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How do I prepare for a marathon?
Running Training Tips

The Top 5 Things to Know Before Running a Marathon

The marathon is like nothing else. 26.2 miles. It pushes you to places you didn’t think possible and it might take you all over the world in the quest to run more of them. It’s an amazing distance that millions of people venture to run each year.

What are some of the top things to know both more generally as you venture into training and before race day?

1. Test out your fueling strategy on a long run. Sometimes, we may be ok with a specific type of fuel fo 1 or 2 hours, but heading into that 3rd, 4th, and 5th hour, we may see flavor fatigue set in. Ensure you test out your strategy with some variety sprinkled in so that you feel great throughout and don’t have any issues consuming your nutrition (fuel and hydration)!

2. Know what will be on course and try it out ahead of time. You never know what may happen out there, be sure you try the on course fuel and hydration, even if that’s not what you will be using, for that just in case scenario. If you know you tolerate it, you can pick some up in the event you need it.

3. Don’t try anything new in the 24-48 hours before your race. With regard to food/beverage, make it as easy as possible for your body! Consume foods and drinks that you know you tolerate, focusing on lower fiber foods and cooked veggies instead of raw in the 1-2 days before the race so that your body can take them in, digest them, and have a full tank without any issues.

Remember: typically, you’ll be consuming more carbohydrates (and energy overall) in these two days leading up to your race than you usually do so we want to ensure your body doesn’t have any issues with this. White rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes are all great options to include in this regard! Once the race is over, soak it all in, and within a few days, go back to your daily nutrition as usual.

4. Find out what you can bring along with you. There will likely be a list of prohibited items. Do they allow hydration belts and vests? What about bottles? Is there a limit on how much fluid you can bring? These are all vital pieces of information you want to know ahead of race day! From there, you can shift your nutrition strategy depending on what they allow and what you can carry.

5. Prepare for the weather. Is your marathon in hot or humid conditions, or cold conditions? Does it tend to rain? The weather can play a role in how your day will turn out, but also in how much nutrition you’ll need to take with you to sustain your efforts. Make sure you take this into consideration too!

  • Hot and/or humid: Needs go up! Take one or two extra fueling options with you as well as some additional hydration (fluids, if applicable, and electrolyte mix or salt chews/tablets). Stop at the hydration stations more frequently along the course to ensure you’re hitting your needs and feeling your best.
  • Cold: Surprise, needs go up when it’s freezing cold, too! In very cold conditions, it can be a bit more complex as it can be hard to want to fuel or take in fluids. However, as we note, needs go up in these conditions too. You want to ensure that you’ve not only trained in these conditions, of course, but that you continue to remind yourself to eat and drink as you go along. If need be and it’s something you are able to have, some more salty/savory options like broth can be helpful to achieve hydration needs. Then, in between you can take in gels or chews to meet carbohydrate needs.

Have a question about your specific nutrition strategy in training as well as on race day? Send The Feed Coaching Team an email at coaching@thefeed.com and we can help get you set up and ready to go for that big day!

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The Feed. / Thursday, September 28, 2023