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London Calling: Marathon nutrition and hydration #VLM2013

by Editor
Friday 12th April 2013

With race day fast approaching, Run247 get some pointers on nutrition and hydration from race sponsor Lucozade

Virgin London Marathon nutrition and hydration tips from Lucozade

Virgin London Marathon nutrition and hydration tips from Lucozade

Running a marathon will be the biggest physical challenge that many people ever take on. After the endless training, it is vital to get the correct nutrition and hydration strategy in the lead up to and on race day. A poor strategy can undo all the hard work and result in a disappointing performance.

As a London Marathon sponsor for 12 years, and with a wealth of experience in sports nutrition, the team at Lucozade Sport has been supporting both first time runners and experienced athletes alike, helping them to refine their nutrition strategy and getting them to the finish line.

The two key causes of fatigue during a marathon are dehydration and depletion of the body’s carbohydrate stores. To prepare, perform and recover optimally, it is important to ensure the supply of carbohydrate, fluid and electrolytes before and during, and protein after, exercise.


  • The aim should be to carb-load before race day and store more fuel for the big event
  • Stock up on carbs two to four days before your marathon. Increase the amount of carbs in your diet to 7-10 grams per kilo of body weight to maximise your muscles glycogen stores.


Virgin London Marathon nutrition and hydration tips from Lucozade

  • On Marathon day, eat a breakfast containing 1-4 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight, ideally 2-4 hours before starting
  • Try a few different meals and decide which one suits you best. And remember, don’t try anything new on race day
  • Make sure you begin the marathon hydrated. Slowly consume between 350 – 500ml, ideally four hours before the marathon, if possible
  • If your urine is still dark and concentrated (colours 3-6) two hours before exercise, sip a further 150ml – 300ml of fluid up until you run



  • 100 g whole grain muesli
  • 200 g semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 banana
  • 300 ml orange juice



Virgin London Marathon nutrition and hydration tips from Lucozade

  • Be familiar with your individual sweat rates and fluid needs (you can work this out by weighing yourself before and after a training session. The amount of weight lost is equivalent to the amount of fluid you need to replace. For example 0.5 kg = 500 mls).
  • As a guide, some runners might need to consume around 100-150ml of fluid every 15-20 minutes. Lighter, slower runners usually require less fluid than heavier, faster runners, so understand your individual needs.
  • Water won’t be enough during a marathon so drink a sports drink like Lucozade Sport to replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat as well as provide some carbohydrate for fuel.
  • Gels also provide a great source of carbohydrate during a marathon. The new Lucozade Sport Elite Dual Fuel System gels contain 30 g of carbohydrate in a glucose fructose blend.
  • Lucozade Sport will be available at miles 5, 10, 15, 19 and 23 and Lucozade Sport Elite Dual Fuel System gels can be picked up at miles 14 and 21


  • Eat a high carbohydrate meal and protein snack within 30 minutes of finishing
  • You’ll have lost fluids throughout the race so monitor your pee colour and continue to sip fluids every hour for a couple of hours post-race (as required).
  • You will have lost essential salts and minerals so consume Lucozade Sport and/or salted snack to help replace these

Virgin London Marathon nutrition and hydration tips from Lucozade


Check out LONDON CALLING tomorrow for Part 5:

London Calling


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