fuelling during a half marathon

Can someone,  give me advice on fuelling before a half marathon , during and after the race , how much water/energy drink is best, jelly babies or gels  and how often during the race ? I have found on my long runs Im beginning to flag at the 9 mile mark


  • Your body should be able to store enough glycogen to get you through a half marathon without taking anything during the run, if you are eating properly.

    Make sure you eat well the day before, plenty of carbs, then have a decent breakfast a couple of hours before the long run/race.

    You could take a gel, or energy drink if you feel they will help.  Energy drinks are easier.  How often depends on you - everyone is different.

    Afterwards, make sure you drink plenty and have a snack with carbs and protein within a couple of hours, to help you recover.

  • Quick swig of water on the way round is enough
  • Drink at the aid stations and if it'll have some kind of placebo effect then chomp on two or three jelly babies at the 7 mile and 10 mile marks.

  • thanks guys

  • Nessie73Nessie73 ✭✭✭

    interesting question.. I've never fuelled on a Half and I've done four now and found my times get slower and slower.  I also did a 16 mile race (kilomathon) last year which was horrific- although I did finish it- and have been told that not fuelling may be the reason why I'm flagging, and why I struggled so much with the training for the 16 miler.  On my long training runs I sometimes start flagging around the 9-10 mile mark but not always and I just push on through, maybe have a sip of water. I would like to improve on my time for my next HM next month. I have lost nearly a stone since Xmas which seems to be helping, but will follow this thread with interest since I've been puzzling over the fuelling thingy...


  • People hit the "wall" in a marathon at 19 / 20 miles ...... Half is well within the bodies reserves
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    Nessie it sounds like you've just not built up the stamina yet (not running long regularly enough), or possibly that you are starting to quickly. You really shouldn't need to fuel up at all during a half.

  • Depends on how long you take to run those miles as well though.

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    A banana half hour before the start.
  • RedjeepRedjeep ✭✭✭
    It probably all depends on what your body is conditioned to take. If this is your first HM and you don't run that distance too often, then you may benefit from a gel or two or some jelly babies. Your body doesn't really need it, but don't fret about taking something. Its probably better to over fuel than under fuel even if its just for some comfort or as a treat.
  • It will depend on time taken- I reckon that once you are over 90 minutes, something to take is nice (just a couple of jelly babies should suffice, though, or my current favourite- percy pigs!), and by the time you are at 2 hours, it probably becomes more important. Water is safest fluid unless you have a cast -iron stomach- some drinks stations give out lucozade sport , but beware unless you've tried it, most people find it makes them ill- it seems better if diluted with water, but it really isn't necessary, and you always know that ther'll be water ( unless you're doing a race in Edinburgh- where they have trouble with this concept)

  • I've been finding that if I take some Powerade or similar out with me on longer runs, I feel a lot better than when I just take water.  I did 3 HMs last year and found them all to be a struggle after about 10k.  Now I'm training for a marathon (my longest distance so far has been 17 miles) and I've found that a little bit of energy drink really helps, might be worth a shot for you too??? image

  • thanks Ive decided on water and jelly babies image

  • Tricia how can you chew Percy pigs and breathe at the same time ? I love PP's but I couldn't race with them.
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    I use jelly babies too. One every 5 or 10 minutes. One cab be a bit of a mouthful while running try biting them in half.
  • I've gone from obsessing over getting water at every aid station and regularly eating disgusting gels during a half marathon, to just making sure I'm well hydrated before the race starts, having the odd swig at a station if I fancy it and maybe having a few jelly babies in my pocket in case I need them. To be honest I could probably get round with no water or no food with little or no difference.

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