Welcome to the second blog post in our marathon series. You can read the first post with five top tips here, and stay turned for another post to follow, covering how to mentally get through your race).
Your nutrition is so incredibly important during training and on race day, and it deserves some serious thought. Lucky for you, we've pulled together five top tips to help you enjoy every mile.
Most elite maraton runners will have a diet that consists of 80% carbohydrate and 20% protein. If you increase your carbs from 60% to 80%, you're doubling the glycogen your body can store, which is crucial for your performance as glycogen is the main fuel you'll use during your race. When it comes to running, carbohydrate is king.
Always use the same energy gels during training as you will on race day. When choosing them, don't just look at the glucose content, because more sugar doesn't always equal better performance. The viscosity ratio is important too – some are thick, sticky, and you have to drink 350ml water with them, which isn't practical. We recommend SIS; you don't need water, and they go straight to your liver and muscles to replace glycogen.
Hydration is exceptionally important. Because caffeine's a diuretic, you should avoid it the day before race day, but on the day itself, there's nothing wrong with caffeine 30-40 mins before you set off. It has a performance enhancing effect, and is very good at reducing pain.
Our bodies can only store enough carbohydrate for up to 90 minutes of running, so you need to keep your glycogen stores topped up. The recommended amount is 60g of carbohydrates per hour – don't wait until you're exhausted to take your gels. You'll want to get comfortable refuelling while running at a good pace during your training.
You should eat 1.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight within an hour of running. You're 50% less likely to recover if you don't take it within that window.
There you go. For a more in-depth look at your nutrition, we highly recommend SIS's running nutrition guide, which you can view here.