Five top tips to fuel a marathon
Solent is supporting the ABP Southampton Marathon again this year. In the lead up to the event, some of the University’s experts from the Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences will share some top tips for those taking part.
Molly Wisbey, Sports Nutritionist & Lecturer in Nutrition at Solent explains the best way to keep on top of nutrition to support training…
- Increase carbohydrate intake in the days before the marathon
Increasing carbohydrate intake in the days leading up to the event will ensure that your fuel stores remain full. Ensure a carbohydrate source is included in each meal and snack in the 3-4 days before race day. For example, porridge oats for breakfast, rice for lunch and pasta for dinner with snacks, including flapjack, banana and fruit juice throughout the day.
- Aim to eat race day breakfast 3-4 hours before the start of the race
On race day, plan to eat breakfast 3-4 hours before race start. This may be reduced to two hours if you do not suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. Breakfast should be high in carbohydrates to fuel the race and low in fat and fibre to prevent GI discomfort. Examples include porridge oats, banana and honey. Another good option includes two white bagels topped with jam and a glass of orange juice. It is advisable to practice race day breakfast before the day so you know what works well for you.
- Prioritise carbohydrate and hydration intake during the race
During the marathon itself, research suggests that carbohydrate intake should be around 60g/hour. Therefore, if running a four-hour marathon, 240g of carbohydrate is recommended. Aim to consume carbohydrate small and often throughout the race, every 20-30 minutes works well for most individuals.
Carbohydrates sources include:
- Banana = 24-30g
- Carbohydrate gel = 28g
- Handful of jellybeans = 11g
- 500ml sports drink = 40-50g
When it comes to hydration, aim to sip little and often throughout the race. If the race conditions are hot and humid, it may also be worth adding an electrolyte tablet containing sodium to your fluid source. Electrolytes such as sodium help you remain hydrated during exercise.
- Recover with carbohydrate, protein and vegetables.
Post-marathon, carbohydrate stores are likely to be depleted and a large amount of energy (calories) has likely been burnt. Therefore, to recover optimally, ensure the post-race meal includes carbohydrates (to refuel your empty muscle stores), protein (to repair muscle damage) and vegetables (for antioxidants). Think, a burger, sweet potato fries and a side salad or a chilli con carne.
- Prepare as much as possible beforehand
Have a look on the marathon organiser website to see whether aid stations are available throughout the race. This will advise which food and drinks sources to carry during the race. Additionally, prepare ahead through buying gels, drinks etc the week before to ensure you are ready for the marathon! Best of luck!
Solent University is working with partners across the city. Find out more here, along with how you can get involved in the ABP Marathon.
Solent’s partnership with the ABP Marathon is just one example of the University’s approach to civic and public engagement. The University works with a number of partners to deliver the commitments set out within its Civic Charter. Find out more here.
To discover or more or to discover how your organisation can get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org.