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Nutrition Before the Run

Reaching for your goals needs you to sweat out, and your preparation for the marathon only proves this right every day!

Did you know that taking care of your nutrition is as important as your training for the run? You need to fuel your body with the right type of foods and drinks to meet the nutritional requirements.1,2 Let’s help you plan your nutrition well and bring out your best.

5Days Before The Race

Plan your calories with a well-balanced meal plan. Load enough carbohydrates into your body as they provide ample calories. Rich sources of carbohydrates include whole grain breads, millets, pastas, etc. In addition, don’t forget to get enough protein from foods such as milk, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, pulses and 2-5

3Days Before The Race

Try to increase the amount of carbohydrate intake to 6 to 10 g/kg body weight. For example, if your weight is 75 kg, you need to take 450 to 750 g/day. Don’t forget to include proteins in your meal. You need to take 1 to 1.6 g/kg body weight. For example, if your weight is 75 kg, you need to take 75 to 120 g/day.6

48Hours Before The Race

Continue on the high-carbohydrate diet but try to avoid high-fibre foods such as cereals, pulses, green leafy vegetables and some fruits. Make sure to eat easy-to-digest foods such as bananas, brown rice and bread, yogurt, energy bars in the right quantity.2,5

28Hours Before The Race

Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks to keep yourself hydrated. Try to eat foods that make your stomach comfortable and feel lighter. Do not try any new food on the day of the race or the day before.3 Carbo-loading before the day of run helps delay energy depletion and keeps you get going. Here is an example of a meal plan for a person weighing 68 kg.7


8-10 mixed nuts and dates

1 Banana

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 whole wheat bread

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Chocolate milk (~350ml.)

1 cup coffee

1 glass banana-chikoo smoothie

1bowl corn salad

1 bowl pasta with veggies in tomato sauce

1 bowl sprouts chaat

1 cup tea

1 bowl sweet corn soup

3 chapatis

1 bowl alu-matar curry/chicken curry

18Hours Before The Race

Try to eat small meals every 2 to 3 hours. Avoid fried, fatty, salty foods and milk products after lunch; also, eat light and easy-to-digest foods. Stay hydrated with adequate water and electrolytes.2

4Hours and Less

Have a light breakfast with simple carbohydrates such as cereals with milk, fruits, sports gel or drink, a banana or a granola bar.6

Slowly start building up your fluid levels with water and electrolytes 2 hours before the race to stay hydrated. Avoid carbohydrates 1 hour before the race.2,3

A sample breakfast plan 2 to 4 hours before your race6

1 cup oatmeal cooked with 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp. honey

1 banana

1/3 cup raisins/dates/walnuts

29mL sports drink

Get enough rest and don’t panic. Try to give your best and enjoy the race. All the best!


1. Training guide [Internet]. [Cited 2016 Apr 28].
2. Marathon nutrition [Internet]. [Cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from:
3. Jeukendrup AE. Nutrition for endurance sports: Marathon, triathlon, and road cycling. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(S1):S91-9.
4. National Institute of Nutrition. Dietary Guidelines for Indians A Manual [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2016 Apr 28].
5. Nutrient requirements and recommended dietary allowances for Indians. A Report of the Expert Group of the Indian Council of Medical Research [Internet].
6. Nutrition strategies: fueling your body for race day [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2016 Apr 27].
7. Available from:
8. Christensen K, Lindberg J. Carbohydrate and fluid requirements for endurance runners [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2016 Apr 28].
9. Available from: