What to eat before a marathon

Let’s be honest, running a marathon is no easy feat! 26.2 miles is a long way, whether you’re running, jogging or walking, so making sure you load up on the right food is really important to help you perform at your best. You wouldn’t drive 26 miles on an empty tank, so don’t treat your body any differently!

Eating a bowl of pasta before a marathon

How much do I need to eat before a marathon?

Carb loading is a tried and tested method that many athletes use to build up their energy stores before a marathon. Essentially, carbohydrate loading is a technique used by endurance athletes, particularly runners, in order to maximise their energy stores in their muscles and liver. As you will know, running 26.2 miles demands a lot of energy so to start building up your stores you should begin increasing your carb intake around 3 days before your race. Carbs should make up most of your calorie intake pre-race and a guide your daily carb intake should be about 4g of carbohydrates for every pound you weigh.

What is the best food to eat before a marathon?

If you’re a fan of bread, rice and pasta, you’ll have no problem filling your boots (or running shoes) ready for your marathon! Try toast and oatmeal for carb-packed breakfast options, rice with a small portion of lean meat and veggies are ideal for lunch or dinner. 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! 

You’ll want to top up your energy stores the night before your marathon, try a pasta dish with a small portion of lean protein and veggies, then start race day with a carb heavy breakfast such as a bagel a few hours before you start running.

Don’t forget to drink!

Good nutrition goes hand in hand with good hydration, so don’t forget to drink water regularly! Drink plenty of water a couple of hours before you start running and try to top up every 15 minutes during your run. Sports drinks that replace electrolytes and lost fluids are great for topping up your energy levels and maintaining your fluid levels. For a marathon we’d definitely recommend using these.

 


If you are looking for your next marathon, take a look at our event listings to find the perfect event for you - Marathon Listings

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UK Marathons

A marathon is often seen as the ultimate challenge for long-distance runners. Covering 26.2 miles, a marathon will challenge your fitness, endurance, pace, and grit, but reward you with an amazing sense of accomplishment at the finish line! Marathons take place all over the world, with well-known events such as the London or New York marathons attracting thousands of entrants every year.

Why run a marathon?

For many runners, once they’ve trained up from completing a 5k, 10k or haIf marathon, completing a full marathon is the big race that will be in their sights. A marathon is no easy feat, but if you’ve already completed a few longer races such as 10k or half marathon distance, you should be able to increase your training and take on a marathon as the next natural progression in your running journey. That being said, even If you’ve never run competitively before, many beginners often choose to take on a marathon as a way to encourage a change in fitness and lifestyle and to have a real challenge to work towards. You’re sure to feel a great sense of achievement after running your first marathon, regardless of your time, and you might just catch the running bug too!

Aside from being a great form of cardiovascular exercise, there are plenty of other great benefits to running too. Firstly, if you’re thinking of taking up running as a way to lose some weight, running a marathon is a big commitment, and through your training, you’ll work on getting your heart rate up and burning calories.

Another reason to sign up for a marathon is that it’s a great way to raise money for charity. Marathons are really popular events for fundraising and there are hundreds of marathons in the UK every year. Some people even choose to so the whole race in fancy dress to make fundraising that bit more interesting!

Finally, running your first marathon is a great way to really challenge yourself and improve your long-distance running ability. Once you’ve finished one marathon you’ll be looking for your next race to beat your PB. If you’d rather start with a shorter distance to ease into running, why not check out a 5k or 10k race first?

Marathons near me

Whilst you’ll have no doubt heard of some of the most popular marathons out there such as the London Marathon, did you know that there are dozens of local marathon events that take place every year in the UK too? As marathons are popular events and great for fundraising, you’ll find that there are more and more marathons springing up across the UK all the time, meaning that there is bound to be one that is easy and convenient for you to get to. Another benefit of joining one of the smaller marathon events nearby is that you’re less likely to miss out on a place and joining fees are generally lower.

If you’re looking for ways to get more active, or even start exercising more with a friend or partner, training for a marathon together is a great way to introduce a little friendly competition and also support each other in reaching your fitness goals. We list lots of marathon events that take place all over the UK, so be sure to take a look for marathons near you using the search bar on the left. You can then find races based on location and other options using the filters to find the perfect event for you.

Marathons near me and fundraising

As we’ve mentioned, running a marathon is a great way to raise some money for a good cause, and with such a long race distance, you could even get people to sponsor you per mile. As well as the better-known events, such as the Virgin London Marathon and the Great Run series, there are plenty of smaller local events you can sign up to as well. In fact, many local charities organise their own events to raise money for specific causes.

Setting up funding for a marathon is easy too. Most charities will provide you with a sponsorship pack to get started you can also fundraise online and share your goals with your friends on social media. Running in a local marathon race is also an ideal way to raise money for charities that are based in your local community, and also a great way to get more familiar with your local area.

Charity marathon events are some of the most popular events out there, so if you want to get into running then these are a great place to start!

How can I find a charity marathons near me?

If you’ve decided to run a marathon for a charity, you may be wondering ‘where are the charity marathon events near me?’. Well, you’re in the right place! On the UK Fitness Events website, you’ll find pages of fitness events that are taking place all across the UK. Use the search bar on the left and once you’ve filtered down the type of race you’re looking to take part in, you can then further refine the results by selecting your location and then choosing from a range of charities that you are interested in supporting.

If you’d like to support a charity that isn’t listed, you’re welcome to do that too! Be sure to check the website of your chosen charity to find out more about getting started with fundraising.

Training for a marathon

Marathons are probably the biggest challenge a runner will ever face and will push you to all your limits. Marathons require a much longer training plan where you have to train both your body and mind to be able to stand up to the length of the race.

If your goal is to do a marathon or even half marathon then you’ll need to get lots of training done before you even look at the track! Start off similar to a 5K prep with smaller runs and sprints and then slowly build up the length of the runs you do. You’ll also want to get into the right diet regime too so that your body gets in the right shape, find out more by looking at our marathon training plan

What are the best UK marathons 2020?

The most famous marathon is the Virgin Money London Marathon, though there are many others dotted around the country too such as the Brighton or Edinburgh marathons which provide just as much challenge and give you multiple scenic routes to run on. For a little more adventure you can also look at something like the Midnight Marathon Run which will have you sprinting around a mountain in total darkness! Want to find more, take a look at our guide to the Best UK Marathons

Related posts

Are you looking for some more information on marathons? We have some great quick-read articles covering everything from pace, training and nutrition to top tips. See some of our related posts below:

Calories burnt running a Marathon

How long is a marathon?

How to train for a marathon

Top Marathon Running Tips

What are the Best UK Marathons?

What is the average marathon time?

How to run a marathon faster

What to eat before a marathon