Marathon Training Series - Nutrition

Marathon Training Series - Nutrition

Runderwear Marathon Training Series

Each week in the lead up to The London Marathon we'll be focusing on a different topic relevant to marathon training, from training plans to nutrition and running in the heat. So you'll have all the marathon insider knowledge in one place - your go to training hub!


Here’s a link to previous blogs you may have missed:

  1. Introduction – meet the runners
  2. Marathon training plans
  3. Running in the heat
  4. Routine
  5. Nutrition



When it comes to running a marathon, getting your nutrition right really can make or break your race! As an ultra-marathon runner and award-winning nutritionist, no one understands this better than Barbara Cox, so we asked Barbara for her top tips and recommendations on running nutrition.

Barbara's top tips on running nutrition:

1. Hydration

It might seem obvious, but so many people get this wrong. On average you need between 1.5 and 2 litres of water a day, regardless of whether you’re running or not. Barbara recommends that on top of this you drink an additional 500ml to 1 litre of water for every hour of running. There are of course other factors to consider, such as the weather and your personal size/weight but this is a good rule of thumb to go by.

2. Good quality carbohydrates

Carbs give us energy, so don’t be afraid of them! But Barbara reminds us there are good carbs and bad carbs. Things like brown rice, sweet potato, oats and rye breads are great sources of carbs but Barbara recommends steering clear of things like white bread, because they can spike your blood sugar levels and give you energy fluctuations – which you really want to avoid during a marathon!

3. Protein

Barbara has given us a simple equation to work out how much protein you need a day on average – 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, so a 65 kilo person needs an average of 52 grams of protein a day. Protein builds muscle, aids muscle recovery and also speeds up the metabolism, so it’s crucial in a runners diet. Examples of great protein sources are beans, lentils, pulses, nuts and seeds, as well as good quality meat and fish.

4. Food variety

For a month meal plan, Barbara recommends trying to include 150 different ingredients, because the more variety of food you’re eating, the more variety of vitamins and minerals you’re taking on. A tip is to meal plan to avoid eating the same things and getting meal fatigue – which is often when the junk food starts creeping in.

5. Focus on fresh

Barbara suggests that you get creative in the kitchen and cook from scratch where you can, rather than reaching for ready prepared meals. This means you can monitor the salt, sugar and artificial ingredients and gives you much more control over your diet.


7 amazing foods for everyone, but particularly runners (and why!):

  1. Bananas – packed with potassium, which is great for muscle recovery.
  2. Avocado – full of fibre, nutrients and healthy fats.
  3. Greens – loaded with magnesium, which really helps with muscle DOMS and recovery.
  4. Dates – great for a sweet tooth craving and providing an energy boost. They’re also full of potassium and magnesium, which helps with muscle recovery.
  5. Oranges – packed with vitamin C to keep our immune system high, they’re also great for collagen production, which is good for your bones and joints.
  6. Tart cherries – promotes the natural production of nitric oxide, which makes the arteries more flexible so the oxygen and nutrients can get around the body.
  7. Beetroot - beetroot shot before running is great for cleansing the liver and increasing athletic performance, again it produces the nitric oxide.


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Marathon Training Series - Creating a Routine
Marathon Training Series - Cross Training

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