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Marathon Training Nutrition: Long Run Day

Thank you Jill for Hosting Fitness Friday!

Zoe yowled in thanks for all of your happy Meowzer-versary wishes yesterday! And then promptly vomited #catlife #thestruggleisreal

Zoe and Alex Lazy on the Couch

I was really hoping to have a new recipe for you all today, but with SOMEONE visiting this weekend and then coaching and whatnot, it didn’t happen. 


What is even more frustrating is that I’ve made this recipe already but didn’t have good pictures of it! GRRRRR Blogger Problems. I can’t even hashtag it because I don’t deserve to be a blogger who hashtags with such issues. 

Thank you as always to Jenn!

Thank you as always to Jenn!

Marathon Training Nutrition: Long Run Day Eats 

Marathon Training Nutrition Long Run Day Eats Suzlyfe

A little while ago, a reader asked if I might go into how I fuel for my long coaching days. I know that I already covered most of the food that I ate this weekend, and I’ve also looked a few other days in detail, but I thought it might be helpful to go over it again now that we are hitting really big mileage over a long period of time. So, for those of you who have already consumed this feast of the eyes, consider yourself spared of my usual hunger-pain inducing Wednesday posts and take a pass. For the uninitiated, get read to get hungry!

4:30/40-5:10 AM: Wake Up

English Muffin with Pb for Breakfast Suzlyfe

  • Immediately reheat 16 oz of 3/4 decaf, 1/4 caff coffee
  • Pull Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Thin (sometimes an Original English Muffin) out of freezer and let sit to thaw or nuke for 15 s and then split. Toast, spread with nut butter of choice and jam and sea salt lightly shaken over top.
  • Handful of cereal (varies, but one that is easy on my stomach)
Keep them in the Fridge

Keep them in the Fridge

  • Some Crispy M&M’s and Carrots (I’m weird, but I like the crisp and coolness, and always chocolate)
  • 8 oz or so water

I stretch during all of this, make sure I have my stuff. I try to drink my coffee before I eat my bagel thin, the water helps me wash that down. I leave the apartment at 5:10, am running by 5:15 for the 3 miles down to the Fleet Feet South Loop Store.

5:50-6:05 AM: Coaches’ Meeting

  • Eat banana from banana holster
Banana Holster in a Flip Belt Runner

My Flipbelt Banana Holster

This past time, I threw in an extra mile so that I could hit my mileage. This is just dependent on what distance/pace group I am working with. I ate 1/2 banana before and 1/2 after that mile. 

6:30–9:30 ish: RUN!

  • Ginger Chews (one right before, one on the run)
  • Gummy’s and Cheez-its at an aid station (just a few)
  • FRS Energy Chew (just one)
  • 3 or so water stops

This last run, I only needed the Ginger chew and FRS (which has some caffeine, but not that much) with the Gummies. I also take sport beans with me, and they are my race fuel. If I wasn’t getting the banana and ginger in between my early miles and the main miles, I would likely need more fuel on the run. When it was hot out, I did take some gatorade from an aid station. For more specifics on my race nutrition and running nutrition, see this post.

**PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: I actually used to fuel far more. My body responds a bit better to a longer term fueling system–building up the glycogen stores and then not taking in quite so much while I am running. Thus why nutrition is so important to me before and after. You will also notice that I don’t do gels–I prefer sport beans. If they are offered during races, I will take oranges or bananas on course. I also like peppermints and butterscotch!

9:30-10:30 AM: Post run, still at the store coaching

  • 8 oz water
  • Mini Luna Protein Bar Lemon Vanilla Flavor
  • 16 oz decaf coffee (I was really cold sitting outside in the wind!)

Other times, I’ve gotten a Greek yogurt or Elli Quark (FINALLY in Chicago!) with a Kind Popped Grains Bar from the Target right next to us. Depends on how long we have to wait for people, and what my later plans are. This time, I knew that….

12:00 PM: Brunch

would be happening. 

  • (a few little snackings in between)
  • Hibiscus Berry Kevita


  • Massive egg white and veggie omelet or scramble with fresh tomatoes, hot sauce, salt and pepper

Tempo Cafe Egg White Veggie Omelet Gold Coast Chicago Suzlyfe

  • 2 pieces crusty wheat toast with jam (or English Muffin). 
  • Water

If Alex is with me, I also have a little of his. I let Courtney be.

3 or 4:00 PM/Mid afternoon:

  • 3/4 cup or so Greek Yogurt topped with cereal or with a bar on the side; maybe popcorn instead

6:30 PM: Dinner 

Alex and I will go out to dinner. This past weekend, we took Court to local fave D4 Irish Pub

D4 Irish Pub Burger Shrimp Salad and Rogue Hazelnut Ale Suzlyfe

  • I had a veggie-loaded salad with shrimp
  • Split a basket of housecut fries, sweet potato fries, and Alex’s burger. Big run days? I eat with a bit of abandon.
  • Split 2 beers
  • Water

8:00 PM

  • Ice Cream!
Th only clock I really like.

The only clock I really like.

Actually wasn’t hungry (full from the food throughout the day) but knew that I needed the calories. I skipped my typical nut butter tonight because of the fat from dinner and not wanting to overload my stomach

The Night/Day After

I generally try to go to bed rather early for long run days, and often I will wake up and eat in the middle of the night. Because I am refueling rather well immediately following, I don’t get so much runger the day of–it is more of an ongoing process. That means that my day-after long run day nutrition is just as important:

  • Puffins Cereal when I wake up
  • Massive egg white and veggie scramble (again)
  • Lyfe Kitchen Salad with fish
  • Popcorn, Greek Yogurt, and full serving Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • Veggie sautee with TVP, two pieces toast
  • Ice cream with pb
  • Luna Bar, 2 pieces toast, string cheese

Lots of veggies, carbs, lean proteins, healthy fats, fiber (afterwards!!) and just enough sugar. All my nutrients, throughout the day. I have to say I did pretty darn well this weekend with my refueling. 


Looking for more advice? Check out my posts on optimizing muscle recovery and fueling throughout training (marathons or otherwise!)

Don't skimp on your long run #nutrition! Check out what @suzlyfe eats during #marathontraining #wiaw #fitfluential Click To Tweet

Check out my new Marathons and Training Page for more helpful posts!

Any questions for me?

If you are training, how is your nutrition going? Are you making it a priority?

What do you struggle with when it comes to training nutrition?

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  • Reply Carla

    Sharing šŸ™‚ but had to add you had each member of this house in the mention of ice cream o’clock šŸ™‚

    August 26, 2015 at 5:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      The most important time of day.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    The sugar cravings are the worst but I’ve found that is generally an indicator that I am not eating enough real food.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…WIAW…A Camera Is To A Blogger As Water Is To A HumanMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 6:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Totally Agree!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm
  • Reply Bri

    You eat like a champ on long run day! I’m lucky if I take in a gel, haha. I tend to feel too yucky to take in anything most long runs, but will try to do a gel every 50 minutes of so for anything over 2 hours. Otherwise I don’t need anything!
    Bri recently posted…How Iā€™m changing up my fitness routine for fallMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I generally don’t take anything if I’m going for under 2 hours as well. Some people really overdo it!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    That omelet looks really yummy! I can’t have egg whites but I’m all about the yolk! šŸ˜›
    Annmarie recently posted…DVRT: No Crunch Ways To Work Your CoreMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:06 am
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    Thanks for sharing! I try to be super conscious of what I eat the day before a long run and of course the day of. This past weekend, I probably could have used a bit more calories if I’m being honest. This coming up weekend I have a wedding the night of my long run, so hello cake and wine for refueling!!! (not ideal I know, but it’s gonna taste pretty darn good after 10 miles)
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Getting through the Hump: Gilmore StyleMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That was me 2 weeks ago. Cheers to the happy couple!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Ruthie@She'sWickedHealthy

    I love reading about what other people eat on long run days – weird? I’m nailing down my long run nutrition and I’m usually more hungry the day after a run than later on the day of! Takes my body a little while to get the memo, I guess! šŸ™‚ PS – I like your m&m style!
    Ruthie@She’sWickedHealthy recently posted…Workout Wednesday: The Upper Body Pyramid Workout that will set your arms on fire!My Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Crispy all the way. But I’ve noticed that nailing down the day of helps with the day after!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply Jessie

    M&Ms have to be in the top 5 of best chocolate candy… especially the peanut ones. Mm!! I actually use to go through bags (and I’m talking the BIG bags) of them a week. I had a little addiction šŸ™‚
    Jessie recently posted…Almond Coconut Mug Cake + WIAWMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:21 am
  • Reply Michele

    The struggle of a damn good recipe with no pictures is REAL!!! It’s almost become nightmare status for me, which is only telling of how completely insane I am recently šŸ˜‰
    Michele recently posted…WIAW ā€“ Hi Ho Back to the Stove I GoMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe


      August 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply Heather@hungryforbalance

    I love your focus on nutrition. I am always in awe of people who have figured out the nutrition part of the puzzle. It can be so different for everyone, especially in terms of the amounts of the different macros. And I love the Golden Girls, but I am not disappointed in this post! Have a great day!
    Heather@hungryforbalance recently posted…WIAW: If it ain’t broke…My Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Excellent! I’m glad that you aren’t disappointed šŸ˜€ And I agree–nutrition is so personal. I’m very thankful that I’ve figured out things that work for me!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:53 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I’m all about the omelets! But I’m really struggling with GI issues this summer. Nothing seems to help. I’m really frustrated!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…AmbitiousMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 8:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m sorry to hear that, Wendy. I’ve been dealing with some lately myself–I wonder if there is a low-grade bug going around?

      August 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm
  • Reply Jamie

    Refueling properly after a long run is usually difficult for me and leaves me with extreme day after runger. Sometimes my stomach just can’t handle taking in any food, so I have to try to eat as well as I can in small portions. I never really fuel before a long run unless it is a handful of cheerios like you šŸ™‚
    Jamie recently posted…WIAW ā€“ Nantucket FavesMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 8:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Crohn’s is super tricky–it takes even more practice than the typical diet. But as you get better, you will find that you will be able to manage your day of eats better, and that will help with day after runger.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Always interesting to see other peoples long run days. Ice cream is usually a must for me! ha ha
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…How to Stay Consistent with ExerciseMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 8:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It’s a major food group

      August 26, 2015 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    Looks great! Very balanced and sensible. I can tell you have that pre-long run food routine down to a tee. I do too, although it took a lot of trial and error! I listened to this podcast recently (can’t remember which one!) and it was a famous retired marathoner and he said he doesn’t eat anything for four hours up until the race. He wakes up really early, eats then and then nothing. That our stomachs do best while empty or something. Weird, hey?!
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: A Kid TakeoverMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 8:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’ve heard that too, but if I were to do so, I would be RAVENOUS

      August 26, 2015 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Eggs (and bacon) all the way after a long run. I find that getting enough healthy fat the day of and after a long run keeps my appetite at bay.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Best Cooking Resources + Recipe Suggestions from You!My Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 9:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      HUGELY helpful.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Heather @Fit n Cookies

    I’ve found that I’m never nearly as hungry on a long run day as the day after. I watch what I eat before (most days) and eat enough that day, but the next is when I definitely make sure I’m getting in all the nutrients and eating nonstop, ha.
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted…My Changing PassionMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 9:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And that is how I used to feel as well, until I started working on better nutrition for the day of. It has helped a lot with the day after runger.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Tara @ Running 'N' Reading

    Such a great post, Susie! Now, no doubt I could lose a few pounds, but this definitely helps me feel better about eating ALL day after long runs; I find that if I start replenishing early, and maintain regular meals/snacks throughout the day, the rungries don’t just kill me and force me to make really poor eating choices. Thanks so much for sharing this!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…The Guilty One by Sophie LittlefieldMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 9:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Definitely. Sounds like you have a great system in place!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Rae

    Wow, you really have this down to a science. I pretty much wing it most of the time. Thankfully, I don’t have a sensitive stomach and have never had any disastrous results, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything. I definitely should be better about post-run nutrition, though. I tend to just eat ALL THE THINGS.
    Rae recently posted…Survey Says!My Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 10:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think having a little bit of a plan can work wonders. Sometimes, I definitely do wing it, though! But I’ve noticed that this time around, especially with coaching, I just need to be more careful.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    RE the recipe issue. I think it’ fun and easy to cook and create recipes it’s the photos i have problems with too. it’s hard!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…My First Client!~ The Husband ProjectMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 10:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I definitely have issues with the photos. There would be so many recipes posted otherwise!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm
  • Reply Jess @hellotofit

    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…4 plyometric exercises you need in your workoutMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 10:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      duh. šŸ˜€

      August 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    My… I had forgotten how much you need to eat while training for a marathon!!! Call me crazy… but I thought it was kind of fun figuring all this stuff out!
    Looks like you have it down to a t!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Bahamas- Elbow Cay, Hope TownMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 11:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      IT honestly is kind of fun. You learn what works for your body and what keep you feeling great, which is most important!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I am usually not hungry after a long run but I make sure I eat anyway. By dinnertime my appetite is usually back, and I love eating a burger with fries and a beer. Even better to top it off with ice cream.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Comfort Foods on a Rest DayMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Damn straight šŸ˜€

      August 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    You warned me and now I’m starving. Good thing it’s lunch time. Reading this makes me wonder how many people don’t eat enough food because wow this was a great recap! Thanks for sharing I know I certainly was surprised by your next day eats
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…Cherry Kale SaladMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 12:37 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      What part of it surprised you? just curious. I think so often people don’t realize how much or how little they are actually consuming–and then they eat too much or too little. But your body will tell you when you are on the mark.

      August 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Alaina @ thesimplepeach

    I love seeing what other folks are eating on long run days. I am still working through different strategies and figuring out what works best for me. I try to eat whole foods after so I don’t end up craving junk!

    August 26, 2015 at 1:02 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Which is exactly what you should be doing! Great approach!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ RunWiki

    I’m not training right now, but when I am my biggest struggle is eating too much. Now that I’m older, I don;t need as many calories but I get so rungry when I train. I’ve learned to load up on veggies before I even consider higher calories snacks and drink mini protein shakes in between meals to keep my belly happy.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted…How feelings help me live a healthy lifestyleMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 1:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that is really smart. And besides, the whole foods help you keep your body and blood sugars regulated, denser in calories or not!

      August 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Linda @ Veganosity

    OMG, your running schedule made me so exhausted that I fell asleep on my computer while reading about it. How do you do that?! How do you do that, work, blog, and have a life? I’m so impressed.

    August 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hermoine Grainger’s time turner is really helpful.

      August 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Jessica @ Balance and Thyme

    Ice Cream o’clock! I love it. That should be on everyone’s schedule!
    Jessica @ Balance and Thyme recently posted…What I ate Wednesday #5 and the JarMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 6:45 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe


      August 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I love your food before the run. I am one that eats a good bit before a long run and then doesn’t need much during the run. I really prefer this and am glad I got to that point. I also used to fuel on 6 or so mile runs and I am so glad my body is ok with nothing until about 16-18 miles. When I read Cheez-its I for some reason thought cheese puffs which I craved for some reason during pregnancy. I had a moment of YES!
    Sarah recently posted…Practice Makes PerfectMy Profile

    August 26, 2015 at 7:18 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      mmmmm cheese puffs. NOMS. I definitely try to fuel everywhere but on the run! I don’t fuel if I’m running less that 16 miles, but for the sake of making sure that I’m at my best, I’ve been trying to keep up with it.

      August 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply

    I’m actually really jealous Suz, that you can actually eat ANYTHING so close to when you start your run. I cannot put anything in my stomach, other than water, or green tea with lemon, for at least 3 hours before I do ANY kind of physical exercise, or I get severe stomach cramps.

    I can see we both enjoy feasts of egg white omelets by the way. šŸ˜‰ recently posted…Ben Nevis WeekendMy Profile

    August 27, 2015 at 12:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      One day, we will feast on egg white omelets together! I used to wait for an hour beforehand, but now with the short run and then the longer run, I can do it right before as the thins are pretty low key. I would die otherwise.

      August 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Brittney

    Thanks for this post! I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me on long run days. I currently am liking the cliff chews, but you really need water after them because they are so thick! I like the idea of gummy bears so maybe I will have to try them next!

    August 27, 2015 at 8:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Happy to help! Check out my other post on fueling as well–I’ve tried lots of things!

      August 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ ihadabiglunch

    Girl now you’re making me want a shrimp salad. I love seeing how much variety you have. But I’m still flabbergasted that you can stomach coffee before a run. No bueno for me.
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: there are still good people in the worldMy Profile

    August 27, 2015 at 10:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Is not fully caff, otherwise I would die

      August 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply jill conyers

    I’m trading ice cream o clock for chocolate o clock.
    jill conyers recently posted…Strength Training SystemsMy Profile

    August 29, 2015 at 4:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      What about chocolate ice cream o clock?

      August 31, 2015 at 6:56 pm
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    I’m definitely trying to make nutrition a priortity this time around. I’m kind of tired of the whole gel thing during my runs though…may explore other options this time around!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…The Ultimate Post-Run Recovery Fueling: Recipe RoundupMy Profile

    August 29, 2015 at 6:29 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m big on the sport beans!

      August 31, 2015 at 6:57 pm
      • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

        Uggh, you don’t even want to know what happened to me when I tried sport beans….never.again.
        Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training Recap–Week 8My Profile

        August 31, 2015 at 8:31 pm
        • Reply suzlyfe

          lol take your word for it. Have you tried Island Boost? It’s a gel, but a little different. I’m also a big dried mango fan. The fake kind from the grocery store, non of that whole foods stuff šŸ˜€

          September 1, 2015 at 5:39 am
  • Reply Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    Very interesting to see how you fuel during the day! That omelet looked really yummy! It’s so important to learn what works best for your body…it takes a litle trial and error but once you got it, you got it!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Runfessions – August 2015My Profile

    August 29, 2015 at 7:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I agree–but I’d say LOTS of trial and error, lol

      August 31, 2015 at 6:57 pm
  • Reply Nikki

    This is good. Nutrition is DEFINITELY something I need/am working on at the moment. I’m GUESSING that I just don’t eat enough on race day, because I always crash around 15/16, but I, for the life of me, haven’t figure out what to do…maybe I need to eat more BEFORE the run? I’m also trying to fuel more with foods instead of gel after gel after gel…

    August 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm
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