Why is a marathon nutrition plan so important?
When you are participating in a marathon more than two thirds of your energy expenditure comes from carbohydrates. A good way to understand how your body burns energy is to look at your carbohydrate store as a fuel tank. When you start to physically exert yourself the carbohydrate fuel tank starts to empty; as your carbohydrate levels deplete so does your energy and in terms of performance you will notice this when you're struggling to maintain a good pace.
By following a good nutrition plan you can ensure you can fuel up appropriately and have optimum carbohydrate levels during your marathon run.
High5 Marathon Nutrition Plan
Race day breakfast
Breakfast should be light and high in carbs. Cereals, toast and porridge are good options. Drink 500ml of EnergySource for additional carbs and to stay well hydrated. Take an EnergyBar with you to eat on the way to your race.
During your run
Take one EnergyGel Plus sachet every 30 minutes. Wait until 30 minutes from the start of your race before taking your first sachet. If you are on-course for a long time, only use EnergyGel Plus (with caffeine) for the first 4 1/2 hours of running, then switch to standard EnergyGel (without caffeine) for the remainder of your run. Use a Gel Belt to carry your gels.
Experienced Runners: If you get your nutrition right, you will give yourself the best chance of getting that all-important new PB. 15 minutes before the race begins, take two EnergyGel Plus and drink 200-300ml water or ZERO.
During your run
Take one gel sachet every 20 minutes during your run (3 per hour). Wait until 20 minutes into your race before taking your first sachet. Depending on bodyweight, there is amaximum number of EnergyGel Plus sachets you can take. Any additional gels you consume should be standard EnergyGel (without caffeine):
50kg: 5 EnergyGel Plus during + 2 before
60kg: 7 EnergyGel Plus during + 2 before
70kg: 8 EnergyGel Plus during + 2 before
80kg: 9 EnergyGel Plus during + 2 before
90kg: 10 EnergyGel Plus during + 2 before
If you find that 3 gels an hour is too much, try and consume as many gels as you comfortably can. Practicing using gel during longer training runs makes it easier to use on race day. You can use IsoGel instead of EnergyGel depending on personal preference – they perform the same function.
At the finish
Drink 400ml of Protein Recovery as soon as you finish. Drink another 400ml one hour later and eat a balanced meal as soon as possible.
Fluids Your fluid needs will depend on how warm the weather is on race day and how much you sweat. Try to drink water or the on-course drink regularly. If you use the on-course drink, take care not to consume too much additional carbohydrate from that drink or you will need to adjust your gel intake. In very hot conditions you may need additional electrolytes. Individual ZERO tabs can be wrapped in Cling Film and carried on your run. Simply put the tab into the on-course water to make a refreshing electrolyte drink. ZERO does not contain carbohydrate.
Caffeine Note If you have any medical condition including high blood pressure, if you are pregnant, breast feeding or under 18 years of age, do not use caffeine If you are sensitive to caffeine and suffer any side effect, such as a higher than expected heart rate, discontinue use immediately. If you do not wish to use caffeine for any reason, simply follow our marathon nutrition guidelines using gel without caffeine.