Weeks leading up to the Marathon
-Water water water! Stay hydrated!
-Good balance of protein, complex carbohydrates (building up glycogen), and fats
Immediate 2 days prior to the Marathon
-Start adding in more complex carbohydrates now
-Not too much salt
Night before the Marathon
-Bland and balanced! Nothing acidy or spicy -- heartburn is a killer in a race! It is best to consume a simple protein, simple green vegetable (but not too much -- causes excess gas), and perhaps a baked potato. Even better are sweet potatoes!
-If you are used to eating before a run, eat a little more than usual, but more of the same things: complex carbs (especially important here -- no simple carbs!) and protein. Continue plenty of water. Coffee/tea/caffeine is OK, just drink more water.
During the Race
-Some water (not too much) at each water stop
-UCAN (better than gels or Gatorade)
-If you are going to use gels, replenish your stores of sugars every 45 minutes with gels like Gu, sports beans, etc., to the tune of 100 calories. Do not overdo it, or you will spike your blood sugar and hence spike your insulin, which will throw off your balance and leave you depleted.
-If you are going to use Gatorade and the like, only do so in the final miles of the race, when you really need the sugar boost.
After the Race
-Water water water!
-Electrolytes -- now is the time for Gatorade!
-Protein! Your body will need a lot of it to recover faster
-Again, water water water! The majority of the weird "off" after-marathon feeling is because of dehydration, even if you don't think you're dehydrated.
-Indulge, but don't over-indulge! Give yourself that day and the next day to be "bad," but after that, get back to the healthy ways that got you here in the first place.
Good complex carbohydrates:
-potatoes, yams, beans, peas, whole grain bread, bananas, whole grain pastas, whole grain cereals, whole grain bagels, honey (as opposed to sugar), brown rice, corn, carrots, other root vegetables
-low fat milk, beans, lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, cottage cheese, soy, tofu, tempeh, seitan, some vegetarian “meats” (Quorn brand is best brand because of unique protein from mushrooms and highest protein-to-carb ratio)