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Moniqu Ryan

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Chicago Marathon Series: Getting The Pre-Race Meal Just Right

Fuel and Hydrate Just Right the Morning of the Marathon

OatmealLike many marathoners you likely spend your final days before the race enjoying high carbohydrate foods. But an optimal race nutrition plan doesn’t end with a plate of pasta or rice the night before. Your pre-race breakfast is just an important, as it will restock your liver glycogen stores. Liver glycogen is the back-up storage depot for blood glucose or blood sugar and keeps levels steady during exercise. Your morning meal provides fuel for your brain, helping to support concentration and motivation during the 26.2 mile race. Just how much should you eat on race morning? Probably more than you think, but not more than you can tolerate. Definitely more than the stand alone early morning banana that you quickly downed before your long runs.

Once again carbohydrates are the premium fuel. And it is important to have enough carbohydrates to the tune of about 1.5 to 1.8 grams/per pound (3-4 g/kg ) of weight in the three to hour hour fueling window before the start. That can easily translate to over 200 g to 300 g of carbohydrate. The key is to get the majority of carbohydrates in early- about 3.5 hours before your start time. You can also top of this meal, carefully, in the two hours leading to the race as the pre-fueling window slowly closes ad even go for one final top-off in the 30-45 mins before your start time. Some of your carb choices may be liquid and you should also plan your hydration in the early morning hours as well. Bring a water bottle to the start corrals so that you can hydrate steadily before the race.

3.5 hours before start:
Aim for 150 g of carbohydrate. Go for familiar foods and easily digested choices. Some options include a low fiber cold cereal, oatmeal, bagel, toast, jam, honey, banana, juice, yogurt, quinoa, rice, crackers. Check labels and make sure that your carbs add up.

90 mins before start:
Aim for 50-75 g carbohydrate with carefully planned choices. Some options include a high carbohydrate sports shake, a smoothie, an energy bar, 24 ounces of a sports drink, a rice cake with jam, and crackers.

30-45 min before start:
Aim for 30 g of very easily digested carbohydrate. A gel, carbohydrate shot, or block or chews.

Gatorade Endurance will provide the Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink (30 g carbohydrate) and the Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews (24 g carbohydrate) at the start. You can plan on having these products the morning of the Chicago Marathon.