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What I Ate on A 20 Mile Run Day

I know I missed last week’s marathon training update so let’s consider this post this week’s update as I discuss my 20 mile run and food, of course! 

I’m happy to share that my travel schedule (which was CRAZY in September) will now quiet down until the Marathon, which is less than a month away.

Late/August September brought me to Chicago for a bachelorette party, Vermont for my cousins’ wedding, back to Chicago for a sponsored blog trip, Rhode Island for my sister’s wedding, and back to Vermont for another blog trip.

Quite honestly, I love to travel but I’m feeling a strong pull to be home for a while and just be.

Last Marathon Long Run

This weekend marked my last marathon long run for training. I did just about 20 miles, and I’m doing a half marathon this upcoming weekend (with a few miles added on before and after).

Then, I’ll head into my marathon taper mode, as we’re 3 weeks out currently.

Aside from this week’s long run, last week I also got 20 miles in over 4 runs. I felt really good, much better than I have throughout all of training.

Most of those runs were in Rhode Island where it strongly felt like fall and I’m wondering if that played a role. That and my nutrition, of course.

I’ve been stocking my pantry staples with many of my favorite things from this athletes grocery list

Girl smiling on a trail wearing a running vest

I feel much faster and more efficient in the fall. I don’t run well in warm weather and I guess I’m realizing this more and more.

PS – I love this lightweight running vest from Nathan. I’m someone who hates holding anything when I run, so handheld water bottles don’t work for me.

This is a good in between and it doesn’t feel heavy or like it’s wearing me down. 

How I Felt On the 20 Mile Run

After this weekend’s run (which was a much-needed confidence booster), I’m feeling more at peace with just being content with where I am currently. My goal was to go for an 18 mile run in 3 hours, and I did just about 19.5 miles so I’m calling it 20.

I haven’t run for 3 hours since my last marathon training cycle (2.5 years ago), so that almost seemed like a new sensation for my legs. 

Ed and Cam joined me for the last hour, which really helped because my legs were starting to feel really heavy and tired then. He brought me some of my diy electrolyte drink mix (the tart cherry one). 

baby sleeping in stroller

I thought it’d be fun to show a day of eats on long run day, although most of us know that the real hunger comes the day AFTER the long run. I feel like I have constant hunger, but just to give some context, here we go.

As always, these meals aren’t meant to compare and remember that we are all different in how much food we need each day. I like to base meals off of the performance plates!

Breakfast: Long Run Nutrition

In terms of race day nutrition, I always eat a balanced breakfast before a run, 1-2 hours before. This time it was toast, one with yogurt and blackberries and the other with peanut butter and banana.

I also had a muffin with more peanut butter, coffee, and water with electrolytes. 

I ate a few more bites of Camryn’s banana and muffin right before I went out the door. 

toast with fruit and a muffin on blue plate with coffee and electrolytes water

During the run, I took some Gu chews, a gel, and raisins, and mixed electrolytes in with my water. I probably took about 30-35 ounces of water in total, which is probably on the lower end (more on hydration needs here), but I always drink a bunch before my run, too.

Remember: you won’t stay hydrated with water alone. You need salt as a buffer to help your body use that water. 

Long Run Recovery Meal

I was starving immediately after finishing the run so my attention turned to long run nutrition recovery. I had a stroop waffle on the ride home with more water and prepared an easy lunch.

For lunch, I had leftovers from the night before – pumpkin risotto with some crockpot chicken and a salad with hemp seeds, orange slices and grapes.

I obviously believe in and follow intuitive eating, but for recovery purposes, I do make sure to include a variety of foods that I’ll talk about here.

  • Risotto and fruit, for carbs, obviously
  • Chicken for protein (protein for runners are important for recovery and repair!)b
  • Salad for fiber
  • Grapes and Oranges for phytochemicals, antioxidants (to help with inflammation)
  • Oranges and tomatoes for Vitamin C (an antioxidant) but also to help with iron absorption from the chicken
Lunch plate with salad, risotto and chicken

These are things I just kind of do naturally, but figured it would be helpful to break it down for you.

Later on, I made a snack plate with a mix of salty (electrolytes), crunchy and savory, with some chocolate for sweet.

I shared most of this with Cam (not the chocolate/nuts/seeds because choking hazards), so that also helped make this snack plate complete. I do try to model eating a variety of foods and colors myself, to help spark her interest.

She has always loved tomatoes, and is also really into crunchy peppers right now. She was also crushing that popcorn, too!


I did some meal prep for the week, including many easy meals from my easy recipes for marathon training. 

Then, we reheat some of my kale and sweet potato pasta because it was just what my body needed!

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese in white serving dish

So, that was a day of eats! 

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  1. The taper is tough, but it’s also exciting, because it means all those worthwhile weeks of training are coming to an end! Also, I love that post run meal. It’s always so satisfying.

  2. I’m not a big fan of the taper 🙁 I feel like I just got sore when I cut back on my mileage because my body was doing well with the progressive load from training. I like your hydration vest! I don’t have one, but I would like one. There are just so many options out there. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Congrats on 20! I cannot wait for fall weather. It was 90 today but this Saturday morning the forecast is low 40’s and I am so excited!

    Sometimes I’m hungry right after a long run, but most of the time I just want to shower and lie down for a while. When that happens, I’ll blend up a frozen banana with milk and protein powder to sip on.

  4. I like the taper since it means less intensity and less miles but then I start to get antsy like I won’t be prepared which is silly. That snack plate is calling my name and now I’m curious if I have stuff to make it for lunch.

  5. Sounds like this run was a huge confidence booster for you. You did a great job of fueling and hydrating too. I do like to see how everyone else fuels. Thanks for linking up!

  6. Oh gosh…I LOVE LOVE LOVE the taper! I respect a lot of runners get antsy and may doubt if they’ve trained “enough,” but at that point I know what’s done is done and a few last-minute runs to make-up for missed runs will do more harm than good. After a long run, I have ZERO appetite. I usually have to wait a good 20-30 minutes (at the minimum) before I can put anything in my mouth other than water or Gatorade. Congrats on getting that 20-miler done!!

    1. Alot of my clients are like that, everyone is so different with how soon they are ready to eat.

  7. Great job on that 20 miler! I haven’t done a run longer than a half marathon in almost 4 years now. I’m sure whenever I train for another marathon that will be super intimidating.
    I hear ya on the weather. On those few mornings when it was cooler running felt so much easier. Too bad now its back to being hot and humid again! At least the weather in Detroit should be cool for your race!

    1. My body is still feeling it, I’m sure I will be sore for days! I am looking forward to cool weather consistently.