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Pre-Marathon Nutrition

Thinking about running a marathon, tough mudder or charity fun run? Well, below is a quick review of what to eat in order to give yourself to give yourself a winning edge!

The golden Marathon Rule: Never try anything new on race day

You should not experiment with any new foods or venture too far from your normal diet. Experiment with the types, quantity, and timing of the food you eat before you run. Some runners make have weak stomachs and need up to 3hrs to digest food before they can run comfortable. Other runners can eat within an hour of a hard run with no side effects. Figure out which type of runner you are during training and take this into account when planning for race morning.

Try eating the same breakfast you plan on having for race during before your last two long runs. This will give you time to change things up if you find something doesn’t work for you.

5 days from the race Begin to increase your carbohydrate intake by adding in more pastas and starches (low glycemic index foods) to your diet throughout the week. Remember, if you’re taping off your training then don’t eat too much more than you normally would, because it will make you feel bloated and lethargic. Examples: sweet potatoes, pastas, baked potatoes, brown rice, sandwiches, bagels with peanut butter, quinoa, whole grains, oatmeal.

48hrs before the race This should be your last big meal before the race. It will give your body ample time to digest anything you eat so you won’t feel bloated the morning of the race. Example: pasta, rice, potatoes, pizza.

24hrs and before Eat normal balance meals like you would normally do on any training day. Drink plenty of liquids all day long, especially electrolyte fluids such as Gatorade or use electrolyte tabs such as Nuun. Carry a bottle with you throughout the day to remind you to drink. Your main meals should still be in the form of low to medium glycemic index foods. Examples: sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, white rice, bagel with banana.

18hrs before the race Start eating small meals every 2-3hrs, but after lunch, cut out red meat, fried foods, dairy products, fats and nuts. Keep drinking water and electrolyte beverages and avoid salty and high fibre foods. Examples: energy bars, white bread, cereal, and small sandwiches.

4hrs and less You should be up early enough to have a small breakfast with plenty of time to start digestion before the gun goes off. If you need 3hrs to digest a light meal then you need to get up at least 3hrs before the race to get in breakfast. You’ll need to drink mostly water, with some electrolyte fluid. Drink small, regular sized amounts. Room temperate water is absorbed quicker than warm or cold water.

During the race If you feel yourself starting to fade during the second half of the race, try a hit of caffeine from an energy gel, chews or drink. Studies show this can help boost alertness and may provide a second wind.

Examples: oatmeal with banana and coffee, bagel with peanut butter, toast with honey or dry cereal.

For more information on pre-marathon nutrition please click here or contact us at Infinite Health Chatswood - Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology & Massage to start your preparation today!

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