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Marathon Fueling Information ► End Stronger

Marathon fueling doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Positive, fueling a marathon that may take 5 hours takes some planning (no less than it ought to), but it surely doesn’t must be overcomplicated. 

Comply with this marathon fueling information to complete the race stronger than ever!


Study why coaching your intestine earlier than the race may be the distinction between marathon success or a race to the bathroom. Learn how the menstruation cycle can have an effect on marathon fueling. Comply with the marathon race day timeline to optimally plan the lead-up to the beginning of the marathon. Perceive how one can gas for the marathon in the course of the occasion. Lastly, unlock the secrets and techniques of post-marathon fueling!

Marathon Fueling Begins 3 Weeks Earlier than the Occasion

Nailing your race vitamin means coaching your intestine and constructing a routine. Having a vitamin routine means there’s nothing new taking on priceless power on race day. 

Study the nutrition secrets of world champions.

Know what, when, how usually, and the way a lot you’re going to gas in the course of the marathon. 

Most runners can tolerate 30g of carbs per hour. However do you know that growing carbohydrate consumption will possible result in improved race performances?[1 For instance, cyclists can prepare their intestine to soak up 100g of carbohydrates per hour. Runners are restricted in carbohydrate consumption attributable to sloshing within the abdomen, however 60g per hour isn’t unusual in elite runners.

Coaching the Intestine to Tolerate Marathon Fueling

Choose a number of key exercises in your coaching plan and check out your race vitamin plan. Replicate the race situations as intently as doable. Take into account components corresponding to time of day, warmth, elevation, humidity, terrain, and many others. The best exercise to coach marathon fueling is the long term. Marathon fueling is a special beast than fueling for a 5k or perhaps a half marathon!

Begin with 30g of carbs per hour and see how your abdomen feels. Make an observation of how the exercise went. If it went nicely, improve the following take a look at by 10g extra of carbs. Do that till you discover the max quantity of carbs you possibly can consumption and nonetheless carry out at your greatest.

Good to know:

Use the product in coaching you intend to make use of throughout your occasion. No new merchandise on race day!

Marathon Fueling and the Menstruation Cycle

Menstruation cycles can impression marathon fueling. Listed below are a number of the potential results of menstruation on marathon fueling based mostly on the section of the menstruation cycle:

  • Menstrual section: Fatigue, emotional nervousness and menstrual ache are all frequent throughout this primary section of the cycle, making coaching and racing particularly troublesome. Steadiness blood sugar ranges with complete grains (like oats or muesli as a pre-race or coaching meal). Magnesium supplementation may alleviate menstrual ache.
  • Follicular section: Seemingly little impression on marathon fueling. It may be a great time within the cycle for heavier coaching or racing attributable to elevated power ranges and motivation.
  • Ovulatory section: Whereas elevated power ranges are frequent on this cycle section, so is a diminished urge for food. This may be troublesome to beat if the marathon falls throughout this section. Concentrate on hitting carbohydrate targets and belief your marathon fueling plan even when you really feel prefer it’s an excessive amount of to eat.
  • Luteal section: Digestive challenges, low power and temper, and sugar cravings are all frequent. The physique is much less in a position to make the most of glycogen and prefers fats utilization as a substitute (which isn’t as environment friendly and makes accessing power storage harder). Constipation can also be frequent throughout this section, making coaching and racing particularly uncomfortable.

City runner

Marathon Fueling 3-4 Hours Earlier than Begin

Drink about 500ml of water instantly once you get up so you can begin the rehydration process. Verify your urine shade utilizing a urine shade chart after your second urination to determine how a lot you could drink. You need your urine to be simply barely yellow-tinted all through the day. Beware that sure meals and nutritional vitamins can alter your urine shade. 

Don’t drink a lot liquid that you just turn into over-hydrated. Urine that appears as clear as water is an indicator that you’re overhydrating.

Professional tip:

Why deal with your physique particular on race day? Follow good vitamin and hydration each day!

Observe, you will want to pee quite a bit within the lead-up to the occasion begin. This is because of correct hydration, but in addition race nerves! Maintain this in thoughts if discovering a spot to make use of the lavatory is difficult (instance: crowded loos on the occasion begin).

Now that you just’re good and hydrated, it’s time to eat one thing. What and the way a lot you eat will rely upon a number of components: 

  • Particular person wants
  • Race distance/period
  • Race depth

The position of the ultimate pre-race meal is to top-up your glycogen shops. Your glycogen shops ought to be loaded by the point race day arrives. It’s a horrible concept to chop energy (notably carbs) within the weeks main as much as your occasion. 

Listed below are some typical pre-race meals for some frequent occasions. Goal to complete consuming your ultimate pre-race meal three hours earlier than your race begin time. Goal for 4 hours in case you have a delicate abdomen (particularly runners). 

Marathon Fueling Recipe Concepts (and Different Frequent Distances)

Whereas this put up focuses particularly on marathon fueling, it may be good to apply fueling in shorter races too. Observe that fueling for a 5k isn’t the identical factor as marathon fueling. The calls for of the occasions are fully completely different and the physique reacts to these calls for in another way. Take a look at the under pre-race fueling concepts to see how the calls for of the completely different occasions dictate fueling selections:

  • 5k-10k: very gentle meal. Toast, oats and an egg or another type of protein like yogurt. The race will begin laborious and end tougher. You need to arrive at first line hydrated and feeling like you may be hungry within the subsequent hour.
  • Half-marathon: identical as 5k-10k, however you need to arrive at first line with out feeling hungry. You additionally don’t need to really feel too full. One meal concept is to simply add nut butter to the toast talked about above.
  • Marathon: Eat a low fiber, carb-centric breakfast that incorporates greater than 100g of carbs. You must have tried this a number of weeks earlier than race day. In case your race begins early, put together your breakfast the evening earlier than so that you just don’t have to consider it on race morning. Bagels with nut butter, cereal with non-dairy milk, a 2-egg omelet, rice-based dishes can all be good pre-race meal concepts.
  • Ultramarathon: eat quite a bit. Drink quite a bit. Vitamin turns into a sport of how a lot you possibly can absorb with out upsetting your abdomen. Experiment to seek out out what works for you. Then be able to take care of abdomen upset anyway as a result of it would most likely occur in some unspecified time in the future it doesn’t matter what.

Marathon Fueling 1 Hour Earlier than Begin

You should still really feel full out of your large pre-race meal. Eat one thing medium on the glycemic index, like a banana. That is simply to maintain your glycogen shops topped up. Maintain consuming water. 

Marathon Fueling 30-45 Minutes Earlier than Begin

Start getting warmed up. Sip water all through the decrease depth parts of your warm-up.

When you do a few accelerations, take an power gel for operating or sip a sports drink

15 Minutes Earlier than Begin

Go to the lavatory. Cease consuming and consuming. In case your mouth feels dry, it’s simply nervousness. You’re hydrated and able to rock. Concentrate on stress-free your thoughts and making ready your self for the hassle forward. 

Do some breathing exercises and meditation

To summarize, right here’s an instance marathon fueling plan:

Time to occasion begin What to eat and drink
Upon waking ~500ml of water
3-4 hours to begin Toast and granola. Fruit juice. Sip water.
1 hour to begin Banana. Sip water.
Half-hour to begin Drink combine with high-GI carbs AFTER a number of accelerations throughout warm-up

Runner tying shoes

Marathon Fueling Throughout Your Race

What you eat is simply as vital as once you eat throughout your race. When operating or biking for greater than 1 hour, it is smart to plan extra power consumption to gas your exercise run. However bear in mind, you need to have practiced this throughout your coaching. Your intestine wants time to get used to this. The perfect choices are sports activities drinks and small snacks which are primarily carbohydrates:

  • Isotonic drinks
  • Banana
  • Sports activities gels
  • Gummy candies (1-2:1 combine glucose to fructose)

Goal to eat 30-80g of carbs each hour you race and relying in your occasion. Drink ~500ml of water or drink combine each hour. Be sure you have practiced this throughout coaching. Solely absorb as a lot as you’ve got beforehand dealt with. 

Attempt to take a number of sips of water or water combined with a vitamin combine each 15 to twenty minutes to remain hydrated. Isotonic drinks are supreme as they make up for a scarcity of each liquids and electrolytes. Make sure you know when the hydration stations are coming in your race route. For those who want extra hydration than is obtainable, deliver your personal hydration backpack or belt (however make sure to have skilled sporting it as nicely).

Know the course and the place it’s doable or essential to gas. Choose locations alongside the course the place your physique will likely be working much less laborious. You course of vitamin extra effectively once you’re working much less laborious. Taking in vitamin throughout troublesome race moments is a nasty concept.

Figuring out the course may also put together you for the difficult moments. For instance, gas 15-Half-hour earlier than important race sections or moments. Essential moments of the course could possibly be hills or, in case you are actually aggressive, locations the place opponents will assault.

Professional Tip:

For those who discover your temper turn into very destructive, eat and drink one thing!

You too can use the course to sign when you could absorb vitamin. Break the race into smaller, extra achievable chunks. For instance, sit up for taking a drink on the finish of a troublesome part. It may be sufficient to push you thru a troublesome second.


Observe the emphasis on “unhealthy” meals like gels, sports activities drinks and even sweet throughout your race. Eat this meals solely throughout racing and really intense coaching. Concentrate on consuming actual meals the remainder of the time.

Submit-Marathon Fueling

Submit-race vitamin is much less vital except you could race quickly once more or get again to coaching. Eat a standard, balanced meal in case you have a number of days of relaxation earlier than you could get again to coaching or racing. Having one alcoholic beverage after a race may be an effective way to have fun an achievement, however drink water with it and restrict your self to only one drink.

If you could concentrate on post-race vitamin to get well quick, simply take a restoration drink with 25g of protein and 40g+ carbs. Sip that throughout the hour after your race. Eat a daily meal once you really feel prepared. Maintain consuming water.

Get much more running nutrition guidance!

** The knowledge offered on this weblog put up is for steerage functions solely, and doesn’t substitute for skilled medical recommendation. You must all the time seek the advice of a medical skilled or healthcare supplier when you’re in search of medical recommendation.

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