How To Fuel Up For The London Marathon

We asked an expert what to eat before running a marathon...


by Grazia |

To any man, woman or child running or walking the marathon, we salute you.

Getting from A to B at any speed when A and B are forty two kilometres apart is no mean feat, so hats off to the lot of you. But, if you are planning on running, you need to really think about fuelling yourself right.

A car would never go into the Grand Prix on half a tank of low-grade petrol, and neither should you. If you want to perform at your absolute best, you need to eat for endurance.

However, there's a lot of conflicting advice around - should you be carb-loading, or opting for protein heavy dishes? And just how much water is too much on race day?

We spoke to Lovisa Nilsson, the in-house nutritionist for Lifesum, Scandinavia's leading health and fitness app. Lovisa herself is a keen runner, and can knock out 10km in an impressive 44 minutes.

She told us that in the weeks leading up to the event, it is important to couple your training with a balanced diet, rich in the nutrients to help you through the run. Lovisa said: 'The days before the marathon is the time to focus more on your carbohydrate intake, increasing it by about 10% so as to have a productive and successful run. It's also important to ensure that your training is less intense in the final week before the big run.

'Complex carbohydrates with low glycemic indices (GI) like wholegrain bread, pasta and brown rice are the best source of long-term energy because they provide the muscles and fat tissue with glycogen. Avoid junk foods such as greasy pizza, fries or processed foods, as these will leave you feeling bloated and less energetic.'

'A few hours before your run, have a balanced but light meal that includes some, but not too many fibres (fibres could cause stomach problems during your race, so be careful with that, Lovisa cautioned) such as oatmeal, a chicken sandwich or wholegrain cereal – avoid heavy meals at least 3 hours before the race.

'And be sure to increase your water intake in the lead up to the big race to ensure that you are well hydrated before you take your mark!'

And as for the fear of over-hydrating? 'Be sure to grab a drink of water at every drinks station but also balance it with a sports drink such as Lucozade or Gatorade, to avoid over-hydration- the body's natural balance of electrolytes is disturbed by too much fluid,' advised Lovisa.

See you at the finish line...

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