Make your energy plan
It takes practice and experience to find out which energy supplements that works for you and your stomach so you know what to eat and drink in the days before, in the morning and during your marathon. Use your long runs during the last couple of months leading up to the race to practice your nutrition plan so you gain experience with:
- What breakfast works for you
- When to have your breakfast
- Your morning toilet routines
- How to take in enough fluids especially the day before a run
- Which energy supplements you prefer during a run
- How to carry and consume your supplements while running in your marathon pace
The goal is to find the best and easiest way for you to take in and digest the required amount of energy, and the only way to figure out what works for you is by testing, experimenting and adjusting.
Your energy intake
Carbohydrates are your primary source of energy during a marathon. 3-4 days before your marathon you should start taking in more fluids and increasing the share of carbohydrates in your diet while cutting protein and fat.
About 80 pct. of your pre-race energy intake in the days before should consist of carbohydrates.
Try and sneak in extra carbohydrates in your meals but without exchanging the types of food you normally eat. Simply just eat more of the carbohydrates you already eat. The carbohydrates can easily come from rice, pasta, fruit or bread.
On race day, it is important that you get a carbohydrate-based breakfast that works for you.
Don’t eat or drink anything you have not tried before running.
- Oatmeal with fruit and sugar
- Oatmeal with raisins, banana and syrup
- Bun with jam or honye + fruit
- Drink a 1-1.5 liter of water
- A cup of coffee is a good idea so you can go to the toilet before the start.
As a rule of thumb, you can absorb an average of up to 60 grams of sugar (glucose) and 1 liter of fluid per hour. This corresponds to a maximum of 3 gels or bananas and 3-4 cups of water per hour. When it’s hot, the body can absorb less sugar.
Energy intake suggestion:
- A bar, banana or a gel before the start
- Take the first gel after about 30 minutes of running
- Then take 2 gels per hour
- Always drink water at each refreshment zone.
Most people use energy gels during a marathon as they are easy to carry, consume and digest. High5 is the official energy sponsor at the Copenhagen Marathon and their products will be available at the refreshment zones on the course. You can therefore benefit from practicing with High5 energy during your training.
Some either do not like gels or get an upset stomach from them and in this case bars, jelly candies, or energy drink are excellent substitutes or supplements. They take longer for your body to digest and absorb rather than gels, but unless you are running at a very high intensity, this might work just fine.