While training for a marathon, the proper diet will have been a key facet of your training program. As you approach the last few weeks before race day, nutrition becomes even more important. A proper diet in terms of quantity and quality, before, during and after, training and competition, will maximize your race day performance. Throughout your training, you have been consuming more calories than normal as you worked to keep your body fueled for the upcoming race. In the days just prior to race day, you will have been tapering your workouts in order to allow your muscles to prepare for the big day and you will want to adjust your intake accordingly. Continue to consume a fair amount of carbohydrates all the way up until race day, as you will need these resources to get through the race.
The night before the marathon, avoid eating an overly large meal as this can prevent you from getting a proper night’s sleep. If you’ve been eating carefully all along, there is no need to load up on carbohydrates at the last minute.
Two to four hours before the race, try to consume items containing protein and simple carbohydrates, as well as drinking plenty of water. A few good choices for pre-race foods are bagels with peanut or almond butter, cereal, or low-fat cheese. Avoid foods high in fiber or fat, as they can cause digestive issues.
After the race, you’ll need to get some protein and carbohydrates into your body as soon as possible. By consuming them within thirty minutes of finishing the race, you’ll provide your body with the fuel it needs to recover.