9 things to do in the final 24 - 48 hours before your marathon

48 hours before your marathon can be a time of nerves, excitement and anticipation, which means it can be easy to forget about the nutrition you’ll need to get you through. So, we’ve created this handy checklist for you to print out, share with friends and, most importantly, follow in the run up to your race.

1. Fill up at the right time

Your biggest main meal should be two nights before the race, not the night before. If you are racing on Sunday, Friday night is when you’ll be working in that bit of extra pasta, rice and potato. This allows your final 24 hours to be a bit lighter, avoiding that heavy bloated feeling when you run. 

2. Follow your routine

The final 24 hours should be a case of repeating what has worked for you in the past. It’s not the time to try a load of new foods. Stick with your routine. 

3. Get in the grams

The final few days into the race is a numbers game. Aim for 10 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight. Many runners find this difficult to achieve and this is where we recommend using products such as HIGH5 Energy Drink and HIGH5 Energy Bar every 3-4 hours in the final 48 hours. These pack a real carb punch but won’t leave you feeling too full or bloated.

4. Cut down on protein and fibre

In the final 48 hours before your race, have less protein and fibre and try to make your meals more carbohydrate based. A big steak is unlikely to provide the best fuel on race day and very high fibre meals leave the risk of digestive discomfort during the race

5. Small but often

Aim to spread your fuel intake rather than relying on 2-3 huge main meals. In the final two days, graze slowly throughout the day trying to get high quality carbs in every three hours or so. Your body will find it much easier to digest and store that way.


6. Don’t go carb crazy

Avoid the temptation to overload on pasta the night before the race as that can leave you feeling stuffed and bloated on race day. A simple pasta dish or risotto dish, early on in the evening before your race, is ideal.

7. Stay hydrated

Aim for 2-3 litres of fluids each day in race week and consider adding HIGH5 ZERO tablets to get the essential electrolytes you will need during the race. Also try to avoid caffeine in the 48 hours before as this can help maximise the effects of any caffeine you take on board on race day. You need a good, energy-filled breakfast 2-3 hours before the race. And for more tips on pre-marathon nutrition, don't miss out on our comprehensive pre-marathon eating guide.

8. Have a good breakfast

Nerves can make runners lose sight of what we know works pre-race. You need a good energy-filled breakfast 2-3 hours before the race. There are a number of options for a 'good' breakfast. Porridge, peanut butter toast and pancakes are popular choices that give you carbs without being too heavy. We also recommend 500-750ml of HIGH5 Energy Drink with your breakfast.

9. Bridge the gap

For many there can be quite a gap between breakfast and race start. Bridge this gap by having an Energy Bar one hour before and sipping on Energy Drink up until the final 30 minutes.

HIGH5 Run Pack

Marathon Nutrition PackThe HIGH5 Run Pack contains the nutrition essentials to support your next run or race with a combination of our most popular Energy, Hydration and Recovery products for runners. Get yours here.

Good luck!


The Days Before a Marathon FAQs

How many days rest before a marathon?

Most runners find that taking 2-3 days of rest or very light, easy activity before a marathon helps conserve energy and prepare the body for the big race. This period is crucial for ensuring your glycogen stores are fully topped up.

What should I do 2 days before a marathon?

Two days before a marathon, focus on carb loading to maximise your glycogen stores. Eat a high carbohydrate diet with foods that are low in fibre to avoid any digestive discomfort. Also, try to stay hydrated and get a good night's sleep.

What should I do 4 days before a marathon?

Four days out, begin to taper your training and increase your carbohydrate intake slightly. This is also a good time to start getting to bed early to ensure you're well-rested on race morning.

How many days should I rest before a race?

It's advisable to rest or engage in light activity for 2-3 days before a race to ensure your body is well-rested and ready. This helps to conserve energy and keep your muscles fresh for marathon day.

Can you taper 2 weeks before marathon?

Yes, a two-week taper period is common among marathon runners. This gradual reduction in training intensity and volume helps the body recover from the riggers of training and prepares it for the demands of race day.

What should I do 48 hours before a marathon?

48 hours before a marathon, continue carb loading, stay hydrated, and avoid high fat foods or anything out of your normal diet. It's also important to plan your race day logistics to reduce stress on the day ahead.

What should I do 72 hours before a marathon?

Start focusing on hydration and carbohydrate loading. Consume meals rich in healthy fats and carbohydrates but low in fibre to prevent any digestive issues. Also, finalise any race plans and strategies with other runners or your support team.

How do you fuel the week before a marathon? 

In the week leading up to a marathon, gradually increase your carbohydrate intake to boost glycogen stores. Maintain a balanced diet with healthy fats, moderate protein, and avoid trying any new or unusual foods. Drink plenty of water and consider including a sports drink to stay hydrated and maintain electrolyte balance.

For specific advice on nutrition, especially for a half marathon, consider reviewing a detailed half marathon nutrition plan to ensure you're fully prepared for race day.

Remember, every runner is different, so it's important to listen to your body and adjust these recommendations based on what has worked for you during training.

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