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Recent Eats: Half Marathon Hunger

My half marathon training plan is officially kicking my ass a little! I’m on week 6 of 11 and this is the halfway rest week in my training plan. After five weeks of increasing intensity, I finally get to take a step back. No speed work or long runs this week. Just lots of easy running but I can definitely tell that my body is in rebuilding mode because I’m tired and hungry. I kind of feel like I’m tapering!

I haven’t run like this in four years and kind ofย forgot about the hunger that comes with the increased mileage and intensity. I am in that phase where I eat a meal and feel hungry and hour after. There’s been a lot ofย morning snacks, afternoon snacks, after dinner snacks, sweets, second breakfasts…I told my yoga class tonight not to be alarmed if I was seeping peanut butter out of my pores. The jar in my fridge is disappearing at an alarming rate as I cannot keep myself out of it! ๐Ÿ™‚


My current favorite indulgence is alternating dipping a spoon in salted peanut butter and sweet pumpkin butter.

While I attempt to photograph most what I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I do not photograph mostย of the things I snack on throughout the day. I get a lot of questions about whether or not I snack between meals.ย Snacks I have been eating lately include…

  • hummus and pita chips
  • cheese and crackers
  • apples and peanut butter
  • straight up peanut butter
  • dried figs (plain or with cheese)
  • granola
  • banana with almond butter
  • fresh fruit
  • dark chocolate

Here’s what I’ve been eating for my “main meals” this week.


Smoothies and oatmeal for breakfast.


Lots of lunch salads. I bought beets at the farmers market and it’s been so nice to have them back in my salads. This salad is arugula, kale, avocado, artichokes, beets, goat cheese, walnuts and deli turkey.


This was my favorite salad of the week. Spinach, arugula, dried cranberries, avocado, pumpkin seeds, beets, goat cheese, honeycrisp apples and deli turkey.


Lunch out with friends at Zoe’s was this chicken salad and fruit plate with pita.


I had a sandwich craving one day that I satisfied with turkey on sourdough with basil mayo, avocado, tomatoes, pepper jack and arugula.


Dinners have been mostly leftovers and out as this has been an insane week. This was leftover spiced chicken breast with roasted brussels sprouts, a portobello mushroom and broccoli.


Pizza and wine night with my girlfriends midweek. I picked up pizza and salads for us at Brixx. This plate x2.


All things fall salad with spinach, arugula, kale, roasted butternut squash, turkey, pumpkin seeds, beets, dried cranberries and goat cheese. Note, if you haven’t tried roasted butternut squash on your salad…get on it!


Whole Foods hot bar dinner during a meeting one night. Chicken thigh, roasted mushrooms and tomatoes, zucchini, succotash, broccoli and salad.


And the best thing I had all week was this fall spiced almond milk latte from Not Just Coffee. They make their own “fall spice” mix with vanilla infused organic cane sugar, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. It was seriously heaven in a cup.

Do you get hungry when you increase your running mileage or intensity? What are your go to snacks?ย 

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Claire @ Keeping Up With Claire October 10, 2014, 8:48 am

    Running makes me SO hungry! I love almond butter stuffed dates, and popcorn. I have a weird thing for popcorn and eat it alllll the time. Also, I’ve found that the ALT Larabars are a good mid-morning snack that keeps me full for a few hours. The peanut butter cookie flavor is the best!

    • 2
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:51 pm

      i never eat popcorn for some reason. and i haven’t tried those ALT larabars so thanks for the head’s up! i definitely will.

  • 3
    Charlotte October 10, 2014, 9:03 am

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been running for so long and my body and metabolism has adapted even though i do only 3.5-4 miles daily…whenever I begin doing more lifting in addition to running my hunger increases like crazy. I feel like whenever i hit legs hard I am much hungrier than I ever get with running. It could be the intensity and muscle repair but I still think it’s stupid that although your metabolic rate increases, they say it’s only an extra 100 calories for 24 hours after lifting…that is NOT a lot of food compared to my level of hunger!

    Running distance definitely will make you hungrier for sure though as each mile is ~65-80 calories on smaller women, probably on the higher end with your pace and intensity. The 365 Whole Foods Brand of Crunchy Almond Butter (non-organic…way cheaper but still non-gmo!) is SO creamy and satiating…nothing in it but almonds. Have you tried this brand??! I just discovered it and think it’s not only less expensive but way more satisfying than others and with only one ingredient. much better than ground in store as well, especially if you’re into “runnier” nut butters..this stuff can literally be poured out of the jar and great for dipping.

    • 4
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:54 pm

      hey charlotte – i hear you on the lifting hunger too.

      i buy the trader joe’s almond butter and whole foods brand peanut butter and the whole foods in store ground almond butter on the regular BUT i’ve never tried the whole foods brand almond butter. thank you so much for the recommendation. i do love that texture! i will definitely pick some up next time i’m there!

      have a great weekend!

  • 5
    Parita @ myinnershakti October 10, 2014, 9:25 am

    So many delicious eats!

    I definitely feel hungrier when I increase my mileage or the intensity of my runs. But more than running, strength training makes me feel like a bottomless pit! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 6
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:54 pm

      ha! charlotte said the same thing above. i get that some but not nearly like i do with running!

  • 7
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt October 10, 2014, 9:56 am

    I have a big appetite anyway, so when I am running long I can’t seem to eat enough! Yogurt, fruit and peanut butter are my friends.

  • 8
    Becca October 10, 2014, 9:57 am

    Omg I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m running a half marathon in a week and I have never felt such insatiable hunger before. I’ll eat dinner and easily down 500 calories in snacks after. I like nut butters, smoothies, grain free pumpkin muffins, and spaghetti squash. I find the spaghetti squash helps with hunger because I can eat a whole ton without piling on a ton of calories

    • 9
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:56 pm

      hey becca – what recipe do you use for the grain free pumpkin muffins? and yes, spaghetti squash is good stuff!

  • 10
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles October 10, 2014, 9:57 am

    I am always running so I am always hungry lol. I live on peanut butter. How I crave it all of the time when I eat it all of the time is beyond me. I don’t have crazy hungry days any more I think because I make sure to really add in extra food at meals to make up for higher mileage but anyone who associates with me knows I need to eat like every two hours and that dinner plans must be based around my appetite times.

    • 11
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:56 pm

      meredith – i KNOW what you mean about how can you possibly still crave it. i wonder that ALL the time!!!!

  • 12
    Alex October 10, 2014, 10:29 am

    Yes, I can tell when I am running more often or increasing my intensity, my hunger is out of control. My usual go to snack is fruit + nut butter, but lately I have been enjoying popcorn as well. Such a good snack that’s packed with filling fiber, and there are so many different topping choices when you make it at home. Your salads that you make look so tasty! They have given me some inspiration to mix it up from the usual veggies I tend to put on my salads. Also, what did you put in that smoothie you posted a picture of? It looks devine.

    • 13
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:58 pm

      what toppings do you usually go for when you make popcorn? i never make it at home!

      glad to provide some salad inspiration! )

      i can’t remember but i think the smoothie was spinach, banana, strawberries, peaches, mango, dates, almond butter and coconut almond milk.

  • 14
    Nicki October 10, 2014, 10:38 am

    I don’t run – unless forced to at CrossFit, hah! I’m one of those people that likes to constantly eat during the day, so I’m obsessed with snacks: plantain chips from TJ’s, sunflower seed butter on rice cakes, fruit, half of a sweet potato (usually with butter) and of course can’t go wrong with some dark chocolate pieces! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 15
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:59 pm

      haha! love your running philosophy! ๐Ÿ™‚ i know many people like you at the gym!

      i love sunflower seed butter too but i haven’t bought it in forever! love the sweet potato snack idea.

  • 16
    Alyssa Dillon October 10, 2014, 10:56 am

    Congrats on your training so far. Which half are you doing? I’m doing R&R Savannah on Nov. 8 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 17
      Jen October 10, 2014, 8:59 pm

      thunder road in charlotte on november 15! good luck in savannah!

  • 18
    Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run October 10, 2014, 11:01 am

    I remember my hunger when 1/2-marathon crazy, definitely out of control.

  • 19
    Emily @MyHealthyishLife October 10, 2014, 11:15 am

    My hunger has been out of control lately. Not that I mind too much ๐Ÿ˜‰ Peanut butter has shown up at pretty much every meal. Lots of almonds, KIND bars, fruit and granola. I’m not a huge fan of butternut squash but everyone loves it so I need to give it another try.

    • 20
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:00 pm

      butternut squash is so good! try cubing it and roasting it! it’s especially good roasted in coconut oil with some chili powder and cinnamon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 21
    Jennie October 10, 2014, 11:38 am

    Yes! Training totally makes me hungry. I’m running the Chicago Marathon this weekend and the last few weeks (prior to the taper anyway) I’ve been ravenous. I’m going to miss being able to indulge my sweet tooth without any consequences when the race is over! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 22
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:02 pm

      oh my gosh jennie! GOOD LUCK at chicago! report back on how it goes!

  • 23
    She Rocks Fitness October 10, 2014, 11:41 am

    Oh those hangry running pants…they can be out of control after some runs! And I think we are probably devouring the same amount of peanut butter. I seriously cannot get enough of it…It is better than devouring cupcakes…HA! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 24
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:02 pm

      oh lord, i have definitely devoured my share of baked goods. that peanut butter chocolate cake was the DEATH of me! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 25
    Kristina @Run Long, Live Well October 10, 2014, 12:25 pm

    I didn’t notice a particularly big increase in my appetite when training for a half marathon, but I remember when I was training for a triathlon, I was SO thirsty all the time. I drink a lot of water anyways, but I remember just craving water. I also probably ate a ton too!

    • 26
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:03 pm

      that’s so interesting! i need to do a better job hydrating in general!

  • 27
    Hannah October 10, 2014, 1:02 pm

    When I’m training for half marathons or just seriously ramp up my running…I have the appetite of an elephant. For real. It gets ridiculous! Homemade peanut or almond butter with bananas is a go-to. I’m also seriously addicted to popcorn. And as always, dark chocolate is necessary…gotta get those antioxidants, am I right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • 28
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:03 pm

      i know hannah! i’m dying!

      and about the dark chocolate…it’s especially good with the nut butter and banana! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 29
    tara October 10, 2014, 2:38 pm

    im so glad to find i am not alone ! i am training for my first half in 2 weeks and my hunger once i started to get to ~ 9 miles started going bat sh*t. its like i feel out of control. im not a big carb eater (i love them they dont love me) but have had to increase my carbs for the long runs in order to complete them and feel semi-good and so i think eating the carbs is making me crave more carbs + the running, etc and its just been sort of a disaster the last few weeks. i finally understand why marathoners and runners can actually gain weight by training. i very much dont like feeling out of control with my appetite and cravings so im hoping once i stop running long distances it will go away. is that your experience ?

    any recommendations for a good gluten free chocolate bar that won’t break the bank but isn’t so cheap i will want to buy 20 and eat them all at once ? For some reason i will savor a good bar that’s moderately priced but for the life of me….a bag of dove’s seems like a single serving. I think its a mind thing that when i spend more i savor it but sometimes at my local gourmet shop GF chocolate bars are like $8-10 for 3-4 oz. i just think thats crazy !

    • 30
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:05 pm

      you are most definitely not alone! and first half in two weeks??? how exciting! how are you feeling about it?

      i’m glad you’ve been listening to your body and eating the foods that feel right for your training and energy levels. and yeah, the gaining weight during training thing is definitely not a myth! yes, it goes away once you scale back your activity level.

      no help here on a GF chocolate bar ๐Ÿ™

  • 31
    Vanessa October 10, 2014, 3:03 pm

    Hello! I have just taken up running, so I can’t really comment on the hunger levels – yet! But peanut butter is always a good idea : )

    I was wondering if you have a post from the past or maybe some tips for a novice runner. I am taking it slow, only running (SLOW running) about 3 or 4 days a week, but my goal is to do a 5K sometime in the late fall. I live in Dallas, so there are plenty of small fun races. Thank you for any advice!

    • 32
      Jen October 10, 2014, 9:07 pm

      hey vanessa! i’m happy to hear you’ve taken up running. yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

      i haven’t written a post like that but it sounds like you have the right idea. 3-4 times per week and slow is a great way to get started. i usually recommend that people check out the Couch 2 5K program when training for their first 5K. it’s a nice progression to get you going!

  • 33
    Amber October 10, 2014, 11:45 pm

    Oh yes! I actually gained a lot of weight last year when I was focused on training for my 50km trail race because all of the running made me SO HUNGRY and for my body I cannot eat whatever I want just because I’m running extremely high mileage! Since I cut back on running I have actually managed to lose and keep off 10 pounds!

  • 34
    Linda October 11, 2014, 3:04 pm

    When I was training for half marathons my breakfast intake increased, but not much else. But you know what’s crazy?? I eat my standard ezikeal bread and peanut butter about 20 mins before Suzanne’s 90 minute hot class. Within 30 minutes of class ending I am starving!!!

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