What to eat the week before the marathon

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.

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By this stage of the week, you should be upping the protein in your meals and snacks. Discover what to eat during the rest of the week with our marathon meal plan.

As a general rule, what you eat should be different depending on the training demands for that day – this is an easy training days so your meals can be lighter.

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.

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.

Wednesday training:

20 minutes easy run

Wednesday nutrition:

Protein-rich foods at each meal are the priority for today with a light training session. Carbohydrates are lower today before increasing tomorrow, leading into the race. Try out some new meal options with a range of fruits and vegetables to provide micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) for the regeneration of muscles. Snacks are included as optional depending on your preferences.

Breakfast

Healthy porridge bowl

Healthy porridge bowl topped with fresh and dried fruit

Start the day the right way with a nutrient-rich, oaty breakfast. This is full of stomach-friendly fibre – great for digestion.

Morning snack

Protein balls

Protein balls on a blue plate

Make tasty protein balls using oats, protein powder, flaxseed and cinnamon to enjoy pre or post-exercise and replenish your protein stores.

Lunch

Turkey & coriander burgers with guacamole

Turkey & coriander burgers with guacamole

These healthy burgers are full of vitamin C and use low-fat turkey flavoured with herbs and topped with spicy avocado.

Afternoon snack

Rainbow fruit skewers

Rainbow fruit skewers

This colourful mix of fruit adds a hit of natural sweetness to your day.

Dinner

Salmon salad with sesame dressing

Salmon salad

Get three of your 5-a-day, plus healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, folate and fibre in this quick and easy midweek salad.

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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