What to eat before a marathon

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Let’s be honest, running a marathon is no easy feat! 26.2 miles is a long way, whether you’re running, jogging or walking, so making sure you load up on the right food is really important to help you perform at your best. You wouldn’t drive 26 miles on an empty tank, so don’t treat your body any differently!

How much do I need to eat before a marathon?

Carb loading is a tried and tested method that many athletes use to build up their energy stores before a marathon. Essentially, carbohydrate loading is a technique used by endurance athletes, particularly runners, in order to maximise their energy stores in their muscles and liver. As you will know, running 26.2 miles demands a lot of energy so to start building up your stores you should begin increasing your carb intake around 3 days before your race. Carbs should make up most of your calorie intake pre-race and a guide your daily carb intake should be about 4g of carbohydrates for every pound you weigh.

What is the best food to eat before a marathon?

If you’re a fan of bread, rice and pasta, you’ll have no problem filling your boots (or running shoes) ready for your marathon! Try toast and oatmeal for carb-packed breakfast options, rice with a small portion of lean meat and veggies are ideal for lunch or dinner. Some fruits are also high in carbohydrate, but be careful of the amount of fibre that is also in the fruit as it can cause an upset stomach – definitely something to avoid on race day! 

You’ll want to top up your energy stores the night before your marathon, try a pasta dish with a small portion of lean protein and veggies, then start race day with a carb heavy breakfast such as a bagel a few hours before you start running.

Don’t forget to drink!

Good nutrition goes hand in hand with good hydration, so don’t forget to drink water regularly! Drink plenty of water a couple of hours before you start running and try to top up every 15 minutes during your run. Sports drinks that replace electrolytes and lost fluids are great for topping up your energy levels and maintaining your fluid levels. For a marathon we’d definitely recommend using these.

Do you want more information about Marathons?

Are you looking for your next marathon? Take a look at our event listings to find the perfect UK Marathon

We also have lots more marathon blogs for you to read;

  1. Calories burnt running a Marathon
  2. How long is a marathon?
  3. Marathon Training Plans
  4. Top Marathon Running Tips
  5. What are the Best UK Marathons?
  6. What is the average marathon time?
  7. How to run a marathon faster

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