Health and Dietary Advice for Marathon Runners

Marathon runners must concentrate on their food whether they wish to improve their running or simply keep up their present regimen. Food provides energy for all runners. The sorts of foods can greatly impact your activity levels and the success you like to eat. They can also aid in lowering your risk of experiencing gastrointestinal problems in the middle of a run. Knowing the correct meals to consume — and when to eat them — is essential to achieving and looking your best, whether you’re a dedicated marathon runner or enjoy a quick jog around the neighborhood. The optimum food for athletes and how food might improve performance are covered in detail in this article.

Energy is something marathon runners need in abundance when running, but for beginner runners, understanding what and when to take can be a bit of a mystery. Runners need appropriate carbs in their diet to maintain energy and satisfaction. Food choices are highly subjective. As with runners, there is no universally beneficial diet. Some dietary adjustments may be in order for someone just to get started on a running program. They can prioritize getting enough carbs, fueling themselves before and after training, and eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. What a person needs to consume in terms of calories will change based on their body weight, height, and daily activity level. Runners who want to improve their performance and recovery should know that doing so requires a higher caloric intake.

What are the best foods for marathon runners?

In the end, there are factors outside training that contribute to a successful race. What you feed into your system is just as important as what you put into it when trying to boost the speed and athletic ability of marathon runners. Your marathon performance can be greatly improved by eating the correct foods at the correct time. To top it all off, you’ll be less vulnerable to harm.

To ensure that your body receives all the nutrients it needs during the following several hours, it is recommended that you consume foods that are low in glycemic index, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Pre-run fuel options include fruit-topped porridge, a chicken sandwich, fruit, or a bagel with peanut butter. When you finish a marathon, your muscles usually start to break down. Therefore, you should increase your protein consumption and drink plenty of water. In order to repair the cellular damage incurred during exercise, the diet consumed should be high in antioxidants.

Following are the best foods for marathon runners:


You will not be disappointed with a banana as a highly energetic enhancer for your afternoon run. The potassium content of this fruit is likewise rather high (about 400 mg). When running long distances or in hot weather, you lose a lot of minerals through sweat. In addition to lowering hypertension, potassium (and other minerals including Na, mg, and chloride) makes up for this loss. You might have noticed that tennis players regularly eat bananas when they have a break between sets. Bananas are renowned for being one of the most energizing foods due to their high carbohydrate content. Strength and endurance can be improved by eating a banana at breakfast and again in the middle of a workout. Bananas do good to marathon runners.


If you plan on going for a run after breakfast, oatmeal is a great choice. It’s a great source of fiber and carbohydrates (approximately 25 g in one serving). Also, the glycemic index of oats is quite low. So, they raise your blood sugar levels gradually, supply you with energy gradually, and help you feel full for longer. Are you aware that carbs should make up around half of an adult’s daily calorie intake? Oats, with their high carb and fiber content, are another fantastic choice for breakfast. The morning run is given the ideal boost thanks to the high carbohydrate content. Furthermore, oats are ideal for diabetics and people who are watching their blood sugar levels.

Flax seeds

This is a superfood, and it may be used in a variety of ways. Their high proportion of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids increases their worth. Why? Omega-3s are especially helpful for hard-training athletes because they reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Peanut Butter

This is natural peanut butter, unadulterated by fillers like sugar, salt, or oil. Vitamin E, one of the most potent antioxidant vitamins, may be found in abundance in this food. Peanuts are not low in calories since they have a high-fat content, but the good news is that most of that fat is healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. A marathon runner blood cholesterol level can be lowered by using these. In addition, they help you recover faster after a run, avoid injuries, and boost your immune system. A runner’s diet should include plenty of protein-rich foods, and peanut butter is a great option because of its many health benefits, including its ability to promote muscle growth. The combination of peanut butter and banana slices on whole wheat toast is heavenly. You may also eat it as a snack with some apple slices.


Since it is rich in vitamin C, this leafy vegetable is a great fuel for runners. Have you ever wondered why? Vitamin C has been found to lessen or prevent muscular soreness following strenuous exercise. As an added bonus, broccoli is rich in bone-healthy nutrients including iron, folic acid, and vitamin K. Combining broccoli with tofu, fish, or lean meat is a delicious idea.


The potent chemical gingerol found in ginger is responsible for the spice it provides. Muscle discomfort can be lessened by working out an hour before consuming 60mg of ginger extract or a small quantity of ginger oil (equivalent to 2g of crushed ginger).


Carbohydrates are essential for long-distance running since they serve as the body’s primary source of energy. Dietary carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose, the sugar form, after consumption. Humans rely heavily on glucose as a source of energy. Because it is essential in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, the cellular currency that stores and releases energy (ATP).

Glucose can be transported to muscle cells by the body as an immediate source of energy during activity. All the extra glucose in your blood is stored as glycogen in your liver and muscle cells. At the outset of a run, glucose is extracted from the blood and used to fuel the muscles. When blood sugar levels drop, the body performs a process called glycogenolysis to re-create glucose from glycogen. The highest rate at which your body can utilize oxygen during exercise is measured as your VO2max, and it rises in response to more strenuous physical activity.

Because of this, less oxygen can be used in the generation of electricity. When oxygen is unavailable, the body converts to anaerobic (without oxygen) energy generation, which uses carbohydrates for fuel. Shorter distance runs and sprints, which increase exercise intensity, cause the body to rely mostly on carbs for sustenance.

Most people will have sufficient levels of glucose and glycogen in their blood and muscles to fuel a sprint. In order to sustain itself during longer, lower-intensity runs, the body increasingly taps fat stores as a source of fuel. This could happen, for instance, when running further than 10 kilometers (6 miles). Additionally, most long-distance runners will require replenishment of simple sugars to continue their journey. It’s for this reason that many ultramarathon runners fuel up with sports drinks or energy gel.

Most runners should aim to get between 45 and 65 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate foods
Simple yogurt

Yogurt has an ideal ratio of carbs to proteins and vice versa, making it a complete source of fuel. This protein contains about 85% of the necessary amino acids, making it a good source of protein (which cannot be synthesized by the body and so must be gotten via meals). If taken soon after a run, it can help you recover more quickly and prevent muscle damage. The calcium in it is great for bone health. Yogurt’s live lactic acid-producing bacteria are an added bonus (probiotics). These enhance immunity by stimulating the gut flora. Not just runners should take note of this.


During prolonged physical exertion, protein is not a significant source of energy. Muscle development and regeneration, tissue repair, injury avoidance, formation of o2 red blood cells, and general healing are all aided by this compound. Because running causes muscular breakdown, replenishing those muscles with protein afterward is crucial. Muscle atrophy, higher injury risk, and subpar performance are all possible results of a lack of protein in the diet. Although requirements differ from person to person, studies show that most people do best when they consume between 0.6 and 0.9 grams of protein for every pound of body weight (1.4 and 2.0 grams for every kilogram). It’s enough to get back on your feet and might even assist extreme endurance athletes avoid muscle loss.

Protein Foods

Eggs from a hen are a good source of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. So, if you’re a runner, they’re one of the healthiest foods you can eat, especially if you eat them within an hour after finishing your (ideally combined with a carbohydrate). As a result, muscle development and repair are aided.

Small-scale research conducted in 2017 on elite runners indicated that those who took whey protein supplements had fewer injuries and greater endurance. While serious athletes may need to supplement their diet with protein shakes, leisure runners may not. After a run, it may be beneficial to eat something high in protein. Consuming a carbohydrate and protein source post-workout has been shown in 2008 research to increase glycogen storage, which in turn aids muscle repair.


Body fat is a great food source, especially for long-distance runners. Generally speaking, you should consume largely unsaturated fats accounting for 20-30% of your daily total calories. Try to keep your fat consumption at no less than 20% of your daily calories. A lack of fat in the diet has been linked to shortages in fat-soluble vitamins and critical fatty acids. Your body’s fat stores become its principal source of energy during prolonged endurance activity. Fat oxidation is the mechanism by which this occurs. Glucose is produced through the breakdown of fatty acids, which were previously stored as triglycerides.

The Bottom Line

What you eat can either help or hinder your efforts to reach your running goals. So, if you want to improve your performance and your body’s resistance to injury, marathon runners need to eat the correct kinds and amounts of food. Take this list with you the next time you go food shopping so you can be sure to get everything you need. It’s no secret that what you eat has a significant impact on how fast you can run.

You have to be certain you’re consuming the correct meals to assist you to run your best, and those foods will vary based on your individual and skill levels, the duration of your run, and your degree of experience. Because every marathon runner is different, experimenting with your diet to find out what works best for you may be necessary. The distinction may lie in only examining your dietary habits.