How to Fuel for a Marathon

Fueling for a Marathon Doesn't Have to be Complicated

Using Tailwind during a marathon makes fueling simple. Below are a few simple points to help you plan for your 26.2, no matter the terrain or race time.

Dial In Your Base:

Regardless of mileage, sport, or time, we recommend the following mixing guidelines for Endurance Fuel:

200 calories (2 scoops or 1 stick pack) in 24 oz of water per hour

Depending upon intensity and heat, the total amount you drink may need to be adjusted up or down. Train with this ratio and listen to your body’s hunger and thirst cues to dial in your exact amounts.

Calculate Your Fuel:

Estimate the total time you plan on running your marathon. Using the ratio above, calculate your total caloric needs. For example, for a four hour marathon:

A four hour marathon will require a total of 800 calories (8 scoops or 4 stick packs). Each hour, you will need to consume approximately 20-24 oz of your Endurance Fuel and water mixture.

Choose Your Carrying Method:

No matter how you choose to carry your fuel, simply fill your vessel with enough Endurance Fuel to get you to the next aid station or drop bag. Carry your Endurance Fuel powder in your pack and mix when you refill water. We realize marathon runners are trying to carry as little as possible. When carrying capacity is limited we recommend making an Endurance Fuel concentrate. We will continue with the 4 hour marathon example:

Using a small handheld or flask (4-6 oz), create a super concentrated Endurance Fuel gel with your total calories (in this case, 8 scoops or 4 stick packs). Using a permanent marker, add lines to indicate one hour’s worth of fuel. For a four hour marathon, you will need a total of four portions marked on the bottle.

Click here to learn more about how to make a concentrate.

Use Your Fuel:

For a bladder or large bottle, sip continuously as you run. Remember to consume approximately 20-24 oz an hour. If you are hungry, drink more; if you are full, drink less. If you are racing with a concentrate, sip a small amount each time you’re within sight of an aid station. At each aid station, drink enough plain water to get a total of 20-24 oz per hour. If your stomach is upset, you probably need more water.

For a four hour marathon, make sure you are drinking a fourth of your concentrate each hour. The average marathon cup contains 3-4 oz of water, so aim to drink about 6 of those each hour.

Customize for Any Time and Train With Your Fuel Prior to Your Race:

These fundamentals can be applied to any marathon, no matter the length of time. As always, train with your fuel on long runs before you race to dial in your processes and exact amounts.

We’re Your Support Crew

If you need help calculating your fueling needs or dialing in your nutrition, feel free to reach out to us here!


I ran a warm 12miles to try out tailwind. My stomach has never felt better on a run! I was shocked! I have been battling GI issues while running my whole life, taking acid reducers and Imodium to ease the discomfort, but it never stopped me because I love the experience of running. It was chronically limiting how far I could go, how hard I could run, and where. I’m am not sure how you did it, but I am telling everyone I know about the tailwind products. Thank you! This is a game changer.
Tailwind Nutrition replied:
Hi Laurie! We’re super happy to hear this and is the foundation of why Tailwind exists! To eliminate GI issues and to fuel and hydrate during activity! Happy training and running!


Training for a marathon in 6 weeks . Looking at tailwind for my fuel but not wanting to run with a bladder . Looking at least 5 hours to complete . Any advice would be welcome . Am looking at other fuels to eat as well eg malt loaf thank you


Tomorrow is my first 20 mile run ever. My 1st Marathon is 1 month and 1 day away. I am excited about running with Raspberry tailwind. I love it so much I got the big bag. Thanks for the tips on how much per hour to drink.

Mikell West

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