Marathon meal plan - Tuesday

It's the week before the marathon and getting your diet right is key to peak performance. Sports nutritionist James Collins shares his pre-race meal plan for Tuesday...

A group of runners competing in a marathon event

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 needs 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.

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 race. 

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.

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

Tuesday training:

* Beginner's guidelines as recommended by the London Marathon.

Tuesday nutrition:

Carbohydrate is reduced today as it’s a rest day. Starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast is a good option here, to support muscle growth and repair, whilst training volume is lower. Earlier in the week is a great opportunity to boost micronutrient intake, such as magnesium (afternoon snack), iron (dinner) and omega-3 (lunch), which are a crucial for energy production and muscle function.


Ricotta, tomato & spinach frittata

Ricotta, tomato & spinach frittata
These healthy veggie bites are packed with flavour.

Morning snack

Apricot, honey & pistachio flapjacks
These tasty treats will keep you in the kitchen for just five minutes.


Smoked mackerel, orange & couscous salad
Sliced oranges make a refreshing addition to this substantial salad.

Afternoon snack

A healthy spiced seed mix

Chinese spiced seed mix
Snack on these moreish sunflower and pumpkin nibbles – a healthier choice.


Chilli beef with broccoli & oyster sauce
Marinate a cheaper cut like rump steak to tenderise the meat then stir-fry with vegetables and rich Chinese flavours.

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

This article was last updated on 20 February 2018.

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 English Institute of Sport and England Football. He works with elite and recreational athletes at his Harley Street practice, The Centre for Health & Human Performance:

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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