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 carbs. This is important for boosting your energy stores and improving recovery time after the big race. Read more in our guide to carb-loading.

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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.

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

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?

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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.

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 as optional depending on your preferences.

Breakfast

Seven-cup muesli

Seven cup muesli in a bowl with milk and fruit

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

Creamy mango & coconut smoothie

Creamy mango & coconut smoothie

This tropical shake with creamy coconut yogurt, mango and passion fruit is free from dairy and soya.

Lunch

Salmon noodle soup

Salmon noodle soup

This wholesome noodle soup is low fat, heart-healthy and packed full of tasty ingredients.

Afternoon snack

Rosemary, garlic & chilli popcorn

rosemary, garlic & chilli popcorn

Ready in under 20 minutes, this snack is great eaten warm or keep in an airtight container and store to stave off hunger between meals.

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.

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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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