Looking to lead a stronger, healthier life?
Sign up for our Wellness Wire newsletter for all sorts of nutrition, fitness, and wellness wisdom.

Now we’re in this together.
Thanks for subscribing and having us along on your health and wellness journey.

See all Healthline's newsletters »
Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

See all posts »

Sample Day When Training

As promised, here is a sample day of what I would eat when marathon training:

Snack before run: 3/4 cup Total or Wheaties either dry handfuls or with ½ cup soy or skim milk OR a banana

During run: Gatorade or water, depending on distance. If more than 10 miles, Gatorade every 2-3 miles plus some water. Sometimes I do gels instead of Gatorade and eat one-half of the gel at a time.

After run: Whole grain toast or English muffin with peanut butter, a little jelly, glass of skim or soy milk, and a banana or other fruit OR Oatmeal made with milk not water for protein with some frozen blueberries or dried cranberries added before microwaving (I like the Quaker Weight Control and I add ½ cup Allbran to it before cooking) OR Bowl of cereal (whole grain) with fresh fruit and skim or soy milk or light yogurt. I often add a small amount of Allbran or Fiber One mixed with other cereals to boost fiber.

Midmorning snack: Piece of fresh fruit OR light yogurt OR string cheese OR Pria, Zone, Luna, Lara, etc bar OR Vitamuffin top OR Glenny’s soy crisps OR Glenny’s Brownie or Blondie bar

Lunch: Frozen meal of choice OR Flatout wrap sandwich with hummus and veggies OR Salad with tons of different veggies, tuna, cheese, cottage cheese, or veggie pepperoni for protein, light salad dressing, maybe some whole grain crackers for crunch on the side.

Midafternoon snack: Same as morning choices. A little bit of chocolate may sneak in there instead of those snacks, though.

Dinner: Protein of choice (usually fish or veggie substitute), starch of choice (brown rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.), veggie of choice (I use a lot of frozen veggies and micro them for convenience). Usually have a small piece of chocolate to finish the meal like one Ghiradelli square

Snack in evening (if desired): Sorbet OR milk and a cookie OR Glenny’s brownie OR light popcorn

A few comments:
Remember that I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian who includes a little bit of fish in my diet. If you enjoy animal proteins, that is fine, just keep them lean.

I try to eat every 3-4 hours to keep my energy level up and get necessary nutrients. Eating more often helps me get the calories I need without feeling overfull at meals. My meals are not very large portions because I snack often. I always try to have grain, protein, and fruit and/or veggie at every meal. Snacks just get me from meal to meal with provding energy and preventing hunger.

I drink a lot of water, occasional diet soft drink, or flavored water like Propel. I do not drink juice because I prefer fresh whole fruit to juice for more fullness. I know runners hate to eat before their morning run, but I really try to have at least a couple of handfuls of dry cereal or a banana (even a half banana) or a couple of swigs of Gatorade before I start to get the glucose flowing in my bloodstream from the long fast overnight.

Also, this is a near perfect day. I eat out fairly often, which is not reflected in this day. My choices are not as good when I eat out!

Photo courtesy of istockphoto
  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

Recent Blog Posts