The Ultimate Marathon Nutrition Guide

Are you considering running a marathon? A marathon is a running through distance event; thus, you must be well prepared. A marathon needs intense, lengthy training—some people even spend months preparing for it. In addition to adequate training, having the ideal diet plan will power you throughout the event. Here are the preparations and marathon nutrition tips you need to be aware of to have a great experience.

Before the Marathon

You must be aware that the earlier you begin marathon training, the better. Learn about the route, where the feed stations are, potential weather, and the kind of food that will be provided. Make training programmes using your favourite effective method.

Even though you may have trained for weeks or even months in advance of the event, preparing an excellent marathon nutrition schedule is crucial if you want to be in top shape. Apart from everything else, understanding the kind of nutrition provided enables you to determine if your body can handle and adjust to certain running nutrition substances. Doing this, you’ll notice your body adapt and persevere through changing conditions. 

Here are some things to take into account while developing a nutrition plan:

1. Figure Out What Works Best for Your Body.

Finding what energises your body shouldn’t be left until the day before. You should start your dietary training as soon as you start your physical exercise (preferably ten weeks before the marathon).

If you are still deciding what to consume, consider using the items offered at the event. Apply those goods over your extended training period and note what functions well and what doesn’t. Consider researching more running nutrition ingredients, trying additional interests, and building up your nutrition table if any products need to be changed for you.

2. Carbohydrates

Be sure to fill up on muscle glycogen days before the marathon! Increasing your carbohydrate intake will enable you to have extremely high muscle glycogen levels. And doing so speeds up your body’s pace of recovery. You should not, however, consume a lot of it, despite what this would suggest. Instead, make sure your body has the appropriate quantity.

Extreme carbohydrate regimens were popular in the past but are no longer essential in modern society. It was to ensure that more of your daily calories came from carbs than fat. To minimise any digestive troubles, and if you have any, reduce your fibre intake the day before. Having a substantial lunchtime meal the day before and a smaller dinner is what you should go for.

Here are some carbohydrates-containing foods:

  • Banana – 24-30 g
  • Chews (4-5) – 16-25 g
  • Energy Bar – 20-40 g
  • Gel – 21-17 g
  • Jelly beans (10) – 11 g

3. Eat Your Breakfast.

Breakfast should always be considered the most vital meal, especially on the day of the marathon. Your liver stores carbs for your brain to utilise at night, so there aren’t many left in the morning. Consequently, you have to eat a breakfast full of carbs.

Everyone has entirely different breakfast preferences. However,  it is recommended that you take it at the same time you eat your breakfast throughout your practice, and it must contain at least 100 grammes of carbs as advised at marathon nutrition tables. Eat breakfast ideally three to four hours before the event. If you don’t have any stomach issues, 2 to 3 hours earlier can still be effective.

And remember to check the colour of your pee beforehand. You’re okay if it’s a light yellow colour. However, you should drink additional water if your urine is black. Avoid starting with pee that is dark in colour. 

4. One Hour Prior

Remember to carry your water bottle and drink some water and a gel 15 minutes before the marathon (Practise this during your training). Make sure to maintain a record of everything you consume throughout your practise as it relates to your carbohydrate intake, one of the important elements of running gels.

During the Marathon

The two items listed below are the only marathon nutrition components you need to keep in mind throughout:

1. Hydration

During the marathon, participants are often given 150 mL (5 oz) cups. The stomach excretes 720 to 840 mL (24 to 28 oz) of liquids per hour, or roughly 180 to 210 mL (6 to 7 oz), every 15 minutes. You can prevent dehydration by consuming the same amount of water as your sweating rate.

Weighing yourself before and after every practise can help you determine your perspiration rate. Add the number of fluids you’ve ingested, then deduct your weight from before and after your workout. You should do this throughout training to familiarise yourself with the number of fluids you consume during the marathon.

2. Carbohydrates

Athletes should consume between 30 and 60 grammes of carbohydrates every hour. This running nutrition component shouldn’t be consumed excessively since doing so might cause digestive issues.


In addition to training, appropriate marathon nutrition is essential for preparing your body for the long run. This is where some athletes’ efforts fall short; they ignore nutrition in favour of exercise alone. Even if your body needs extra nutrients, try to take them in manageable amounts.