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How do I fuel for a half marathon?
How to Fuel

Fueling and Hydrating for a Half-Marathon

As Head Coach at The Feed, I wanted to walk you all through fueling and hydrating for one of my favorite racing distances – the half marathon.

First, it’s always important to know what’s going to be given out on course for the race you’re running. Races will have both fuel and hydration options, typically every few miles. These options don’t need to be your main sources of fuel and hydration, but it’s important to know whether or not you tolerate them if you find yourself in need.

Let me give you a few theoretical scenarios because we’ve all been there! Say you drop a gel, didn’t bring as many as you needed, or missed a handoff for your hydration//fuel drink (if this is something your race allows), having the ability to pick up an extra gel or drink at the hydration and fueling stations as you go, and knowing you’ll tolerate them, is vital.

In addition to this, know what you can bring with you! What I mean by this is that half marathons differ in that some will allow you to bring a hydration vest while others may not. Many half-marathons tend to allow you to bring a bottle in hand or in a hydration belt, so this can be another option if that is the case. Be sure to read through the race guidelines to know what you can/cannot bring!

Below, I’ll outline a few different potential strategies to get you feeling fantastic through the finish:

Gels & Drink Mix Combination

1 gel at the start followed by a gel every 30 minutes and 2 servings of drink mix in your bottle.

Gels & Chews Combination

1 gel at the start followed by 1 serving of chews 30 minutes into the race. Continue to alternate between 1 gel and 1 serving of chews every 30 minutes until the race is over.

Reminder: most packs of chews have more than 1 serving so be sure to read the label to know how many chews you’ll need to take!

This combination as well as the gels only route below can be great options if you enjoy the hydration option on the course. However, if you don’t love them, not a problem! You can either bring some SaltStick Chews in your pocket for electrolytes or choose the Neversecond C30 gels and just hit the water station every time you go by it for fluids!

Only Gels

1 gel at the start followed by 1 gel every 20-30 minutes until the race is over, depending on your goal carbohydrate intake per hour.

Pro tip: If you’re only taking gels, taking options with you that have more carbohydrates per serving, like Spring Energy Awesome Sauce with 45g carbs, may help when it comes to how frequently you’ll have to take a gel and how much you’ll have to hold while running to reach your goal carbohydrate intake every hour you’re on course.

We typically recommend 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour during these types of high intensity races alongside 1 serving of electrolytes and at least 16 ounces of water per hour.

Gels: PF90 gel, SiS Beta Fuel Gel, Spring Energy Awesome Sauce

One of my new favorite things to do in addition to finding gels with more carbohydrates per serving, is to put my gels into a 150ml The Feed Softflask.

I found the softflask holds roughly 4 gels at 30g of carbs per gel (120g carbs total in one flask!) and this can change depending on the gel you’re using. Most recently, I tried 3 servings of Precision’s PF30 gel plus 1 Neversecond C30 gel all mixed up in my softflask and it was fantastic. It fit right in my pocket, tasted delicious, and I had no problems consuming it during my training run. This can be another easy way to get in the fuel you need without having to carry a ton on you. Plus, it saves you from having a bunch of sticky garbage in your pockets at the end too! A win all around.

If you have a half-marathon coming up, you’re thinking about doing one and don’t know where to begin nutrition wise, or your training for one in the future, drop us an email at coaching@thefeed.com and we can help personalize the nutrition strategy for you!

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The Feed. / Thursday, June 22, 2023