As we approach the tail end of your preparation for the marathon, and are gearing up for the big day, here are a few nutritional tips that will give you the confidence to complete the race with a smile on your face.
Eat more carbs – but not more calories
The goal for carbohydrates should be to maintain a daily intake of 3-5 grams per pound of body weight (6-10 g/kg).
So if you weigh 9 stone, that’s up to 630g, which is up to 2500 calories.
You’ll also need protein and fresh/fruit and veg, and you’ll be doing less miles, so don’t be surprised if you put on a few pounds over the next few weeks. Don’t worry – you will burn it off!
Fill your fridge with healthy snacks, so when you do get a pang of hunger you can fill up guilt-free and get the reward of taking in your five to 10 a day. Try carrots, celery and humus or tomato salsa dip, fresh fruit slices and cubes of feta cheese (eaten with oat cakes or rice cakes).
For on the go nutrition keep topped up with tasty Clif Bars, made with wholesome ingredients that deliver on energy – and taste.
As well as drinking lots of water, throughout the day, an antioxidant-rich smoothie or juice (made with dark berries and vitamin rich fruit) is the multi-tasker’s way to fill up.
Coconut water is a great alternative fruit blast, and Chi 100% Pure Coconut Water is packed with electrolytes, is fat free and has the lowest natural sugar and calories of all brands. (It does help that a portion of all proceeds go to the One Seed One Life Charity, supplying orphanages across Thailand with basic supplies.)
Beetroot for endurance
Add beetroot to salad, smoothies, or check out a pre-made beetroot juice. If you cannot stomach the taste, a supplement can be a replacement, such as BioCare’s Beetroot Extract.
Beetroot has been extensively shown to help boost endurance because it boosts nitrate levels in the blood, which can lower blood pressure and reduce oxygen consumption during moderate running.
Race day nutrition
You need to try anything you take during the race before you race!
Before you get to the start line, consume a 500ml carb drink with electrolytes, and on the run, you’ll need gels/blocks and drinks. You’ll need between 100 and 150 calories of carbs every hour of the marathon (but check the pack as it will vary according to your weight and the conditions).
Clif Bar Block Shots are easy to digest, but you will need to consume quite a number to keep topped up (around three and hour). Gels, such as High 5 Energy Gel can be thick and gooey, or a lighter consistency. If you opt for a thicker, gooey gel, take it near an aid station so you can wash down with water.
After the race you might feel a little sick from all those gels, but do try to get a protein: carb mix on board, for example, a 50g sachet of SIS Rego Rapid Recovery or opt for a tasty carbohydrate bar, such as Reload Flapjack Fused Fruit from Grenade.
For more information about eating on race day, check out our piece, 7 Nutrition tweaks for active people.