I started “fueling for the marathon” a few days before race day. For the most part, I tried not to change my diet too much from what I had been eating throughout the training cycle, but I did make a few tweaks that I want to remember for next time. This post is probably going to be boring to anyone reading but me. However, I think it’s worth putting out there as I know I scoured the internet like a crazy person trying to see some examples of what to eat. I’m not a registered dietician or a nutritionist (although I plan to change that some day!), so keep in mind that a lot of this was trial and error. I can’t wait until I look back on this once I am more educated on the subject matter. Will I cringe, or will I nod my head in satisfaction? Time will tell.
1 week out – “No Junk”
One week out from the race, Rejean says to “eat clean, no junk”. Obviously, this is personal and differs from person to person. My interpretation was to limit chocolate, candy, baked goods, and some high fat foods like butter and cheese. I got through the week eating lots of bananas, apples, and eventually a “naturally sweetened” rice pudding which was a good idea in theory, but not really something I’d rush to make again. In retrospect, I think it’s a bit extreme to cut all “junk” out, but I told myself that I could do anything for one week, especially if it would help me out on race day.
Monday to Wednesday
I didn’t really change much except loaded up on veggies (mostly through generous portions of salad) and tried to eat a bit more red meat since I would be cutting down on these things later on in the week. I maybe had one extra piece of bread or a slightly larger portion of pasta or rice. Nothing too crazy, though.
When we arrived in Manchester on Wednesday, we went to the grocery store and picked up some vegetables to cook (easier to digest than raw salad), bread, eggs, and ground beef. That night, Mike cooked a beef and tomato sauce with zucchini, broccoli, and red peppers. I had that with white rice.
I had some of the leftover meat sauce with toast for lunch. For dinner, we had scrambled eggs and toast with a little bit of sauteed kale and mushrooms. I was starting to get sick of bread. I also made a rice pudding that was flavoured with ginger and sweetened with green apple and banana. I ate it and tried to imagine it was a deliciously creamy dessert. My taste buds were not fooled.
I had various pieces of bread for lunch (a little bit of a sesame bagel, sourdough bread, a tomato flavoured white loaf… we had several loaves going at the same time for variety) with a little bit of sauteed kale and mushrooms. I also ate a lot of peanut butter and banana as my protein and “treat” (much more enjoyable than my rice pudding). I ended up feeling kind of hungry throughout the day, so I bought some crackers and snacked on those in between meals. For dinner, I had a few more pieces of bread (two pieces of sourdough, one tomato bread) and we ate it with a tofu/mushroom/kale/eggplant mixture that I cooked up with soy sauce. I drank 1 litre of sports drink (Lucozade).
I was really sick of eating bread at this point. I know you can eat other simple carbs, but since we were travelling, our resources were limited and it was one of the easiest things to buy in terms of budget and shelf-life. So, for lunch, I had several pieces of bread with a small amount of the kale/mushroom mix and scrambled eggs (about 1 egg’s worth).
I snacked on a lot of crackers and bread with peanut butter and banana that day! Mike and I also shared a scone at the Manchester stadium when I went to pick up my bib. For dinner, I had about 1-1.5 cups of white rice that I seasoned with lime juice and lots of fresh cilantro with plain tomato pasta sauce and a little bit of the tofu/kale/mushroom mix. It was plain and boring but also a really welcome change from all the bread I had been eating. Prior to this, I always thought carbloading was the ultimate dream, but man, I could not wait to add more variety back into my diet after the race! I drank 1 litre of sports drink.
I rolled out of bed at 5am to have breakfast. I had my usual bowl of cereal (a mix of cornflakes, puffed wheat, and plain muesli) with oat milk. After I finished eating, I re-read Rejean’s nutrition guide for race morning and decided that I should have more carbs. I ate another small bowl of cereal (I could not fathom eating any more bread!) and then promptly fell asleep on the couch.
I drank half a litre of sports drink and continued sipping that until about 20 minutes before the race started. Then I ate 4 PowerBar Shots. I would have taken a gel as well, but I just didn’t have enough. I had exactly six and I planned to take all of them during the race.
I took 6 Salted Caramel GU gels, spaced out according to where the water stations were. I would have preferred to space them out a little more evenly, but I worked with what the race gave me. In the end, I took more gels in the first half compared to the second, and I wonder if I should purposely use the same strategy in future marathons.
In total, I consumed about 153.33g of carbs (21.33g before the race with the Chews, and 22g x 6 gels during the race). I took them down with sips NOT gulps of water. I felt I could do this because it wasn’t too hot and I wasn’t sweating a lot while I was out there. I’m sure this would have been different if it were warmer.
And that’s that!