Food and drink for marathon training

Preparation for a marathon is as much about getting your diet right, as it is your physical training. Fuelling your body correctly will go a long way in developing your running progress, but what are the best foods to eat to support your marathon training?

You need to make sure your diet is a balanced one which means high in carbohydrate, low in fat and includes foods from all the food groups, this will maintain a good supply of all nutrients. It is essential that you eat breakfast, but if you can’t face a meal, a fruit smoothie drink is a good alternative. Having breakfast will ensure you are not running or training on empty.

Pre-race breakfast ideas

  • Cereal with milk (skimmed), fruit, toast and juice
  • Muffins or crumpets with fruit, yogurt
  • Rolls or sandwiches with low fat filling, yogurt, and fruit
  • Fruit smoothies or fruit yogurts

Pre-race meal

On the day of the race have a light meal; you’ll need to allow three to four hours for it to digest. If you are nervous and can’t manage food have a liquid meal such as a fruit smoothie, or fruit yogurt drink. The best pre-marathon meal should contain about 200-300g of carbohydrate and be low in fibre; this will help to avoid any stomach upsets. Remember, it’s essential to practice your pre-marathon breakfast whilst you are training to find out what works best for you.

In the hour before the race have a snack, or drink. This will give you an extra boost of energy and help to delay fatigue. The best pre-race snacks are dried fruits, low-fat fruit yogurt, cereal or energy bar, a jam sandwich or a sports drink. Hydration is fundamental too; you need to drink 400-600mls of fluid two hours before the race. This will allow you to hydrate and also find time to go to the toilet! Then ideally you should drink 200-250mls of fluid 15-20 minutes before the race starts.

Some of the best foods for energy are:

Blueberries / Apples / Beans / Cantaloupe / Watermelon / Strawberries / Mango / Spinach / Salmon / Nuts / Tea / Tomatoes /Soy / Oatmeal / Whole grains / Peppers / Carrots / Pumpkin / Seeds / Celery / Pineapple / Avocado / Low Fat Dairy Products / Citrus Fruits


Samantha Rentz advised Tom Aikens for his marathon training for The More Fish Campaign. Tom Aikens is an English Michelin star Chef Together and has two restaurants in London – Tom Aikens & Tom’s Kitchen. Together they created some meals during the preparation. This is one of them.

Tom Aiken
Tom Aikens

Spiced Duck Salad, watermelon, watercress and crispy shallots.

Watermelon is great to boost energy. Watercress is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K. Duck is a highly nutritious and tasty choice and is a good source of high quality protein. 100-gram portion of the breast meat without skin contains 140 calories. The meat is also a good source of vitamins A, B3 and C. The addition of spices not only just excites your taste buds but are composed of impressive list of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for our wellbeing.

Samantha Rentz, Founder of R.E.A.L, Rentz Eating and lifestyle. R.E.A.L was set up in 2011 to assist professional and amateur athletes in their nutrition and weight management programmes pre marathons and long distance regimes. Fully qualified in Nutrition and Weight Management, Nutrition for Sports and Exercise R.E.A.L has devised and assisted with many pre nutritional programmes for individuals and celebrities.



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