be as enjoyable as a half tho… 😉

  184. keren says

    As of right now, my favorite is a 10k. I’d like to try a 15k though! I think that would become my favorite distance.

  185. Sarah says

    For actual races, I love the half. But I’m also very partial to the 4-mile loop I train on around my house. Mmm …margarita bloks sound awesome!

  186. Laura says

    I absolutely love the Half Marathon distance. Makes me feel accomplised and I love getting the bling at the finish line.

  187. Laurel says

    I am a rookie racer, I am in the midst of training for a half and am running my first 5k, this weekend. My favorite distance is anything after 3 miles when my body is warm and I have found my rhythm.

  188. says

    I guess mine is a half since it’s challenging, but doable in my case. I really can’t wait to do a marathon though.

    Thanks for posting! I love reading about food and running all in one post. Especially since I attempted a marathon a week ago and only made it to mile 23. Maybe I didn’t fuel right?

    Also, I LOVE Sriracha. I put that stuff on EVERYTHING!

  189. Tonya says

    My favorite distance for a regular run is 6-6.5 miles. My favorite race distance is a half. Long enough to be challenging, but no long enough I feel like it takes a good portion of the day. I’m slow.

  190. Courtney says

    I love half marathons. The perfect distance for me. It’s still a challenge and I can still work out the next day.

  191. says

    My favorite everyday race is the race out my front door while half asleep at the butt crack of dawn every morning….. But for real races, Mary

  192. says

    I really liked the 5K distance for a while, but after my 3rd half marathon, I’m starting to really like that distance! It’s an accomplishment and I really just try to enjoy the whole race! Training is not fun, but it’s all worth it in the end! :)

  193. kathleen says

    Half marathons are my favorite… and I’d love to finally figure out what to eat during loooong runs that didn’t make me want to cut out my stomach :)

  194. says

    My fave distance is the 1/2 marathon. I’ve only ever done a 1/2 and a 10k, and the 1/2 was definitely more enjoyable! I guess I enjoy pacing myself for around 2 hours versus running at a higher intensity for a shorter period. I feel less like dying 😉
    I have my 2nd 1/2 marathon coming up in less than a month, and I definitely need to figure out how to fuel mid-race because the last time I didn’t eat anything and got so hungry by the end!

  195. Nicki says

    13.1! I’ve recently recruited 2 newbies to do a couple with me and I’m hoping they don’t die. Because then they’d blame me.

  196. Eunice says

    I haven’t been running that long but I really like the 10k! They’re so much fun and the perfect distance!

  197. Elizabeth Gossett says

    Favorite distance is half marathon or 10k…gotta be too fast for 5k. Just ran Nola full myself!!

  198. Angie Willie says

    I love the HALF!! My husband is actually running 2 with me this summer and he loves the shot blocks. The gels make him gag…which is actually really funny so if I ever get him to try one again I will be sure to get it on video for you!!

  199. Chris A says

    I’ve only run one half marathon, with the second one this Saturday (Rock’n’Roll DC representing Team Refuel). I like the half marathon distance, but I really like the 10 miler distance. Not as many of those around, but there are two great ones in DC – the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in the spring and the Army 10 miler in the fall. Both are FANTASTIC races.

  200. Kate says

    I’m loving 5ks right now. I’m just getting back into running and hoping to do a 1/2 later this year!:)

  201. Kelly O-ski says

    I love the emotions that come with finishing a marathon, but a half-marathon is just enough to quench the hunger, if you will, but I’m not dog-tired afterward.

  202. Cassie F. says

    I have only done one marathon which I loved! But i still think I love the half marathon a little bit more, maybe a few more marathons will change my mind. The half is great because it is long, but not THAT long!

  203. says

    Lol, I just finished a blog post about what I ate today, which included a toasted English muffin with peanut butter, chia seeds, a banana and salt. I do this every day, not just race morning, because I find it extra delicious.

    Also, the key to the perfect chocolate chip cookie: salt. I add just a pinch of the kosher stuff on top of the cookies. Salty helps your palate recognize sweet.

  204. Katie M says

    The half marathon is my favorite distance. I can train for it, and do great, but if even if I don’t train well, I can finish without hurting myself too badly :)

  205. Stacey says

    Half-marathon is my favorite. It is a distance when you finish the race you feel like you have really accomplished something, and it is do-able to properly train for even with kids, husband and full-time job.

  206. Mia says

    Uhh, does the distance you run to catch the bus when your late count? Cause that can be the most stressful and either satisfying or disappointing race you do. No? Well then 15k i suppose.

  207. Gillian says

    Big love for the half marathon! Maybe after a few more full races or if I ever run as fast as SR the marathon will be #1. I fuel with gu and honey stingers chews but margarita clif blocks sound yummy so may have to test ’em out sometime

  208. Molly says

    13.1, baby! They’re fast and fun. I would love to do 13 in 2013, but I’m probably going to end up doing around 5.

  209. ashley says

    My favorite distance is a half marathon! I love the marathon for other reasons, but if I’m racing a half is my fave… I am SO excited to try to margarita flavor of shot blocks! I had no idea those existed, my favorite is the black cherry. Yumm.

  210. Rachael J says

    Pick me pick me! Hehe, it’s also technically still my birthday where you live 😉 I am running my first half marathon in June. Honestly, although I’ve yet to run that far, 13.1 is already my favorite number and I have a feeling I’m going to be addicted to half marathons like you are. Born on the 13th, favorite number became 13, and now I will be running over 13 miles.

  211. Meredith says

    I love marathons. But I love half marathons too… I think because they’re less of a time commitment.

  212. says

    i did a marathon a few years back. it was highly enjoyable and exhausting. i love this blog since i really enjoy running. got to get back into it again! this website just gives me motivation. great content. love the pictures.

  213. Chris says

    I love half marathons. I just started running a couple years ago and did my first half last year. This summer I’m signed up for 4!! : )

  214. christine says

    I love the half marathon, but I’m able to keep the best pace in a 10k. HATE 5ks… I like that longer distances force you into a rhythm.

  215. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for this post! I am working on my 2nd half and I never know if I should eat. My favorite distance is 15k!

  216. Dustin pendleton says

    My favorite run is whatever Nicole forces me to run. Any run with her turns out pretty good. However, being new to running, 3 is my favorite because it’s one time around the trail that I do and it is motivating for me :) I have my first 1/4 marathons next weekend in Tucson , AZ :)

  217. says

    10k is the longest I’ve done so far. I like it because it’s still challenging to me. I just bought some different fuels to try but haven’t ran farther than 6 1/2 or so haven’t tried them out yet.

  218. says

    I think my favorite distance is the 10k. I feel like I’m getting a great workout without having to invest as much time training since I enjoy keeping my weekends as free as I can to hang out with my daughter.

  219. says

    My favorite distance so far is the half I did last year. Signed up for my first marathon this year though and was just looking at articles about how to fuel! Your post could not have come at a better time!

  220. Megan says

    I think my favorite is 2 miles.. .I’m training for a 5k now and anything past 2 miles right now is brutal! I’ll get there though :)

  221. KK says

    10K is my fave distance because that’s the furthest race i’ve run without dying. I signed up for the Chicago marathon though, so I better figure this ish out!

  222. says

    Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I think I like 10ks best because that’s my usual daily run distance, but 1/2 marathons are a particular challenge. I’m going to go with 10 miles, even though I haven’t actually run a race at that distance yet.

  223. Sharon Geller says

    My favorite is either the half, or 10k. I am planning on running my first marathon at next year’s LA Marathon, so this year I am working it to get a feel for it!! Expect me to cheer you on like crazy at water stop mile 16!!

  224. Natalie P. says

    10Ks are my favorite!
    Short enough that you are running less than an hour for the race and your training runs don’t completely take over your life but still long enough to make you feel like a bad ass.

  225. says

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the
    images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

  226. says

    currently, i’ve only done 1 race: a 5K. it was short, but fun. i’m doing a 10K this sunday and i’m sure i will LOVE it!