London Marathon 2017: Five things sports nutritionists say you need to do before and on race day

Ted Munson
ATHLETICS-GBR-MARATHON
Not trying new drinks on the day of the race is important according to experts (Source: Getty)

For those heading to Greenwich on Sunday to the start line of the London Marathon, the last few days and hours is a nervous time.

Miles and miles of training has to be put to one side as runners prepare their bodies for a 26.2 mile slog around the capital's streets.

Fuelling success, however that might look, is paramount. You are what you eat, as the saying goes.

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Here are five top things you need to think about before getting to the start line.

1 – Carbohydrate load

Your taper in training should start 1-2 weeks before the marathon. Along with this, your carbohydrate intake should increase 36-48 hours before the big day.

Research has suggested that in the days before a marathon, a runner should aim to take on around 10g of carbohydrate per kilo of their body mass per day.

This will load up the muscles with glycogen, a ready supply of energy for race day. Carbohydrate drinks like GO Energy and GO Electrolyte are a great way to increase carbohydrate intake between meals

2 – Race Day Breakfast

Your race day breakfast should have been practised in training and is individual to you. This breakfast should include around 1-4g of carbohydrate per kilo of your body mass.

So for a 70kg runner, a large bowl of cornflakes with milk, two slices of toast with jam and a glass of apple juice would provide 140g of carbohydrate which should be consumed at least two hours before the race.

3 – Include Electrolytes

It’s not always practical to run with a bottle on race day, which make pre-hydration a priority. Hydration should start the night before by taking on an electrolyte drink with your evening meal. Repeat this in the morning of the race.

Electrolytes, particularly sodium help the body use and retain fluid more effectively. It’s also important to replace the electrolytes lost through sweating, which has been associated with a decrease in mental and physical performance.

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4 – Energy

Always practice your energy and gel intake in training. It’s important to include race-day fuelling sessions in your training plan so that your stomach is accustomed to digesting and using gels on race-day.

Aim to take on around 60 grams of carbohydrate an hour. Gels are a practical solution for taking on energy. Fuel early and often, ideally 20g every 20 minutes

5 – Never try anything new on race day

From your race day breakfast to your sports nutrition products, never try anything new. If you have trained using gels, then make sure you prepare your nutrition beforehand.

Gel belts provide a great solution for carrying your nutrition products. Ideally, we want to take on nutrition based on time, not distance. Having to wait until the next ‘refuel’ station is not always practical.

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