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 need 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.


Following increased interest from runners on the matter of vegan sports nutrition, we have put together a plan for a week's worth of meals leading up to the marathon which is entirely plant-based. A vegan diet needs careful planning to ensure that protein needs are met during training to support the growth and repair of muscles. Vegans also need to ensure that they're getting enough of the key micronutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D and iodine.

While these recipes provide a good framework, there will also be times where an extra serving of higher-protein foods (such as pulses, grains, nuts and seeds) can be added to meals to increase the overall daily intake. Most plant-based foods don’t contain all nine of the essential amino acid 'building blocks' required to make them a 'complete protein', but this can be achieved through variety and different meal combinations.

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.

More like this

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.

This is day four of our week-long vegan marathon meal plan. Below, you'll find suggestions 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.

Thursday training:


Thursday nutrition:

Carbohydrate intake remains raised on Thursday in preparation for carb-loading beginning on Friday. The focus is on complete, high-quality sources of protein at each main meal.

Three-grain porridge


This healthy breakfast, made from toasted oatmeal, spelt and barley, is super simple to make and can be kept for up to six months.

Morning snack
Strawberry smoothie

Strawberry smoothie with a wooden chopping board, colander and strawberries in the background

Get your fruit fix with our strawberry smoothie made with banana and orange juice.

Miso roasted tofu with sweet potato

Miso roasted tofu with sweet potato in a white bowl with a red and white napkin in the background

Mix up your midweek meals with this vegan roasted tofu and sweet potato bowl with green beans.

Afternoon snack
Rainbow fruit skewers

Rainbow fruit skewers on a blue wooden board

This colourful, sweet snack is a great source of vitamin C.

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

sweet potato lentil spinach dahl in a light blue bowl with a fork

This veggie one-pot recipe counts as three of your five-a-day. It's iron-rich and low-fat, too.

Go back to the week-long vegan marathon meal plan.

Want more like this? Now try...

Not vegan? Try our basic, vegetarian and gluten-free marathon meal plans.

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

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 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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