Marathon race week is the most nerve-wracking time in a training cycle. The hay is in the barn, so to speak, but you know there are still small things you can do to make a difference come race day. A strategy for nutrition during the week leading up to the event is imperative when it comes to marathon performance, so leave no stone unturned and follow these top tips.
Since proper hydration can make or break a race, it is important to drink an adequate amount of fluids the entire week leading up to the marathon. In fact, research shows that when you rehydrate more than 100 percent your sweat loss, running times improve.
Since every runner's hydration needs are different, the International Marathon Medical Director's Association simply recommends drinking based on thirst. Particularly if you expect race day to be hot and humid, take in both water and a sports drink that includes electrolytes as the big day approaches.
Don't Make Any Drastic Dietary Changes
One of the cardinal rules of marathoning is don't try anything new the day of the race; the same is true for the preceding week. While you may want to increase how much water you drink and carbohydrates you eat to an extent, you have hopefully been practicing good nutrition all along. Even if your everyday nutrition is less than ideal, this isn't the time to make any big adjustments. By keeping to a fairly regular diet, you eliminate question marks regarding how your system will react to certain foods on race day.
Increase Carbohydrate Intake
As you near race day, you want to top off the glycogen stores in your muscles. To do this, most athletes simply need to bump up their intake of carbohydrates. Within a few days of the race, this means taking in around four grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. If you're already consuming this amount, stay the course. If you subscribe to a lower carbohydrate diet, now is the time to add them in.