Marathon meal plan - Thursday

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:

Runners should try to get into the habit of eating 5-6 smaller meals earlier in the week before a marathon, to train the body for the 'carb-loading' over the 2-3 days pre-race. Evening snacks are optional earlier in the week. Runners should look to use fluids and light snacks if finding it difficult to tolerate the increased quantities of food.

Thursday training:Thursday training

Jog for 15 minutes, walk for 10 minutes
* Beginner's guidelines as recommended by the London Marathon.


Thursday nutrition:

Carbohydrate intake remains raised on Thursday, in preparation for carbo-loading starting on Friday. The focus is on complete, high quality, sources of protein at each main meal. The evening snack provides a suitable option for those unable to tolerate dairy.


BreakfastSeven-cup muesli

Seven-cup muesli
Mary's muesli will set you up for a busy day, it counts as one of your 5-a-day and is high in iron and packed with fibre.


Morning snackDried fruit energy nuggets

Dried fruit energy nuggets
Give your energy levels a real boost with these nutritionally-balanced healthy fruit bites.


LunchHot & sour fish soup

Hot & sour fish soup
James Martin's Asian soup combines a fragrant broth with fish, seafood and light noodles, topped with strong herbs.


Afternoon snackSweet & spicy popcorn

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.


DinnerMexican chicken stew with quinoa & beans

Mexican chicken stew with quinoa & beans
Spicy chicken casserole with a healthy superfood side dish of protein-rich quinoa.


Evening snack (optional)Creamy mango & coconut smoothie

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



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


As a sport and exercise nutritionist, James Collins regularly provides comment and consultation within the media and maintains a role of governance within Health & Nutrition in the UK, where he sits on The Royal Society of Medicine's (RSM) 'Food and Health' Council. He was heavily involved in advising Team GB in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic games, and now towards Rio 2016.

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.

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Be the first to comment...We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?
Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.