Consume a meal 1-4 hours before your race. Ensure this meal is familiar and you have practiced it in training prior to prevent gastrointestinal issues during the race.

With 2-4hrs available pre-race, aim to include a main meal which includes a low-GI source of carbohydrate and moderate amount of protein.

1-2hrs available pre-race, aim to include a high-GI, carbohydrate rich snack that is low in fibre, fat and protein. If you have time for a main meal, you can also use this opportunity to top-up your fuel stores with an additional snack.

What about the night before? Enjoy a meal rich in carbs, lower in fibre that you have tried multiple times through training. Pasta, home made pizza, or a rice based dish are all winners


Your body can only store around 2000 calories (~8400kJ) of energy from carbohydrate. Once this is depleted, you will no longer be able to sustain the intensity you were performing at when fuelled by carbohydrate. Consume familiar sources of carbohydrate during the race (i.e. practiced in training) A good rule of thumb to go by is consuming a source of carbs (such as a gel or sports drink) every 30-40mins.

Its important to remember there is a big difference between fuelling to optimise performance, and fuelling because you need to. Sure, you might be able to run 21.1km without taking anything on board, but, will you run faster if you do? Most likely you will.


Nutrition plays an important role in recovery

As soon as possible following the race, consume a high-quality protein source to aid muscle recovery and a carbohydrate option to replace depleted carbohydrate stores.

Within 4hrs, consume a recovery meal that includes carbohydrate, protein, colour and healthy fats to support and enhance recovery.


You play the way you train - You must practice all nutrition strategies in training first, nothing new on race day.

Consume a main meal 2-4 hours before your race start time.

This allows time for your body to digest the food you've eaten so it's available in the bloodstream to be easily utilised during the first section of your run.

This meal should be high carbohydrate, moderate to low protein, and low in fat.

Examples could include: toast with vegemite or banana and honey, a fruit and yoghurt smoothie, porridge with banana and honey, or a light cereal.

Consider these factors when planning your hydration plan:
Weather and humidity levels
Available aid stations
Palatability of fluids over the duration of the race (i.e. sweet vs. savoury options)

Be organised! Don't rely on the aid stations for your fuelling and hydration needs, as these alone will be unlikely to meet your requirements for the duration of the race. Be organised with your own snacks and fluids and plan where you will have these available on the course from your support team.

Eat to the clock. You might get distracted and your appetite is likely to be very poor during the race, but fuelling is still important to help keep you on the course. Set timers on your watch as reminders of when to take on board some food and fluids rather than relying on hunger cues.

By Chloe McLeod, Advanced Sports Dietitian, Director and Principal Dietitian at Verde Nutrition Co

Get Race Ready!