Top 10 energy-boosting foods for marathon runners

Dr. Priyanka Marakini

August 4, 2023

what are the best foods to sustain energy during a marathon
Eat right so don’t run out of gas during the marathon

Four out of every 10 marathoners ‘hit the wall’ – experience an intense loss of energy – during the marathon race. This happens because their bodies run out of glycogen (stored carbohydrate that is converted to energy) forcing them to slow down. But you don’t need to stock up on factory-made energy bars, gels or sugary sports drinks to avoid this situation. These 10 natural ‘super’ foods help more in the ‘long run’.

Peanut butter

It may be calorie dense, but this yummy spread can give an energy-high lasting hours. A sandwich, generously smeared with peanut butter, is an ideal pre-marathon breakfast.


Be it the good old rajma (kidney beans) or the fancier soya, beans and lentils should feature on every runner’s diet, especially if he or she is vegetarian. They are high in proteins, carbohydrates and have a low glycemic rating.


The protein-packed egg is the best source of Choline which can help one fly through the last leg of the marathon. This nutrient is essential in the formation of a neurotransmitter that relays messages between nerves and muscles.


This grain, which is often eaten during fasts, can compensate for tremendous physical stress. It is rich in protein, iron and also contains 6-10 per cent unsaturated oil which is high in amino acids that aid tissue repair.

Whole-wheat pasta

The carbohydrate-dense food is a great way to maximise muscle glycogen stores before big races.


The humble banana ranks better than sports drinks when it comes to improving performance and replenishing electrolytes. It is also rich in carbohydrates, potassium and vitamins C and B6.


One cup a day can keep the runner’s gut in top shape. Plus, it’s loaded with calcium which improves bone density.


An ounce of raisins provides the same amount of carbohydrates as an energy gel without causing tummy trouble.

Chocolate milk

The delicious drink has the right carbohydrate-to-protein ratio for post-run recovery and replenishment of glycogen levels


The vitamin C and potassium in berries aids the body in repairing minor muscular tears and relieves soreness experienced after long runs.

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About the Author

The holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences, Dr. Priyanka has more than 7 years of experience in the field of health and wellness. Currently serving as a Sr. Nutritionist at HealthifyMe, she specializes in Weight Management, Lifestyle Modifications, and PCOS, Diabetes, and Cholesterol Management. In addition to being a Nutritionist, Dr. Priyanka is also a Fitness Enthusiast and a certified Zumba instructor. A strong believer in eating healthy, she is certain that the right kind of motivation can help an individual work wonders in their lives.

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