What to eat before, during and after a marathon


I am running the London Marathon in April. This will be my first marathon so it's all very exciting. I really need advice on what to eat leading up to the event and during. I used to compete in middle distance but obviously my training was nowhere near as strenuous as this. I did a 10 mile yesterday and nearly collapsed even though I have run a lot further. I am thinking this could be down to diet? My legs were shaking terribly and I literally fell asleep on the ground about 5 mins after.
Help please.


  • Have you been eating normally ? Not slipping meals ?
    There's no need to carbo load for training.

    As to when you're running - for the longer runs - say past half marathon distance them you can take on energy. Gels or jelly babies or energy drink - whatever works for you and that's what you work out in training.

    After long runs I have a milkshake - you can have a recovery drink but milkshake is probably cheaper.

    It's not all about nutrition though - you need to have a decent consistent plan with sensible milages. Had you had a hard week before this run ?
  • Hi,

    The shaking episode after your most recent long run is worrisome...could be hypoglycemia but it could also be something more serious. Have you consulted a doctor about it?

    In general, I try to keep a well balanced diet during marathon training, especially ensuring that I'm consuming enough protein. On long training runs (as above, anything longer than half marathon distance) I bring energy gels to experiment with. During the week leading up to the race I increase carbohydrate consumption. Usually I have a medium sized pasta dinner each of the 3-4 nights leading up to the race, but there are obviously plenty of other carbohydrate options. During the race I usually start my first energy gel somewhere between miles 7-10, and eat it very slowly, generally over the course of 5 miles or so (for me this works better than taking in the whole packet at once). Usually I eat 2-3 packets during the race, which I've found keeps my blood sugar up and keeps me from hitting "the wall".

    If I were you I'd experiment with gels on long runs to figure out what works for you, as everyone is a little different! Best of luck on the London marathon! Supposedly the best in the world.


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