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What to Eat Earlier than a Marathon | Week of and Morning Of Plans

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We’ve spent months placing within the miles and testing out every kind of fueling choices on the run. But, what to eat the week of a marathon begins sending us in to a little bit of a panic! And the way do we modify our consuming the morning of a marathon?

Do we have to carbo load?

Are we purported to do the carb depletion earlier than the loading?

And what about all these nerves which are messing with our abdomen?

Let’s break down each items of the puzzle and assist you determine what’s going to work greatest so that you can enter the race feeling rested, muscle glycogen topped off and abdomen comfortable.

Why What You Eat Earlier than A Marathon Issues

Your race efficiency can completely be improved or derailed by diet. It doesn’t matter what number of miles you’ve put in in case your physique doesn’t have sufficient of the precise gas to get you to the end line.

Whereas your urge for food could drop some throughout taper after which be very low on account of nerves earlier than the race, it’s important that you simply gas!

Throughout a marathon, your physique primarily depends on cardio power manufacturing, fueled primarily by carbohydrates and a few fat.

Carbohydrates, saved as glycogen within the muscular tissues and liver, present available power throughout extended train. That is essential to keep away from a drop in power and temper (which then derails your focus).

As you run, your muscular tissues break down glycogen to supply adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the power foreign money of the physique. The physique’s glycogen shops are restricted, and the speed of glycogen depletion goes to extend throughout a race when you’re pushing tougher than regular, it may well additionally fluctuate primarily based in your health ranges, age and dimension.

When glycogen ranges turn out to be critically low, you would possibly expertise a sudden drop in power ranges, muscle fatigue, and a big lower in efficiency. This phenomenon, also known as “hitting the wall,” is usually a vital impediment to beat throughout a half marathon.

Therefore, we need to go in to the race with a physique that’s absolutely stocked after which we need to hold feeding it to maintain that power flowing!

Let’s begin by trying on the general image of the week after which extra particularly race morning.

What to Eat the Week of a Marathon

Let’s begin with the concept nearly all of runners will not be doing carb loading accurately and certain don’t have to make a drastic shift of their food plan.

We don’t need to do new issues on marathon day…why would you need to make large modifications to your regular habits the week of the race?

  • Eat usually till 2-3 days earlier than the race
  • Proceed consuming fiber as much as then after which nonetheless embrace some to maintain issues transfer
  • 3 days earlier than the race ensure that at the least 50-60% of your energy come from simple to digest carbs
  • 2 days earlier than the race once more intention for at the least 60%
  • 1 day earlier than the race see if you may get nearer to 70-80%

I’ve seen some suggest as much as 90% of your food plan in these days be from carbs.

However for many runners, I discover that quantity has felt overwhelming or they’re simply craving some precise substance by way of protein. So be much less tied to the quantity and extra targeted on relaxation, restoration and never strolling all day within the expo.

Carb loading has the potential to enhance efficiency by 2-3%. That’s almost 7 minutes for a 4-hour marathon.

MUST READ: AVOID these seven carb loading errors >>

What are Straightforward to Digest Carbohydrates?

Straightforward to digest carbohydrates don’t imply sugar and sweets. Although they’re scrumptious, we don’t need to enhance irritation or trigger power swings, so these are solely a part of your race week plan.

  • Juice – one of many few instances we’ll suggest it right here as a result of normally we wish the fiber of a smoothie
  • Bagels – or I really like sourdough as a result of it typically helps to calm the abdomen because of the fermentation
  • Rice – white rice has much less fiber
  • Potatoes – go loopy with common potatoes or candy potatoes, simply watch the butter or heavy fat the day earlier than the race
  • Oatmeal – throw in some floor flax for additional anti-inflammatory goodness
  • Pancakes, waffles, benefit from the muffin you would possibly typically overlook
  • Berries, bananas, cantaloupe

As a result of carbohydrates trigger the physique to retain water (we wish nicely hydrated muscular tissues for the race) it’s completely widespread to achieve weight whereas operating.

That is 2 DAYS, you aren’t gaining fats. It’s water.

eat before a marathon
I dig Betty Crockers fashion of throwing in some chocolate chips!

What Do I Eat the Night time Earlier than a Marathon?

Take into consideration a light-weight meal.

That’s proper, I’m not a fan of the normal pasta dinner. Until that is what you’ve been doing with success all through coaching.

Most runners report feeling groggy and weighed down within the morning after consuming an enormous bowl of pasta and night before marathon

Straightforward at dwelling meal from Wellbeing.

You need to arrive to the race feeling gentle, recent and never like your physique is digesting an enormous dinner after what was most likely not your greatest evening of sleep.

A couple of choices:

  • A pair slices of pizza (works nice if that is what you’ve accomplished all by way of coaching)
  • Salmon and potatoes (personally salmon and candy potato fries is my favourite pre-race dinner)
  • A sandwich – love sourdough to assist the abdomen, plus get in a bit of protein and throw in some avocado
  • Rooster stir fry with white rice and light-weight on the excessive fiber veggies

Discover the choices are low fiber, most likely a bit of decrease in fats and better in carbs. However nothing loopy. As famous the entire issues we need to eat the day earlier than the marathon are SIMPLE.

Right now isn’t specializing in large top quality diet like all of the fruits and veggies…it’s carbs that your physique doesn’t have to work too exhausting to make use of.

When Ought to I eat Earlier than a Marathon?

I’m going to stipulate a plan for you under, however ideally we’re going to be consuming a number of instances. First can be your main meal to prime off glycogen shops and that can be 2-3 hours earlier than the beginning time.

This meal is absolutely important for that final little bit of power and shouldn’t be skipped. I do know you is probably not feeling hungry throughout that 3AM get up name, however you’re going to be so glad you ate come mile 10….and 25.

What to Eat the Morning of a Marathon?

Marathon morning is a bit of completely different than lots of your lengthy runs. You possibly can’t merely eat and get going. Your greatest pre marathon meal goes to be a mix of the good selections you made at dinner and now what you finalize on race morning.

Slightly you’ll be awake and certain transferring round for hours earlier than crossing the beginning line.

2-3 hours Pre-Marathon Meal

Whereas nonetheless in your resort or dwelling, strive having oatmeal with nut butter and berries OR a bagel with 2 tbsp nut butter. One thing with a bit of substance to it.

This meal is probably going going to be 300-500 energy and largely carbs. It’s possible you’ll need to have some fats or protein to assist create that lasting power and hold you full as a result of it undoubtedly sucks to really feel hungry throughout a race.

Widespread issues that work for lots of runners:

  • Bagel with nut butter and a banana
  • Sourdough with nut butter (sourdough is commonly simpler on the abdomen it’s my go to) and a few raisins
  • Juice + some dry cereal on the go
  • Bowl of oatmeal with some protein powder, berries and nut butter

On the best way to the race

For those who didn’t get in a ton for breakfast (and no 200 energy isn’t sufficient) then strive consuming a banana (I LOVE the banana wrapped in a tortilla concept above simple to move and eat on the bus, in the beginning, and so on) or a Clifbar. Once more, these are nonetheless simple to digest carbs.

**Be aware: Bananas really assist to appease the abdomen. So not solely are they a terrific carb for gas, but additionally in the event you’re feeling nervous and further bonus factors for the potassium, vitamin C and different great things.

Beginning Line

About 10 minutes earlier than when your wave is able to go eat a Honey Stinger Waffle or your favourite gel – you completely need some carbs proper then due to that massive time hole.


All through all of this strive sipping electrolytes. You don’t need to really feel bloated, so simply sip persistently. Keep in mind that hydration isn’t solely a part of your power, however helps with digestion.

The right way to Keep away from Marathon Abdomen Points

For those who’re avoiding race morning fueling since you’re nervous about runner abdomen points, then my first concern is we didn’t do sufficient apply fueling throughout coaching. Nevertheless it’s additionally doable that on account of nerves your abdomen is a bit more fussy.

  • Follow meals that
  • Attempt one’s which are simple on the abdomen like toast, crackers, bananas, pretzels
  • Drink extra juices to get in some energy and carbs without having to digest

What To not Eat Earlier than a Marathon

In case you are somebody who tends to have abdomen points or notably in case you are touring for a race, a number of remaining ideas:

  • Don’t strive new meals (says the one who had fried catfish and paid for it dearly in a race)
  • Race morning I are likely to keep away from a lot dairy, this may be a difficulty as you get scorching for lots of people
  • Keep away from quite a lot of heavy fried or fatty meals
  • Keep away from quite a lot of excessive fiber meals (brussels, broccoli, and so on)

Searching for further marathon ideas?

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