Sports nutritionist James Collins shares his meal plan for the week before a big race – Thursday is all about high-quality protein and increasing your carbohydrate intake.
Overall dietary guidelines:
Contrary to previous beliefs, the week before the marathon isn’t all about piling on the pasta. In fact, to maximize carbohydrate (fuel) stores before the race, runners only need to start ‘fuelling up' or ‘carb-loading' two or three days before the race (three days if you prefer a slower increase in your daily intake). Read more in our guide to carb-loading.
Earlier in the week, it may be useful to start including snacks to train the gut in preparation for increased carbohydrate intake in the days leading up to the race.
As a general rule, what you eat should be different depending on the training demands for that day (or when you are preparing for the race itself) to promote sufficient fuelling and recovery. Discover what to eat on different training days with our training meal plans for runners.
We’ve included examples of the race training program from the London Marathon to plan your nutrition for this day.
* Beginner's guidelines as recommended by the London Marathon.
Carbohydrate intake remains raised on Thursday, in preparation for carb-loading starting on Friday. The focus is on complete, high quality, sources of protein at each main meal. The morning snack provides a suitable option for those unable to tolerate dairy. Snacks are included as optional depending on your preferences.
This muesli will keep you going till lunch. It counts as one of your five-a-day and is high in iron and packed with fiber.
Creamy mango & coconut smoothie
This tropical shake with creamy coconut yogurt, mango and passion fruit is free from dairy and soy.
Hot & sour fish soup
James Martin's Asian soup combines a fragrant broth with fish, seafood and light noodles, topped with strong herbs.
Sweet & spicy popcorn
Ready in under 10 minutes, this snack is great eaten warm or stored as a snack to stave off hunger between meals.
Mexican chicken stew with quinoa & beans
Enjoy a spicy chicken casserole with a healthy, nutritious side dish of protein-rich quinoa.