How much can I eat after running a marathon? CHICAGO EDITION

 Hey pals,

It’s marathon season. Yesterday 37182 really awesome people completed the Chicago Marathon, a huge and wonderful celebration of perseverance, athleticism, delayed gratification, and pain. The reasons for running it are nearly as numerous as the people running the race, but one thing is for sure: it’s an accomplishment. If you were out there pounding the pavement yesterday, pat yourself on the back!

After running 26.2 miles, it’s natural to want to celebrate and have a really crazy meal to refuel. All those hallucinations of deep dish pizza running next to you from mile 20 to the end…you’ve just gotta go eat it. I thought it would be fun to express exactly how big the calorie deficit a person creates by running a marathon is in terms of different foods. This time in terms of Chicago favorites in honor of Sunday’s race.

How many calories do you burn running a marathon?

A good rule of thumb is that a person burns 100 calories per mile. This will change with hills, but in general calories burned is a function of a.) time and b.) effort, so when looking at units of one mile, these two balance each other out: a sprint is more effort, but less time; a walk is more time but less effort. Of course, this is an average and there is individual variation based on weight, etc. but 100 calories per mile is a good estimate. 100 x 26.2 = 2620 calories burned. That’s a lot!

What does that look like in food?

Depends on the food! A great illustration of calories in different foods can be seen with the Calorific App, but I’ll attempt to express to you on here.

Lou Malnati’s Individual Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza

One pie = 980 calories

2620 / 980 = 2.67 Individual Deep Dish Pizzas

2.7 deep dish

Portillo’s Italian Beef

One sandwich = 451 calories

2620 / 451 = 5.8 Italian Beef Sandwiches

5.8 Italian Beef

Garrett Mix Popcorn (half cheddar, half caramel)

One serving = 3/4 cup = 170 calories

2620 / 170 = 15.4 servings = 20.5 cups of caramel/cheese popcorn, 

Which is One quart plus ONE GALLON of popcorn!


Portillo’s Chicago Dog

One hot dog = 380 calories

2620 / 380 = 6.9 Chicago Dogs

6.9 chicago dogs

Goose Island IPA

12oz = 206 calories

2620 / 206 = 12.7 IPAs

12.7 IPAs

NOTE: I do NOT recommend eating this quantity of these foods. Also, in no way am I suggesting that one must first build up a calorie deficit in order to eat food of any kind, that’s just crazy – you need it to function! BUT it’s really fun to look at. Stay tuned for the New York version… 🙂


4 responses to “How much can I eat after running a marathon? CHICAGO EDITION

  1. Good one!

    Man I wish I could drink 12 IPAs in one sitting.. (actually, I am happy that I cannot drink that many!!)

    BTW, are you sure about the number of marathon finishers? You may have left out a digit by mistake as 3782 seems like a really low number….


  2. Pingback: How much can I eat after running a marathon? NYC EDITION! | How to Eat, R.D.·

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