What to eat the week before the marathon

As you start to gear up for the race, you should be eating more high-quality protein and increasing your carb intake. This is important for boosting your energy stores and improving recovery time after the big race. Read more in our guide to carb-loading.


As a general rule, what you eat should change depending on your training. Discover what to eat on moderate to normal training days and rest or easy training days.

For what to eat during the rest of the week, check out our marathon meal plan.

Next, check out what to eat and drink while running a marathon and what should I eat when training for a marathon?

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, 21 April 2024.

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Below, you'll find suggestions on what to eat and how much training you should do. For a full 16-week plan, have a look at the London Marathon's training programme.

Thursday training:

Rest day – relax

Thursday nutrition:

Carbohydrate intake should remain 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 too, but optional, depending on your preferences.


Healthy homemade granola

Healthy Homemade Granola

This muesli will keep you going until lunch. It counts as one of your five-a-day and is high in iron and packed with fibre.

Morning snack

Pineapple smoothie

Pineapple smoothie in three glasses

Blend fresh pineapple and banana with lime juice to make this tangy pineapple smoothie. It's great for an energy-boosting breakfast or mid-morning snack.


Chilli salmon & teriyaki noodles with sugar snap peas

Fresh and flavoursome, this simple salmon dish with soy, ginger and teriyaki sauce is a great go-to. Using wok-ready noodles means you can have a protein-rich lunch ready in minutes.

Afternoon snack

Healthy cookies

Raspberry, almond & oat breakfast cookies

Grab a few of these energy-boosting healthy cookies for a quick snack to bridge the hunger gap before dinner.


Mexican chicken stew with quinoa & beans

Mexican-style chicken stew with quinoa

Enjoy a spicy chicken casserole with a healthy, nutritious side dish of protein-rich quinoa.

Want more running info? Now try:

Find more expert advice and answers to your training questions in our marathon hub
What to eat before a run
What to eat during a run
What to eat after a run
How to stay hydrated on a run

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 bbcgoodfood.com 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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