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How to run your fastest marathon with the right fuel | Balance

The days leading up to a marathon are critical for fueling your body with the right nutrients. Your focus should be on consuming complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, provide long-lasting energy for the race. Healthy fats, such as avocado and nuts, are a great source of energy and are essential for hormone production. Protein, such as lean meat, fish, or plant-based sources like beans and lentils, helps with muscle repair and recovery.


Researchers recommend to consume anywhere 8-12 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day in the days leading up to the marathon.


For example, a person weighing 70 kg should consume between 490-840 grams of carbohydrates per day.




Some nutritious meals that would provide the necessary nutrients include:

  • Grilled chicken with brown rice and roasted vegetables

  • Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce, spinach, and tofu

  • Quinoa salad with mixed greens, avocado, and chickpeas

  • Grilled fish with sweet potato and steamed broccoli

It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. You should aim to drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day. You may also wish to consider adding in electrolytes to this to ensure your electrolyte levels are balanced.


Hours Before the Marathon

The morning of the marathon, you should aim to eat a meal that is easy to digest and provides a good source of carbohydrates. It is recommended to consume 1-4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight 1-4 hours before the race. For example, a person weighing 70 kg should consume between 70-280 grams of carbohydrates.

Examples of meals that would provide the necessary nutrients include:

  • Oatmeal with banana and honey

  • Bagel with peanut butter and jelly

  • Toast with almond butter and sliced banana

  • Smoothie with banana, spinach, almond milk, and protein powder

You should also drink water to ensure that you are adequately hydrated. Sip on 300 - 600ml per hour with some electrolytes but be sure not to consume too much to avoid needing to go to the toilet during the marathon itself.


During the Marathon

During the marathon, it is essential to consume carbohydrates to maintain your energy levels.


It is recommended to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour, depending on your body weight and the intensity of the race.