You did months of practice and you’re excited for your first marathon. Make sure you supplement your training with the right foods. In general, the longer the race is in terms of distance, the larger the role of nutrition.
Here’s a sample meal plan of what to eat on race day so you maximize your performance:
Load up on carbohyrdrates
Carbs are naturally stored in the body through glycogen as the body’s most readily available form of energy. When you’re running, you’re using up these stores of energy rather than fat. As such, it’s important to add more carbohydrates into your diet plan on race day.
How much exactly? A general rule of thumb is to eat 3.5–5.5 grams per pound of bodyweight up to 2 days leading up to the race. This also depends on the amount of carbs you’re eating already – so don’t go crazy on your carb load up right before the race.
Remember that you don’t want to be bogged down with a heavy meal right before the race!
Embrace the pre-race meal
The most important meal is the one 4 hours before race time. Choose easy digestible foods such as white bread, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and juice. If you had time to prepare, consider eating similar foods on your training runs to measure your performance. In essence, pick a winning food combination and go with it!
If your race is going to take longer than an hour, it’s important to stay hydrated during the race. Consider drinking sports drinks to avoid hyponatremia. Sports drinks are also good for a small dosage of carbs during the race.
Snack during the race
If the race is extremely long, consider taking sports bars or bananas with you. These will significantly help your endurance.
That's it for today's post! If you're a newcomer to the gym and need feedback on your nutrition, you may be interested in our personal training services on the Guelph Personal Trainer homepage.