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.


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 day, so your meals can be lighter.

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.

Wednesday training:

20-minute 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 up to the race. Try 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 too, but optional, depending on your preferences.


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.


Turkey & coriander burgers with guacamole

Turkey & coriander burgers with guacamole

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

Afternoon snack

Pear & peanut crunch

Pear & peanut crunch

Fancy something sweet and wholesome? Liven up crispbreads with fresh pear and peanut butter to make this moreish snack.


Salmon salad with sesame dressing

Salmon salad

Get three of your five-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.


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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