Pre-half marathon meal?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
23 replies 3.4K views


  • andygbandygb Forumite
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    It used to be quite common amongst distance runners to do a "carbohydrate bleed out" in the week leading up to the race.

    If you are running on a Saturday, then from the previous Sunday, through to the Wednesday of the race week, you should cut down on carbs. Your running should also taper down in distance and intensity. Then on the Thursday and Friday start eating serious carbs again, particularly the night before the race.
    I would then suggest simple, easily digestible food on the morning - good breakfast bars suited me, or maybe toast and jam.
  • Few slides of toast or a bowl of porridge should be fine - as per the above though don't try anything new that you haven't done before a long training run.

    Carbs the night before is well worth it.

    Half-marathon you won't need to worry too much about as long as you are not running on empty you should be fine.

    Take the first one steady!
    Thinking critically since 1996....
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    I'm feeling a bit daunted now - it's not that I've not done the training, I just want it to go well on the day!

    As it's my first, I don't have a concrete time I'm aiming for. If I could do it in 2hr10 or 2hr15 I'll be beaming with pride, but anything under 2 1/2 and I'll be happy.

    I reckon I just need to get around for my first one, I'll work on time for the next one (yes, I've already signed up for a second, before even completing the first - I must be mad!).
  • thor wrote: »
    when I did the Great North Run a few years ago I ate nothing at all.
    I did the same and felt absolutely fine. Everyone is different though, so I would not recommend this solely becasue it worked for me!
  • gleek1gleek1 Forumite
    116 Posts
    Maybe a bit late now, but I would say it is def worth trying a run at that time in the morning to see how you feel. I would def suggest pizza the night before - the of my long runs done with a pizza the night before and I can honestly say i think it is the perfect pre race meal - some carb easy to digest - veggies - the sauce and the toppings and proteins - cheese and any meats. I generally don't go for greasy ones though, that is my only caveat!!

    half a bagel and a banana usually works for me about 2-3 hours before the race, then probably a gel OR energy drink during the race. Whilst you will probably need some energy, don't take both the gel and energy drink in the same race and certainly don't wash down your gel with an energy drink - even if you are feeling that you have nothing in the tank - it will make you worse!!-I did that once when I was going through a real rough patch and it was AWFUL.

    You might find it worthwhile to check what nutrition you will be provided with at the race and have a couple of runs with the same energy drinks to see how they go. I cannot do lucozade sport which is provided a lot - it makes me vomit and my stomach go into cramps. I usually try to plant someone half way round with a powerade or just take a gel and some water.

    Don't try anything new, but jelly babies are usually pretty easy on the tummy - or haribo sours - not as chewy and effortful as the gummy bears!!

    Good luck!!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    Update. I had pasta the night before and then breakfast as normal on the morning (cereal and toast), then a banana a couple of hours before running. And I had a gel mid run (I always get hungry c. 10/12 k into a run, regardless of pre-race running).

    It went fine, no problems at all (well apart from the wind and rain).

    I completed in 2hours 5mins and was very pleased with this.

    Next goal 2 hours!

    Thanks for all the advice,

  • Alias_OmegaAlias_Omega Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Hi Domino...

    My procedure..

    No more food at 2hrs to go, take 1 gel 1hr before...take 1 gel 30mins before...take 1 get at the start..
  • Domino9 wrote: »
    I reckon I just need to get around for my first one, I'll work on time for the next one (yes, I've already signed up for a second, before even completing the first - I must be mad!).

    I've not done further than a half-marathon, but am doing an ultramarathon in July - come and do that!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    I've not done further than a half-marathon, but am doing an ultramarathon in July - come and do that!

    Not sure what that it, but is sounds mega hardcore and pretty horrific!

    beginning to think about a full marathon next year, just working up the confidence!

    I've 2 more halfs this year.

    Hope the ultra marathon goes well though - keep us posted!

  • IdiophreakIdiophreak Forumite
    12K Posts
    Just to echo the advice above (for future readers)...emphasis should be on carbs the couple of days before, not drinking alcohol, plenty of water....By breakfast time, the ship's sailed a bit in terms of energy, so it's just about sticking to routine then - I just have whatever I'd normally have for breakfast (wheatabix and barocca) and then have a couple of gels on the run.

    As with all aspects of training, if you're going to use gels, practice it first - and practice using them at high intensity, too...your body reacts to them very differently when you're pushing yourself.

    For a marathon, you have to really work at getting your nutrition nailed, but it's not really massively significant for a half - most people will perform pretty well just eating as normal.
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