From D-4 days to the night before:
You will have begun to taper already and therefore spending less energy than in the previous weeks of training. This means your energy reserves will already be starting to build up. To help the process, focus on meals with plenty of carbs; go for pasta, rice or potatoes (or whatever your preferred carb source is).
The night before, avoid fats and too much protein. Drink fluids, avoid alcohol and (reduce) caffeine.
Above all, aim to get a few good night’s rest!
Race day breakfast:
Carbs continued! Foods like bagels and porridge provide sustenance and bananas are easy to digest. Coffee is okay if you are used to it. Caffeine has some great benefits; from stimulating the brain to reducing perceived effort (handy for something like a marathon!).
Before the race:
Often a few hours can go by between breakfast and the start of the race, meaning energy levels are starting to drain. We suggest taking a small carb rich snack with you for 15 to 30 minutes before the race. An XACT Energy bar is very portable and easy to eat, ideal for the trip to the start.
During the race:
Eat a bar or energy gel containing 25 grams of carbohydrates every 30-45 minutes. This is to say that your fueling strategy is about the frequency that you are going to consume energy as opposed to at what kilometre. An XACT Energy bar is exactly 25 grams of carbs and is a tasty alternative to energy gels.
|Number of bars||Every 30 minutes||Every 45 minutes|
|1st bar||30’ before the race||30’ before the race|
|2nd bar||30 minutes||45 minutes|
|3rd bar||1 hour||1 hour 30 mins|
|4th bar||1 hour 30 mins||2 hours 15 minutes|
|5th bar||2 hours||3 hours|
|6th bar||2 hours 30 minutes||3 hours 45 minutes|
|7th bar||3 hours||4 hours 30 minutes|
|8th bar||3 hours 30 minutes||5 hours 15 minutes|
|9th bar||4 hours||6 hours|
Fuel and fluids along the race:
There are water and XACT electrolyte stations every 4-5 kilometres along the course, starting from the 9th kilometre. If it is a warm day, strive to drink electrolytes regularly to maintain your blood to electrolyte balance.
There are three fueling stations along the course, stocked with XACT Energy bite. They are at 28.2 kms, 32.2 kms and 36.2 kms. So great for those later stages of the race when your legs are tired. However, this means you will need to be autonomous for the first 28 kilometres. So think how long it will take you to get to kilometre 28 and use the table above to calculate your energy bar needs until that point. You may still need an extra bar or two past then as well.
After your race:
Congratulations for finishing your race! Start your recovery process, by drinking 500 – 1000 ml of fluids, ideally with electrolytes and some carbohydrates in, and by eating a snack with a mix of carbohydrates and protein (4 to 1 ratio is approximately the right proportion but do not worry too much about being exact). Once you have had both of these your body will thank you and you will be ready for that well deserved post race beer!