The most celebrated day of the year in Boston is right around the corner, Marathon Monday. Boston natives, college students and visitors alike come together to show support for the runners – plus we get an excuse to take a day off from work and classes to hang out outside all day.

And while we admire the insane amount of work that the runners have to put in to train for this day, the majority of us watching the race know we could never complete one ourselves. So here at Spoon, we thought we would put the almost unfathomable experience of running 26.2 miles into simple terms that anyone can understand: food. Below are the food counterparts for every phase of running a marathon.

Miles 1-3: The Health Kick


Photo by Christin Urso

The beginning of the race is just like every time you decide to cut out carbs or try out the newest health fad. This is the kale, smoothies and hummus phase. You’re feeling inspired and nothing can possibly bring you down.

Miles 3-6: The Denial Phase


Photo by Alex Peña

This is the phase where you still think you’re on your health kick, but you realize eating lettuce for every meal isn’t sustainable and juice cleanses are actually the devil. So this phase of the marathon is when you’re starting to feel the burn, but you know you still have a long way to go before you reach your finish line. The foods in this phase are gluten free brownies and vegan Ben & Jerry’s. Not good for you, but you can pretend they are to keep feeling good about yourself.

Miles 6-12: Straight Up Comfort Food


Photo by Phoebe Melnick

The end is no where in sight, and you have given up hope. You’re just grinding through and trying to get by. We’re talking nachos, pizza, bagels, ice cream, the works. Do what you have to do.

Miles 12-17: Alcohol


Photo by Renée Wool

There is still no light at the end of the tunnel, and there are probably hills on the course at this point. You know you have to rally but you’re feeling slightly delusional. The only logical counterpart here: alcohol. Straight shots of tequila.

Miles 17-22: The White Rice Break


Photo by David Cui

You know when you’re eating Chinese food and you’re so full you have to take a break, but you know you’ll still eat at least five more crab rangoons before you throw in the towel? So you just munch on some plain white rice for 5 minutes, recuperate a bit, and then get your head back in the game for the final stretch.

Miles 22-25: A Shot of Caffeine


Photo by Abby Reisinger

This is the final surge. Whether you’re struggling or you’re feeling motivated to finish, the end is in sight and you can’t give up now. This is the espresso and power bar phase. Possibly even a Red Bull. Finish strong.

Miles 25-26.2: The First Date Food


,gif courtesy of

Hear me out on this one. You’re in the last ten minutes of the race, and you’re trying to act like you’re really enjoying it, but in reality all you want is for this to be over. There will be lots of fake smiling and hugging, but you just want to go home and probably have a huge beer. Sound like any first dates you’ve ever been on? It does to me. So the obvious food counterpart here is first date food. Think salads, soups, maybe some spaghetti if you’re feeling feisty. All the meals you don’t actually want to eat but you have to so you don’t spill on yourself or dribble food out of your mouth. The end is near and all you have to do now is fake it ’til you make it.

Running a marathon is a serious feat. I know I personally couldn’t do it, and all the people I know who have run one before know the true meaning of blood, sweat and tears. The actual experience of running a marathon is something I know I’ll never be able to fully understand unless I actually do it myself. But if there’s any way that we can make a marathon make sense, it’s with food. So this weekend, whether you’re in Boston watching the race or you just love food, celebrate the Marathon with a great meal. And some tequila, of course.