Check out the London Marathon's training and meal plans. Don't have a spot to run this year? You can still take part with the virtual event London Marathon MyWay – join up for your chance to run 26.2 miles on marathon day, 21st April 2024.


Overall dietary guidelines:

Contrary to previous beliefs, the week before the marathon isn't all about piling on the pasta. In fact, to maximise 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 slower increase in your daily intake). Read more in our guide to carb-loading.

Runners who have coeliac disease, are intolerant to gluten or simply following a gluten-free diet need to plan their meals carefully around the appropriate carbohydrate options to prepare for the race. We have adapted our week-long marathon meal plan to provide options for the week leading up to the event, as well as examples that can be used as part of your wider training or day-to-day routine.

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 marathon.

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.

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We’ve included examples of the race training programme from London Marathon to plan your nutrition for this day.

Friday training:

20 mins easy run
* Beginner's guidelines as recommended by the TCS London Marathon.

Friday nutrition:

Forty-eight hours of carb-loading begins here! This doesn't mean grazing on carbohydrate-rich foods all day, but instead, try to focus on including carbohydrate sources in each meal and snack. As you can see from the options, it can be very enjoyable.

Evening snacks are an option to increase your daily carbohydrate intake.

Don't worry if your body weight increases by 1-2kg in the period before the race as the body stores water alongside the carbohydrate (which is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen). Think of this as fuel in the tank, ready for the race.

Cinnamon crêpes with nut butter, sliced banana & raspberries


Use gluten-free flour in these thin breakfast pancakes served with almond butter, fruit and lemon.

Morning snack
Peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cookies on a grey napkin in a glass jar

This gluten-free, melt-in-the-mouth biscuit recipe is one delicious way to increase your carb intake ahead of the race.

South American-style quinoa with fried eggs

South American-style quinoa with eggs and a wedge of fresh lime

Super-charge your lunch with protein-rich quinoa and combine it with black beans, avocado and fried egg in this nutritious veggie dish for two

Afternoon snack
Gingerbread bites

gingerbread bites on a wooden board

These tasty, all-natural nibbles make a speedy snack and energy booster for when you're on-the-go.

Cajun blackened chicken with supergreen quinoa


Chicken breasts provide valuable lean protein and are perfect paired with a colourful quinoa-based salad.

Dessert/evening snack
Rainbow fruit skewers

Rainbow fruit skewers

These vitamin-packed fruit skewers make a tasty evening snack.

Go back to the week-long gluten-free marathon meal plan.

Don't need to eat a gluten-free diet? Try our basic, vegetarian and vegan marathon meal plans.

Find more expert advice and answers to your training questions in our marathon hub.

James Collins is recognised as a leading Performance Nutritionist through his work with Olympic and professional sport. Over the last decade he has worked with Arsenal FC, the England and France national football teams and Team GB. He has a private practice in Harley Street where he sees business executives, performing artists and clients from all walks of life. He is the author of the new book The Energy Plan, which focuses on the key principles of fuelling for fitness.


All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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