Eating For A Marathon

You are what you eat.

There is absolutely no point in training hard for months on end for a marathon if junk food is your main source of fuel. You’re only going to make things more difficult for yourself and put all your hard work to waste. The first step should be adopting a diet that is good for your health and nutrition and staying properly hydrated.

Let’s start with water. How much water do we need every day? This depends on
a bunch of things: body weight, sweat rates, temperature, altitude and the duration and intensity of exercise. A good way of determining whether you're sufficiently hydrated is to either look at the color of your urine (dark is not good) and/or to work out your sweat loss by weighing yourself before and after a long run.

If your weight has increased after you’ve run, then you might have taken on too much water, which can lead to low blood sodium levels (not good). But if you have a 2 per cent or more weight loss, then you’re dehydrated (not good) and need to rehydrate.

1. Eating Around Training

For short runs, you don’t need to eat anything special before, during or after. Under about 1 hour, just go for your run and eat some starchy nutrient dense vegetables at your next meal. Another option, although less nutritious, would be rice. If you’re doing runs 25kms or longer, a bigger carbohydrate meal is what you may need.

2. Carb Loading

Carb loading is eating a very high carb diet in the last few days before a race, to top up glycogen stores and make sure you have enough stored carbohydrates to last you through the race. In the past, standard practice was to deplete carb stores and eat a very high carb diet for a week before the run but recent research has shown that this isn’t the most effective method. Having a very high carb day right before the race looks to be a better option. 7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight seems to be the minimal helpful amount. So make sure you check out the nutritional information of food before you eat it.

Sweet Potatoes



50 kilograms         350
60 kilograms         420
70 kilograms        490
80 kilograms        560
90 kilograms        630

1 medium sweet potato: 24g
1 large white potato: 63g
1 cup of taro :28 g
1 cup of rice: 45g
1 medium banana: 29g

So, here are some quick tips to fuel your marathon training. Make the most of your training by staying fueled and hydrated.

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