7 days to go
Start reducing your food intake by 100 calories for every mile you knock off your training during the taper. We marathon runners should start to increase the proportion of carbohydrates we consume to boost the glycogen levels in our muscles.
5 - 6 days to go
Continue reducing your calorie intake but make sure you eat at regular intervals. It’s better to eat smaller meals more often, making sure that you’re eating enough that you don’t feel hungry.
4 days to go
Start carbohydrate loading. Aim for at least 65 % of your total – typically 500g per day. Be careful to avoid eating fat at this stage. Whole grain pasta, bread and brown rice or quinoa are ideal.
3 days to go
You may notice some weight gain – much of which will be water stored with the glycogen in your muscles. Keep your fluid and salt intakes up – although excessive hydration runs the risk of hyponatraemia. Low fat crisps are a good source of carbs and salt.
2 days to go
Start fluid loading. Sports drinks are a good way of taking on carbs at the same time. If you are prone to bowel problems during running, avoid high fibre foods such as bran.
The night before
Eat a high carb meal of between 800 to 1000 calories. DO NOT start experimenting with your diet. Stick to what you know rather than risk surprising your stomach on the day of the race.
The day of the marathon
Ideally, eat 600 calories of low fat carbs, two to four hours before the race – no matter how early it starts.
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING
Good luck and remember, you never really know your limits until you exceed them.