How to Properly Fuel for A Marathon

Jennifer Heiner-Pisano
3 min readOct 9, 2023

A passionate running enthusiast in Teaneck, Jennifer Heiner formerly served as a retail director for a New Jersey running company. She currently is an inside sales rep for a small company in North Jersey. Outside of the professional arena, Jennifer Heiner belongs to multiple running organizations including the New York Flyers, the New York Road Runners, and NYCRUNS. Welcoming runners of all skill levels and abilities, these organizations regularly sponsor programs and initiatives to help members in areas that range from marathon training to coached speed work.

Whether its training for a Half Marathon or a full 26.2, these groups often have in-person or virtual training programs to get you ready for your big race. Jennifer Heiner herself has run a half dozen marathons, and countless Half Marathons and shorter races. While you typically aim to run one of these distance races in favorable terrain (not too hilly) the best place to train for these events is with some degree of difficulty. Therefore, Jennifer Heiner’s favorite place to train for her distance races is none other than Central Park in Manhattan.

Fall Marathon season is upon us, and we already saw some incredible performances in both the Berlin Marathon and the Chicago Marathon this past weekend — where many records fell. But for the rest of us, who carry on on our own day in and day out, we need a little extra help and guidance as to how to properly train for and fuel for a marathon.

New York Road Runners, the host of the third and final of the fall world marathon majors, outlined tips for fueling on race day on their Strava channel:

Tips for Race Day Fueling

Race day is quickly approaching! We only have a few more long runs to practice race day nutrition, so if you have not started yet, now is the time. As we have mentioned before, nothing new on race day, so let’s make sure anything you consume will be easily digested over 26.2 miles.

1) First, you need to consume fuel on race day! 26.2 miles of running will deplete your glycogen stores, so if you want to feel your best, make sure to pack some fuel in your race-day kit.

2) Race day begins before you line up at the start. Make sure you have a good breakfast and have time to digest it before you start your race.

3) Test out different products to see what settles best in your stomach in the remaining long runs before your race. New York Road Runners is proud to partner with Science in Sport ( and Gatorade Endurance ( if you are not sure what to try.

4) Consider including a caffeine product in your race-day prep. (Again, test this before race day!). Aim to take in 100–200 milligrams of caffeine about 30–60 minutes prior to your race. During the race, 25 or 50 milligrams per hour will provide benefits later in the race when you really need it.

5) Remember, you can choose to eat (in blocks, gels, etc.) your calories or consider drinking your fuel. Maybe a combo of the two will work best for you!

6) Consider the 30 for 30 rule, or 30 grams of carbohydrates for every 30 minutes of running. (This equates to about one Science in Sport gel and a few sips of Gatorade Endurance).

7) You may not feel the need to fuel in the first hour, but the miles add up quickly, so do not forget to start fueling early.

8) Don’t forget to hydrate! If you plan to use gels, many are best washed down with some water so consider lining up your hydration and fueling plan.

9) Plan your fueling strategy before the virtual race. Will you circle back to your car to get your gels? Carry them with you? Or have a friend hand them off?

10) Take some stress away from your virtual race day by practicing whatever strategy you chose in advance on your pre-planned course.

Let us know your go-to race-day fueling strategy in the comments!



Jennifer Heiner-Pisano

A six time marathon competitor, Jennifer Heiner-Pisano volunteers with the New York Road Runners and enjoys all aspects of the running experience.