Marathon running event was included in the first Olympics in 1896. Since Marathon is a long distance running event, it differs from short running events. Many Marathon running events are organized nowadays all over the word but only true athletes can participate in these Marathon races, as it requires lot of energy to run the race to cover such a long distance.
These Marathons are true fitness tests of athletes. It needs a lot of strength and determination to even complete a Marathon race. Therefore it becomes utmost necessary to concentrate on what you eat before running a Marathon race. A few meal strategies which are recommended are as follows.
Five Days Nutrition Strategy
It is very important to keep watch over the time, quantity and type of food you eat before you enter a Marathon.
- In the last five days of your race, increase your calorie intake. Include more pastas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice to your diet.
- You should have your big meal at least two nights before you run your Marathon race. This helps in good digestion and prevents lethargy and bloated feeling before the race.
- About a day before the race, you should eat a balanced diet as you eat on any practice day along with plenty of liquids to keep you hydrated.
- You should have food which comes under low to medium Glycemic index such as brown rice, pastas, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Before eighteen hours of the race, you should have small meals every three hours. After lunch avoid food like meat, fried food, nuts, fats, roughage etc. rather take food which are easy to digest, such as energy bars, sandwiches etc.
- On the day of the Marathon, eat a small breakfast at least three hours ahead of the race. You can have a small portion of your favorite breakfast and relax to run well.
Weekly Nutrition Strategy
This weekly nutrition recommendation is also worthwhile.
- If you prefer to follow nutrition strategy for the whole week, then on day one you should have high protein diet with fiber in the form of snacks. Also include vegetables, fruits and nuts to make the meal balanced.
- On day two you should have a protein rich breakfast to help repair and growth of muscles.
- You should try to give boost to micronutrients such as by taking omega 3 at lunch time, iron in dinner and magnesium in afternoon snack. This is important for muscle function and production of required energy to run the Marathon.
- On day three the carbohydrate intake should be increased in main meals and a low Glycemic index food for breakfast for a slow energy release. Should include antioxidants and protein in the morning and evening food.
- On day four the protein and carbohydrate intake are both raised to help in carbo-loading.
- On day five the focus is on carbohydrate intake and that opens up options to take desserts.
- On day six you can have high carbohydrate breakfast and liquid based evening snack because everybody cannot take heavy carbohydrates before the final day.
- Have a tried and tested light breakfast three hours before the race and also don’t forget to have a carbohydrate and protein rich dinner to help in the repairing process.
Meal Recommendation Before the Day
Your meal before the Marathon depends on the duration of the race, the timing of the meal and your body size. The meal should be directly proportional to your body size and the length of your race. The more early you can take your meal, the larger the meal can be, as it will give enough time for digestion. It is intelligent to take those foods which are easily digestible and easily consumed.
Thus, to give an optimal performance on the Marathon day, you should be well prepared by taking planned food so that you can feel light and energetic.