Eat Right for the Marathon

HomeHydrationEat Right for the Marathon

Category: Hydration, Nutrition, Special occasion, Sports


October 31, 2013


As the ING New York City Marathon is happening soon, some of you may be interested in knowing what to eat before, during and after the race in order to stay fueled, energized and hydrated. Remember that eating the right foods at the right time can help you be a better athlete and optimize your performance. Plan your meals accordingly and try to eat whole foods when you can! The following tips might be helpful before, during and after your race!

Pre-Marathon: Fuel should mainly be easy to digest carbohydrates to maximize muscle carbohydrate stores and should be consumed 1-2 hours prior to the race.

Food Ideas for Fast Energy:
Cereal with milk
Toast with Jam
Graham Crackers
Orange Juice
Pudding/Rice Pudding

During the Marathon: A sports drink containing carbohydrates can be used to replenish muscle stores and give an energy boost! Drink 2-3 cups of fluid every hour during workout. Avoid losing more than 1-2% of your body weight during practice and the race.

Ideas to Refuel:
Other Sports Drinks that contain sodium and potassium

Post-Marathon: Eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and moderate in both protein and fat within 2 hours after marathon for optimal recovery

Food Ideas for Strong Recovery:
Vegetable omelet & toast
Turkey sandwich
Pasta & grilled chicken
PBJ sandwich
Yogurt & Trail mix
Low-fat Chocolate Milk

Proper hydration starts hours before you warm-up, occurs during the race and ends hours after you cool-down

Hydration Tips:

Showing up to the race dehydrated can impair your performance! Drink 5-7ml/kg 4 hours before your the race. For example, if you weigh 60kg, drink 300-420 ml of fluid.

During Marathon: Again, drink 2-3 cups of fluid every hour you are running. Avoid losing more more than 1-2% of your body weight.
Tip: Take frequent breaks during practice.

Post-Marathon: For optimal recovery, drink about 6 cups of fluid for every kg of body weight lost.
Tip: Eat foods with sodium to help retain the fluid you drink, and choose foods that have high water content like fruit, vegetables, or yogurt.


Kollman, G., Rizzo, N and So, Y. Nutrition for Optimal Athletic Performance. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 2013.
Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation. “2013 ING NYC Marathon.” 20 Oct 2013. Available at: