My Marathon Nutrition Plan (plus tips!)

I am so excited everyone!  The past few months of training have been not only just challenging with work life vs social life vs running schedule and keeping my self in tip-top shape, but  has been a remarkable experience. To go from being injured for so long (almost 2 years) to being able to actually train again this past year and be able to finally run for 2 hours a couple of weeks ago.  So to celebrate the week leading up to the marathon I want to share a few nutrition tips I used during my first marathon and what I am doing this weekend to help get through my second round of 26.2 miles

3 common problems:

1. Running out of energy--I want to avoid not having enough energy or 'gas in the tank' during the race or run.  

2. Hydration- You don't want to become dehydrated and also not overhydrated to where your stomach is sloshing water in your stomach.

3. Gastrointestinal (GI) issues!- This is can be caused by what you ate and sometimes the intense exercise you are undergoing. 


Some key points to remember and ones I try to incorporate into my plan to help me stay hydrated and energized throughout my 26.2:

1. Any exercise past 45 minutes needs energy. Aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of exercise. Ideas for easy carbohydrate intake during races are: Fig Newtons, Cliff gels, energy goos, Larabars, Honey Stinger gels or gummies, gummy bears, jelly beans, or dried fruit. 

2.  Make sure to drink enough fluids leading up and during the race. Ideally we want to shoot for 5-12 fluid ounces of fluid each 15 minutes of exercise. So this means, not waiting past an hour or to the half way mart to begin drinking water. You want to start meeting your fluids needs within the first 15 mins of the race. 

3. Don't forget about the electrolytes! Many commercial sports drinks like Powerade or Gatorade contain the electrolytes (magnesium and potassium) that runners need to keep our muscles contracting during vigorous exercise. There have been many runners that experience hyponatremia due to drinking too much water and not enough electrolytes. Other ways to get electrolytes would be via Gatorlytes, and Emergen-C electro mix that can be easily added to water if you don't like all the extra sugar or artificial ingredients commercial sports drinks have. 

4. The day before- Don't try anything new. If you have been eating 3 meals a day, I would encourage to continue doing that. Make sure meals are balanced with moderate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Many times runners tend to want to carb-load the day before, but it can cause you to retain more water, thus more water weight than you are used to running with which can make you feel lethargic.

5. Breakfast (1-4 hours before the race)- Even if you are too nervous or not a big breakfast person, you want to make sure you eat a meal before running to help provide enough energy anyway to keep you fueled. Eating 1-4 hours before exercise helps provide your body readily available sugar or energy and to prevent some GI issues. You want to have something that is low fiber, low fat, and doesn't contain dairy to avoid extra bathroom breaks or stomach pain during the marathon. Some examples of carbohydrate rich  breakfast foods include: oat meal, granola cereal, regular cereal, or a bagel.


With a few days left until the big day here is my marathon nutrition plan:

  • Dinner: Vietnamese vermicelli dish with tofu and veggies, and water and Powerade/Gatorade to drink 
  • Breakfast: whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, and a 1 cup or 2 of Powerade Zero to drink
  • During race: 2 Clff Gels, and 4 Honey Stinger Energy Gels and 2 Lara bars
    • I plan to eat these at the 45 mins , 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45 time marks. If I feel I need one at any time in between, I will more than likely give my body what it needs Even if you have a game plan, it is important to still check in periodically with what your body is asking for.
  • Hydration: I'm intending to start drinking fluids at the first water station and each station location is exactly where I need to get water in my race. The cup that is provided is also the amount my body needs. At the hour mark, I plan to incorporate gatorade. Once I pass one hour I plan to drink a cup of water and gatorade cup to no only rehydrate and replace carbohydrates and electrolytes.

I hope a few of these tips help you guys and glad you guys are following along on this running journey. If you are interested in following me along the course this Sunday please download the app and type in my name, Starla Garcia, to search for me. To download the #runhou app for more Houston Marathon updates and course maps:


Google play:

I encourage you all to go and visit the marathon and cheer on the runners. I've volunteered for the past 2 years and witnessed the power of support the runners feel by just passing on well wishes as they run by you. 

Be sure to follow me also via IG and IG video/stories @starla_shines for quick updates at the Houston Chevron Marathon Expo and at Fleet Feet Houston-Rice Village this weekend or other running/food related fun.  

Let's Shine, 




Sources: Gatorade Sports Science Institute