Race Day Nutrition

Products on course

Getting your sports nutrition right will help you go faster, further and most importantly you’ll have more fun! To help you on race day we have teamed up with HIGH5 to provide you with sports nutrition on course. HIGH5 create nutritious products with amazing natural flavours, whether you’re a new starter or an elite professional, HIGH5 have got you covered.

At KBC Dublin Marathon you will be provided with HIGH5 Energy Gel Aqua:

We recommend incorporating HIGH5 products into your training. That way you won’t be trying something new at the event, and you can focus on giving it your all.

Discover the full HIGH5 range of trusted gels, drinks and bars: www.highfive.co.uk

Advice & Tips

Nutrition advice and tips for running or just general training. See here: https://highfive.co.uk/news/


Nutritional Requirements For Marathon Running for Race Day

Pre-Fuelling for a Marathon


It is important to eat a carbohydrate rich meal 3-4 hours prior to the event. This will be breakfast for the participants of the marathon and will serve to replenish liver glycogen stores, which will have been depleted after the overnight fast. This meal should be relatively low in fat and fibre to aid gastric emptying and should leave the athlete satisfied but without undigested food in their stomach. The meal should contain 200-300g CHO and moderate protein content. It should provide 500-600 calories.

Just before the race

One hour before the race starts, it is advised to consume a high carbohydrate snack to top up glycogen stores and blood glucose levels. This snack is most effective when it provides the following benefits.

  • Increased energy production through mixed carbohydrate sources – glucose & fructose
  • Electrolyte provision by sodium and potassium rich ingredients
  • Increased glucose absorption in the intestine through sodium
  • High Glycaemic Index design for fast glucose delivery
  • Prevention of muscle fatigue and dehydration by early introduction of essential nutrients
  • Use of B Vitamin rich carbohydrates to ensure maximum energy metabolism

Re-Fuelling During The Race

Eating and drinking during the race is tricky but should be attempted by all marathon runners to prevent injury and illness and prevent what is commonly known as ‘Hitting the Wall’. After 90 minutes of exercise, muscle glycogen stores will have been completely depleted in most people and it is essential to re-fuel before this happens.

Evidence has shown that consuming a high glycemic index carbohydrate based food with some protein will replenish glycogen stores and promote protein synthesis therefore positively affecting muscle repair post exercise. For most people this means consuming a snack containing 50g of Carbohydrate an hour after starting the race and every hour thereafter.

Recovering after the Race

The key to recovery fuel is timing and the correct nutrients.   After running an endurance race, athletes will not want to eat large portions in one go. It is essential to provide enough nutrition over the next 6 hours to provide repair the body and replace expended energy, which would be in the region of 3,000 calories.

To ensure athletes can consume the correct amount of calories, macronutrients and micronutrients post race, GourmetFuel recommend a sequence of meals to meet immediate requirements on the day and allow for their bodies to repair properly.

Every two hours, these athletes should consume:

CHO – 1.0-1.5g per kilogram of body weight.

If we take an average weight of 70kg per athlete:

Carbohydrate:                     70g-105g               (280 – 420kCal 70% Energy)

Protein:                                  20g-25g                (80 -100kCal – 15% Energy)

Fat:                                           8g-10g                 (72-90kCal – 15% Energy)

We will use the upper ranges of 105g Carbohydrate, 25g Protein and 10g Fat.

The Recovery Pack – 2,000 Calories in Total

Water – Consumed within 30 minutes from finishing

At least a further 1 litre of mineral water is required to continue hydration after the race.

Fruit Snack – 100 Calories within 30 minutes from finishing

Banana is an excellent fruit providing immediate carbohydrate and potassium to aid re-hydration.


Meal One – 400 Calories within 30 minutes from finishing

Governing authorities recommend that athletes should consume carbohydrate and protein within 30 minutes after exercise.   This is best delivered through a liquid based product containing dairy as it will contain all three macronutrients, micronutrients, electrolytes and fluid. Because of the time of year, it is probably preferable for the athletes to consume warm meals – a hot, nourishing, micro and macro nutrient rich soup would be an ideal immediate recovery meal. GourmetFuel® can provide an alternative solution to those who do not eat dairy also.

Example: Butternut Squash soup enriched with yoghurt

Meal Two – 600 Calories within 60 minutes from finishing

A meal with 600 calories of 70% CHO, 15% Protein and 15% Fat is ideal for recovery after a marathon and should be consumed within one hour of finishing the race. We want high GI carbohydrate foods for glycogen replenishment, protein for muscle repair and fat for fatty acid replacement with fruit and vegetables for micronutrients, which will help cells recover and repair.

Example – Recovery Burrito Wraps with 70|15|15 Macro Split


Meal Three – 900 Calories 2 hours after Meal Two

A second meal of 900 calories with higher emphasis on reducing inflammation through Omega 3 Fatty Acids such as those found in flax seeds and salmon, which also contains easily digestible protein and encouraging cellular repair through antioxidant rich vegetables.

Examples: Chicken and Vegetable Curry with Basmati Rice with Turmeric and Flax Seeds

Almond Sesame Salmon with Sweet Potato and Kale Mash


Some information on the importance of micronutrients in the athlete’s diet.


Micronutrients play an important role in energy production, oxygen transport, maintenance of bone health, adequate immune function and protection of the body against oxidative damage, which occurs through exercise. They also assist with tissue growth and repair and recovery from exercise. Exercise stresses many of the metabolic pathways where micronutrients are required.

The most important micronutrients to consider in an athletes diet are:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • The B vitamins
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Antioxidants and Phytonutrients – Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Vitamin E and Selenium.

Functional foods are foods that serve more than just a fuel purpose but have extra health benefits from the micronutrients they contain. We will use functional foods to improve and increase the availability of these important nutrients for the optimum recovery of the athletes. These macro and micronutrients will be provided for by the following foods:

  • Carbohydrate: Rice, Bread, Potato, Pasta, Sweet Potato
  • Protein: Chicken, Turkey, Lean Beef, Eggs
  • Fats: Nuts and Seeds, Avocado, Oily Fish
  • Dairy: Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese
  • Vegetables: Spinach, Carrots, Peppers, Beetroot, Broccoli, Kale
  • Fruit: Oranges, Bananas, Pineapple, Berries, Grapes, Apples,
  • Herbs and spices: Garlic, Turmeric, Cumin, Parsley, Coriander all have additional health benefits especially for repairing damaged cells.

Other factors to consider:

  • Portion Size – adequate refuel but not too much as appetite may be affected after the race.
  • Timing of refuelling. CHO refuel within 30 minutes and then within 60 minutes and every 2h thereafter.
  • Rehydrating – continued rehydrating is recommended and monitoring the need to urinate is an important signal of de/hydration.

GourmetFuel® can help athletes design the perfect recovery pack, available to pick up at the finish line. Don’t worry about your recovery nutrition, we’ve got it covered. email: emma@gourmetfuel.com and check out www.gourmetfuel.com




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