What To Eat The Week Of A Marathon

As a long-distance runner, I understand the importance of proper nutrition when it comes to marathon training. The week leading up to a marathon is a crucial time for fueling your body with the right foods to ensure optimal performance on race day. In this article, I will share my personal insights and recommendations on what to eat during the week of a marathon.

The Importance of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for endurance activities like running a marathon. During the week leading up to the race, it is essential to increase your carbohydrate intake to ensure your muscles have an adequate glycogen supply. Glycogen is a form of stored glucose that provides energy to your muscles during exercise.

Some excellent sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Incorporating these into your meals will help replenish glycogen stores and provide sustained energy throughout the week. Aim to consume about 60-70% of your daily calories from carbohydrates.

Protein for Recovery and Repair

While carbohydrates are crucial for fueling your runs, protein is essential for muscle recovery and repair. During marathon training, your muscles undergo significant stress, and consuming enough protein can aid in their recovery.

Include lean sources of protein in your meals, such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, and dairy products. Aim for a protein intake of around 15-20% of your daily calories. Additionally, consuming protein-rich foods within 30 minutes after your runs can help maximize muscle recovery.

Fueling Before Long Runs

During the week of a marathon, you may have a couple of long training runs scheduled. It’s essential to fuel properly before these runs to optimize your performance and endurance.

One strategy is to consume a meal or snack that contains both carbohydrates and some protein about 2-3 hours before your run. This allows enough time for digestion and prevents any discomfort during your run. For example, you could have a bowl of oatmeal with some nuts and a banana or a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.

Hydration is Key

Staying hydrated is crucial for both training runs and the marathon itself. Aim to drink plenty of fluids throughout the week, focusing on water and electrolyte-rich beverages. Hydrating properly will help maintain your body’s fluid balance and support optimal performance.

Additionally, consider including some hydrating foods in your meals, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and celery. These foods have high water content and can contribute to your overall hydration.

Don’t Forget About Fiber

While carbohydrates are essential, it’s also crucial to include adequate fiber in your diet. Fiber helps regulate digestion and can prevent any gastrointestinal issues during the race.

Incorporate foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes to increase your fiber intake. However, be mindful of not consuming excessive fiber the night before the marathon, as it might cause unwanted digestive discomfort.

Sample Meal Plan

Here’s a sample meal plan for the week leading up to a marathon:

  • Breakfast: A bowl of oatmeal with berries and a side of Greek yogurt or eggs.
  • Lunch: A turkey or chicken wrap with whole-grain bread and plenty of vegetables.
  • Snack: A piece of fruit with a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon with quinoa and roasted vegetables.
  • Pre-bedtime snack: A cup of Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey.


Proper nutrition is the key to success when it comes to marathon training. During the week leading up to the event, focus on consuming a balanced diet with an emphasis on carbohydrates, protein, hydration, and fiber. Remember that everyone is different, so experiment with different foods and find what works best for you. The week of a marathon is not the time to try new foods or make drastic changes to your diet. Stick to what you know works well for your body and enjoy the journey towards crossing that finish line!