In the lead up to the big day, what you eat the day before and the day of the race can greatly affect your performance. Fueling your body with the right foods is just as important as wearing the right footwear and can play a key role in optimizing your performance.

Carbo Loading

Your meals the day before the race should consist mainly of complex carbohydrates, although if you wish, you can add some protein and fat to your diet. The carbohydrates, however, are what will be providing your energy for the run. For breakfast the day before, try something like a bagel or cereal with fruit. Lunch and supper can be pasta, with a bit of meat for protein.

During your training period, try experimenting with various sizes of meals, all with complex carbohydrates, to see how you react with different amounts of food in your stomach. It’s best to establish a routine prior to the race day as any new changes introduced can lead to unexpected effects.

Morning Meal

You might be experiencing some last minute jitters prior to your race and feel like you’re too nervous to eat on the morning of the race. However, the food you consume before you start can play a very important role that day. A bagel or banana are both good choices, as they contain plenty of carbohydrates but are still light. Energy bars and oatmeal are also good options as both are high in carbohydrates and offer a steady release of energy.

Fluids

It goes without saying that hydration, both before and during the marathon, is extremely important. Start increasing your fluid intake gradually as you are training, and spend the day before the race increasing your fluid intake even more. Sip on liquids all day long. This will keep you from becoming feeling overloaded due to the excessive amount of liquid sitting in your stomach. For the morning of the race, drink something with your breakfast (a small glass of milk or even a cup of coffee), and start hydrating as you dress and head out to the event location.

You’ve spent months training for your event so don’t get sidelined at the last minute by not having the right fuel to get you through race day. What you eat is also a big part of your training preparation and with the right foods, you’ll have the necessary energy to finish the race.

Sources:

http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html

http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/photos/the-11-best-proteins-for-runners_19291

http://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/the-pre-race-meal?page=2