Everything an Elite Runner Eats in a Week of Her Marathon Training Diet

Jessica Wayashe, elite runner and City Fitness employee, shares her journey to a Boston qualifying time, including her marathon training diet.

marathon training diet

Jessica Wayashe is an elite runner from the Philadelphia area. Here’s a look at her week and her marathon training diet. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com with details. 

Who I am: Jessica Wayashe (@jesswayashe), 29, from Fairmount

What I do: Corporate partnerships for City Fitness

What role healthy living plays in my life: Healthy living, in the physical and nutritional sense, does and always has, played an important — if not THE most important — role in my life. Physically, I have been an athlete since the fifth grade, competed in D-1 athletics throughout college, and continue to expand and test my limits on my running career today. Not treating my body well in nutrition, racing, or recovery just wouldn’t be an option for the way I’ve chosen to compete throughout my life. Mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, healthy living is a newer practice for me. I’ve been on this fascinating four-year journey where this has been a primary focus, and an aspect of self that I strive to grow, learn about, and become stronger in. It’s become a very important and necessary expansion to living healthy.

Health memberships: I am fortunate enough that since I work for a gym, and have a boyfriend who owns a gym (CrossFit University City) I do not have to pay for any memberships.


Jessica Wayashe is training for a Boston qualifying marathon. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

5:45 a.m. — I wake up 15 minutes before my alarm. This happens all the time. First thing I ALWAYS DO every single morning: brush my teeth. After, I put a load of laundry in the wash, drink a glass of water, and get back into bed and snooze. I am usually a morning runner, but for this training cycle, I’ve been working out Monday evenings. I am attempting a Boston qualifying time (sub 3:35 marathon) on September 9th. I’ve run two Boston Marathons — 2013, the year of the Boston bombings, and because I wasn’t able to finish, the Boston Athletic Association let a group of us come back again in 2014. I was a charity runner for both years, however, I want to prove to myself, just once, that I can also run it as a qualified runner.

6:40 a.m. — Lay in bed and scroll through Instagram. I hate how often I find myself doing this.

7 a.m. — Switch out my laundry, shower, and hop on my laptop to organize my work calendar and answer a few e-mails.

8:45 a.m. — Fill up my Hydro Flask with water (I don’t go anywhere without it) and grab a juice from The Juice Philly that I have in my fridge. I usually order two to three of these a week (they are $10 to $12 each) but since it’s my peak week, I wanted to be extra fueled and hydrated, so I ordered 6. I also pick up a porkroll, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel from Rybread in Fairmount ($6) before my 0.7-mile walk to work.

9:15 a.m. —  I arrive at City Fitness Logan Square and set up shop to grind out for the day! I have two tours scheduled with potential corporate partners.

10:45 a.m. — I make a quick coffee run to Old Nelson’s before my first meeting. I get a small La Colombe hot coffee ($2.11).

1:15 p.m. — Lunch break! I pick up a Chicken Pesto Parm salad from Sweetgreen ($11.12).

3:15 p.m. — I enjoy a Passionfruit La Croix and snack on some cherries that I forgot I had sitting in our employee fridge.

5:30 p.m. — I take Jon Lyons’ (friend, colleague, and founder of Run215) WE/FIT class. WE/FIT is City Fitness’ large group functional interval training program. I am studying to take my personal training certification so I can also start coaching WE/FIT, so I am taking a lot of classes to get familiar with the program and its cycles. I run four miles on a treadmill after his class.

7:30 p.m. — I leave City Fitness Logan Square and walk to Whole Foods in Fairmount to pick up a few items. I’ll use them for a large pasta dinner tonight and my egg scramble breakfast for the week ($38.16).

marathon training diet

Meatballs for dinner. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

8:30 p.m. — Girl is ravenous! While prepping dinner, I chug a class of water with a Nuun electrolyte tablet and eat two pickles. I LOVE pickles. I eat them almost every day and it’s a tasty way to replenish some of the salt I sweat out in WE/FIT or on my runs. I am a Nuun ambassador, so I get 40 percent off when I purchase from their website.

9:30 p.m. — Dinner is served! I love to cook when I have the time. On the menu tonight: pasta with a chunky tomato and artichoke pasta sauce, feta stuffed beef meatballs, garlic bread, sautéed shishito peppers, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe, and a glass of red wine.

10 p.m. — I watch an episode of The Office and relax on my couch with my favorite quilt while finishing my wine.

11 p.m. — Fill my Hydro Flask, brush my teeth, makeup off, and I head to bed.

Daily total: $57.39


marathon training diet

Morning sprints at Penn’s track. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

4:49 a.m. — I wake up before my 5:30 alarm…again. I drink some water and go back to sleep. I always keep water next to my bed.

5:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. Brush my teeth, change into my running gear. Prepare a single piece of toast with almond butter and chug a Nuun with caffeine and a glass of water before I head out for my run.

6:10 a.m. — I am out the door, Nathan handheld water bottle in hand. I bring along a GU salted caramel Stroopwafel for some running nutrition. On Tuesdays, I do speed work on Penn’s Franklin Field track, so I run the 2.3 miles it takes to get there from my apartment in Fairmount as my warm up. I eat half of the waffle on my warm up. On the track, I complete 8 x 800m sprints. I then run 2.3 miles back home as my cool down and finish the other half of my waffle. Total mileage: 8.6 miles.

7:50 a.m. — I shower and cook breakfast. Egg scramble is one of my breakfast go-to’s. I’ll use two to three eggs, feta and shredded cheddar cheese, a generous handful of spinach, one link of Trader Joe’s sweet apple chicken sausage chopped up, cherry tomatoes cut in half, garlic powder. I put it in a to-go container to eat at work, grab a juice, fill up my Hydro Flask, and pack my Hanks hot sauce.

8:50 a.m. — I walk to City Fitness Logan Square, which usually takes me about 20 to 25 minutes. On my walk I call my mom (yup, I talk to her daily).

11:15 a.m. — Break from work for a quick 15-minute foam roll out and stretch session. This is a fantastic perk to working for a gym! I’ve got a place to go stretch that’s only steps from my work desk.

12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! I walk to &pizza on 15th and Walnut to meet my friend and fellow Philly runner, Anastasia. She ran a Boston Qualifying time a few months ago, AND has run the Via Marathon before, so I soak up all the advice and wisdom she shares about her experiences. I order the Moonstruck pie, which has mushroom truffle, garlic ricotta, mozzarella, mushroom, grilled onion, goat cheese, fig balsamic, and I add arugula ($10.50). I eat all but three pieces and save them for a snack later.

2 p.m. — I refill my Hyrdro Flask, heat up two meatballs, and eat some cantaloupe I packed as a snack from my leftover dinner last night. While snacking, I take a quick break from work to register for the Mayor’s Cup 10-mile road race ($48.50). I am a pretty involved member of November Project, so that is the team I register under.

5:30 p.m. — After I clock out of work, I walk over to Abe Fisher for happy hour with my friend I met through November Project, Anne. We find out it is also National Tequila Day, so naturally we order two tequila cocktails each. I pick up the tab and Anne Venmos me ($37.80).

7:50 p.m. — I walk home and start to prepare dinner and drink a Nuun while I’m at it! On the menu tonight: collard green chicken wraps! I cook up chicken breast to put in my wrap and add pickled (duh) shredded carrots and cauliflower, sprouts and quinoa to the collard green wrap. I add some balsamic vinegar as a dressing. Two glasses of water with dinner tonight.

8:20 p.m. — Dinner is served!

8:45 p.m. — Study time! After I eat at my dinner table, I get cozy on my couch, put on The Office for some background noise and open up my personal training books to read and take notes.

9:45 p.m. — I finally have a chance to put away the laundry I washed yesterday morning and mess around on my phone for a bit.

11 p.m. — Lights out.

Daily total: $96.80


marathon training diet

A team meeting with City Fitness. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

5:40 a.m. — Alarm goes off. As routine will have it, I brush my teeth, gear up into my running clothes, drink a glass of Nuun, eat a piece of almond butter toast, and head out for my run. It’s a very humid morning, so I bring my Nathan handheld water bottle full of water and a package of Clif Bloks.

5:59 a.m. — Out the door. I run down Fairmount Avenue to Boat House Row and up Kelly Drive. I cross the East Falls bridge and take MLK all the way to the front of the Art Museum Steps.

7:20 a.m. — I get to the Art Museum just as my friends at November Project are wrapping up their workout and getting together for the group photo. It takes me an hour and 12 minutes to run 8.8 miles.

7:35 a.m. — I run another 1.2 miles home after hanging out and saying hi to a few friends at NP. Total mileage: 10 miles.

7:55 a.m. — I shower and cook breakfast, which is another egg scramble to go. I hop on my laptop to check my work e-mail for about 20 minutes.

8:30 a.m. — I pick up an iced coffee ($2.60) with almond milk and cinnamon at Rybread before I take an Uber out to Punch Line Philly in Northern Liberties. Today is City Fitness’ first-ever staff retreat.

9 a.m. — I arrive at Punch Line Philly, make my way around the room to say some hello’s, then get settled into a seat to eat my packed egg scramble. The smell of my breakfast fills my section of the room. Oops.

12 p.m. — We break for lunch. City Fitness provided a catered box lunch, and there are a ton of options. I grab the grilled chicken sandwich, and it comes with an apple, small bag of chips, a side of pasta salad and a brownie. I give away my apple and eat the rest.

4 p.m. — I commute from Northern Liberties to Logan Square via a SEPTA ride with some of my other coworkers who are heading back to re-open the gym. I hop on my laptop to get some work done.

4:30 p.m. — I remember I have a few leftover &pizza slices. SCORE!

5:45 p.m. — I clock out of work and sit on a HydroMassage bed for 10 minutes before starting my walk home. City Fitness has hydromassage water beds, where heated water jets travel from the back of your neck to your feet as you lay in a reclined position. I turn up the pressure to 5 and let the jets do work just on my hamstrings and calves.

7:30 p.m. — I start to prep dinner and my boyfriend, Jim, will be joining me this evening! I drink a Nuun and pour a glass of wine and eat a few pickles while prepping (whatever, judge me). On the menu: make your own TACOS! I prepare some beef, chop up some lettuce and water chestnuts. We also have salsa, sour cream, black beans, hot sauce and shredded cheese available for topping options.

8:15 p.m. — Jim arrives at my place, just in time for dinner and after a workout of his own. We sit down and eat right away.

9 p.m. — We have been watching The Staircase series on Netflix (slowly but surely getting through it), so we put on an episode and have another glass of wine. I grab us a green tea mochi from my freezer as a post-dinner dessert.

10:30 p.m. — We get ready for bed and it’s lights out.

Daily total: $2.60


marathon training diet

A juice from The Juice Philly. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I haven’t been sleeping well this week, so I set another alarm to give myself another 30 minutes of sleep.

7 a.m. — My second alarm goes off, but I am still exhausted. I push off my run another half hour.

7:30 a.m. — I finally get out of bed to start my morning routine. Jim has already headed out to start his work day. I brush my teeth, drink a glass of water, fill up my Nathan handheld and head out for my eight-to-nine-mile run. It takes me an hour and 22 minutes. It is so, so humid.

8:55 a.m. — I take a quick shower and make two pieces of avocado toast with feta cheese, Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Yummm. I enjoy a tropical-flavored Nuun and fill my Hydro Flask and hop on my laptop at home. Not proud of myself that I pushed off my run and am starting my workday from home.

9:45 a.m. — I grab a juice and start the walk into City Fitness Logan Square.

10:05 a.m. — I drop my things off. I walk two blocks over to Animo to pick up a breakfast burrito. Yes, I am still hungry. I order their small Green Eggs & Beans breakfast burrito ($8.10). It has eggs, spinach, tomatoes, beans, vegan queso, and I add sweet potato. I take a few bites and save the rest in our staff fridge as a snack for later today or tomorrow.

10:30 a.m. — I walk a block from City Fitness Logan Square to a meeting at WeWork with a potential client about a corporate partnership. Once there, I grab a La Colombe coffee (free at WeWork).

11:30 a.m. — I head back to City Fitness Logan Square to work on some meeting recaps and schedule some more tours.

marathon training diet

Shack Shack for lunch. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

12:30 p.m. — I am STARVING. I meet up with my friend Ian. We both LOVE Shake Shack, so that’s where we go to catch up! We talk about maybe shooting some content for my site (thewayashelives.com). I order a single-patty ShackBurger with a lettuce bun, a Chick’n Shack sandwich, and an order of cheese fries with a Diet Coke ($20.23). I’m not a big soda drinker; I gave up soda all together back in 2014. And then this past February while running a seven-day, 230-mile ultramarathon across Haiti, I picked up drinking Coca-Cola at the aid stations and have found myself craving a soda every now and then since I’ve been back.

1:55 p.m. — I leave work to walk over to 16th and Cherry Street. I have been participating in an athlete study at Drexel, and they’ve requested that I come by this building to pick up what I believe is a fitness tracker. I will have to wear it for the next week so they can track my movement and heart rate.

6 p.m. —  I stop at my boyfriend’s before I head home for the evening. He’s started training for another triathlon, and it can get pretty difficult to make time for each other during the week between work, work events, and training. I catch him for 30 minutes before he heads out on his bike.

7 p.m. — I am home and dinner tonight is a veggie burger with bacon (it’s amazing!) cheddar cheese, mayo, ketchup, tomato, and lettuce with a side of sautéed asparagus, zucchini, chickpeas, and pancetta. I hydrate with Nuun and enjoy a glass of wine and a green tea mochi for dessert.

8:15 p.m. — I read over some of my personal training study materials in bed while taking notes.

9:40 p.m. — I catch myself dozing, so I get up to brush my teeth and get a glass of water. I finally have some downtime in what has felt like a whirlwind of a couple weeks. I meditate for 10 minutes with assistance of the Headspace app and now I feel ready for bed.

9:55 p.m. — Goodnight.

Daily total: $28.33


marathon training diet

A shake and jerky snack add protein to this marathon training diet. Photograph courtesy Jessica Wayashe.

5:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I start my morning routine!

6 a.m. — I am out my door and run down Fairmount Avenue. November Project is meeting at my favorite location this morning: Lemon Hill! I get in one Lemon Hill loop before we bounce.

6:25 a.m. — November Project leaders explain the workout, and we get started. Our friend, Douglas, sets up these large speakers every week so we have music to workout to.

7:25 a.m. — I run home. Seven miles done.

7:35 a.m. — I have time this morning for a long-ish shower and I know I have a busy day ahead of me, so I express some gratitude and set some intentions, aloud.

7:55 a.m. — I scroll my Instagram and get ready for work.

8:34 a.m. —  I am back out the door. I grabbed a juice, my Hydro Flask of water and head to work.

8:55 a.m. — I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a medium blueberry iced coffee with whole milk and a little sugar, an order of hashbrowns, and a chocolate-frosted doughnut ($5.93). It’s Friday and I feel like treating myself! Once I get into work, I heat up the burrito from Animo that I saved from the other morning and also eat that.

9:30 a.m. — The start of my three back-to-back meetings that will keep me busy through lunch.

12:35 p.m. — I run down to Yummy Sushi and sit outside for a quick lunch. I order the lunch special: miso soup, a spicy tuna roll, and a white fish scallion roll ($11).

1:05 p.m. — I finish prepping some final items for a meeting later this afternoon.

2 p.m. — I Uber out to City Fitness Fishtown for a managers meeting.

4 p.m. — Meetings are over for the day and I decide to work out of City Fitness Fishtown for the remainder of the day. I find a bag of Righteous Felon Baby Blues Sweet Kick BBQ beef jerky that I picked up last week in my backpack, so I enjoy that along with a protein shake from our juice bar as a late-day snack.

6 p.m. — I Uber home from Fishtown. My Friday nights are often low-key since I have my long runs on Saturday mornings. I’ve got 13 miles scheduled for tomorrow morning, and I’ll be meeting a group of my November Project friends at 6:30 a.m. We want to try to beat the heat.

6:40 p.m. — My roommate and I decide to go to Bar Hygge in Fairmount for dinner. We each get a board, split a salad, and order a cocktail. I have the octopus, fried mac ‘n’ cheese bites, and a goat-type cheese with jam for my board and a mint julep for my cocktail ($43).

8:30 p.m. — We are home and make our way to the living room. We put on the TV. I grab my foam roller and roll out and watch for about half an hour before heading up to read and wind down for the night.

9:30 p.m. — I have an early morning tomorrow, so lights are out.

Daily total: $88.26

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $273.38

Workouts: 1

Runs: 5 (37 miles total)

Meditation sessions: 1

Juices: 4

Alcoholic beverages: 7

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