Nutrition plays a crucial role in the performance and recovery of marathon runners. With the London Marathon coming up, later this month, let’s look at nutrition to help you not only get the best results from training – but aid in your post marathon recovery.

Nutrition Tips for Marathon Runners

  1. Carbohydrate Loading: In the days leading up to the marathon, focus on consuming plenty of carbohydrates to maximise your glycogen stores. Foods like pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, and fruits are excellent sources of carbohydrates.
  2. Hydration: Proper hydration is essential for optimal performance. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and make sure to hydrate adequately before, during, and after your runs. Water is typically sufficient for hydration, but during longer runs, have electrolytes or a sports drink on hand to aid with recovery.
  3. Pre-run Meal: Consume a balanced meal rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat 2-3 hours before your run. This meal should be easy to digest and should provide you with sustained energy. Examples include oatmeal with banana, whole-grain toast with peanut butter, or a smoothie with fruits and yoghurt.
  4. During the Run: For runs lasting longer than 60-90 minutes, consider consuming carbohydrates to maintain energy levels. Energy gels, sports drinks, or easily digestible snacks like bananas or energy bars can help replenish glycogen stores and delay fatigue.
  5. Post-run Recovery: Refuel your body with a combination of carbohydrates and protein within 30-60 minutes after finishing your run. This helps replenish glycogen stores and aids in muscle repair and recovery. Opt for a balanced meal or snack such as a turkey or chicken sandwich, chocolate milk, or a smoothie with fruits and protein powder.
  6. Include Protein: Protein is essential for muscle repair and recovery. Incorporate lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish, tofu, beans, and dairy products into your meals and snacks throughout the day.
  7. Healthy Fats: While you want to focus on carbohydrates for energy, don’t neglect healthy fats, which provide sustained energy and support overall health. Include sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil in your diet.
  8. Nutrient Timing: Pay attention to the timing of your meals and snacks in relation to your runs. Aim to eat larger meals 2-3 hours before a run to allow for digestion, and consume smaller snacks or meals immediately after your run to kick-start recovery.
  9. Listen to Your Body: Every runner is different, so it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your nutrition based on how you feel during training runs and races. Experiment with different foods and timing to find what works best for you.
  10. Consult a Registered Dietitian: For personalised nutrition advice and guidance, consider consulting with a registered dietitan who specialises in sports nutrition. They can help you develop a customised nutrition plan to optimise your performance and support your overall health.

If you’re training for a marathon or another event, take a look at our special offer for April.

London Marathon Recovery Package – 4 Sessions – £250pp – only available in April.