Your Marathon Taper Week Nutrition Plan

Marathon Morning

It's finally here. Make sure to have a plan in place before you jump out of bed, as it will greatly reduce stress and build up your confidence. Before your race, you've got a balancing act to perform. Your goal is to feel energized and well-fueled, but still light and nimble.

More: How to Fuel for a Marathon

Most athletes should consume about 100 grams of non-bulky, low-fiber carbs the morning of a big race. A good option is a smoothie. Because it's liquefied, this means faster, more efficient digestion, absorption and metabolism. In fact, you can drink your smoothie just two hours out and skip the 4 a.m. breakfast wake-up call. Here's an example of a balanced, easy-to-digest smoothie for race morning:

  • 1 banana (30 grams carbs)
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice (23 grams carbs)
  • 1/2 cup berries (10 grams carbs)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (15 grams carbs)
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Water/ice for desired consistency

This smoothie contains 75 to 80 grams of carbs and about 450 calories.

More: "Blueberry Pie" Smoothie Recipe

If you'd like to use beetroot juice, drink 500 milliliters (16 ounces) or the equivalent two hours before the race. Make sure to hydrate up until 60 minutes before your race.

Then, an hour or so out, sip any of your favorite sports or electrolyte drinks—until 30 minutes out—but don't overload your bladder. Make sure you give yourself a chance to empty it before running.

Lastly, get a jumpstart on your during-race nutrition and consume a quick-acting, easy-to-digest carb source just 15 minutes before the gun goes off. These carbs should be similar to what you'd eat while running: gels, small bars, honey or two dried dates for the remaining 20 to 25 grams of carbs. It will take 10 to 15 minutes for these to hit your blood stream, just in time for a great start to your race.

Now, run, run, run—and stick to your during-race fuel plan.

More: The New Rules of Marathon Nutrition

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About the Author

Kelli Jennings

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC. Kelli helps athletes reach their weight goals and build strength, endurance and stamina. She teaches clients to eat for reduced inflammation, the best recovery and ongoing fueling needs as they push themselves to new levels. Like Kelli on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC. Kelli helps athletes reach their weight goals and build strength, endurance and stamina. She teaches clients to eat for reduced inflammation, the best recovery and ongoing fueling needs as they push themselves to new levels. Like Kelli on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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