What to eat before a half marathon

If you have run a half marathon before, or even if you have been training up for your first one, you’ll know that running 13.1 miles is a pretty big achievement! Making sure you load up on the right food is really important to help you perform at your best – you wouldn’t set out for a long drive without filling up on fuel, so don’t treat your body any differently!

How much do I need to eat before a half marathon?

Ever heard of carb loading? You most likely will have come across it at some point if you are training for a half marathon. Carb or carbohydrate loading is a technique used by endurance athletes, particularly runners, in order to maximise their energy stores in their muscles and liver. Make no mistake, 13.1 miles of running requires a lot of energy; to start building up your energy stores you should begin increasing your carb intake at least 3 days before your race. The majority of the calories you consume in these days before you race should come from carbohydrates. As a guide your daily carb intake should be about 4g of carbohydrates for every pound of body weight.


What is the best food to eat before a half marathon?

You’ll be happy to hear that you can go all out on those carbohydrate packed foods! Bread, rice, pasta and oats are all great options, as they are packed with energy and easy to digest. Some fruits are also high in carbohydrate, but be careful of the amount of fibre that is also in the fruit as it can cause an upset stomach – definitely something to avoid on race day! 

Top up your energy stores the night before your half marathon with a pasta dish (add some flavour with a low fat tomato sauce), then start race day with a carb heavy breakfast a few hours before you start running.


Don’t forget to drink!

Drink plenty of water beforehand and try to top up every 15 minutes during your run. Sports drinks that replace electrolytes and lost fluids during exercise are also really handy for topping up your energy levels and maintaining your fluid levels, and well worth including in any endurance running such as a half marathon.



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