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  • Writer's pictureJay Druba

Race Nutrition Preparation for the Carmel Marathon

This article was provided by Jackie Dikos of Nutrition Success. Jackie is a registered dietitian and helps athletes of all abilities accomplish their goals through nutrition advice and coaching. You can learn more by visiting the Nutrition Success website at

 Train Your Gut


Just as the body learns to adapt to training, the gut can adapt to fueling.  Practice race day fueling during longs runs in training.  Plan routes that include fluids and test products such as various gels and electrolyte products to determine the right fit for you. This supports training the gut and building confidence in a solid race day plan!


Glycogen for Endurance


Endurance performance requires glycogen as the main energy source and is stored when we consume carbohydrates.  A simple strategy to support glycogen stores at mealtime leading up to the race is to swap ingredients rich in fat (and very low/no carbohydrates) for ingredients rich in carbohydrates.


For example, add extra rice to a burrito instead of a big scoop of guacamole at lunch the day before the race.


Fluids and Electrolytes


Factors like weather conditions, exercise duration, exercise intensity, and athlete training status all influence fluid and electrolyte needs. Don’t forget a few basic beginner tips.


·       Include electrolytes with the pre-run meal.  This can be achieved through electrolyte beverages as well as adding a pinch of salt to oatmeal or orange juice.

·       Aim for light colored urine as a sign of healthy hydration prior to race start. 

·       Test what one ounce of water feels like in your mouth.  This can be a great reference as to how many ounces are consumed at aid stations and a useful distraction during the race.  If the goal is to drink 4 ounces at each aid station, count off swallows based on how one ounce feels in your mouth.


Race Fueling 101


Take performance gels, blocks, and chews with water or electrolyte-only products.  A nice way to apply this is to take a gel about 100-200 meters before the next aid station.  This allows ample opportunity to consume the gel and soon follow it with water. 


Avoid taking sports drink that contains carbohydrates at the same time as performance gels, blocks, and chews to reduce risk of gastrointestinal upset.  Take a gel with water or an electrolyte-only product.  Then wait 10-15 minutes before consuming sports drink.


Post-Race Recovery


Refuel with carbohydrates and a source of protein soon after the race to support a smooth and swift recovery.  Chocolate milk has a reputation as a recovery drink because it contains a nice blend of carbohydrates paired with protein and beneficial electrolytes.


Jackie Dikos, RD, CSSD, CLT

Sports Dietitian, 2 x Olympic Trials Marathon Competitor, & Book Author of Finish Line Fueling







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