Marathon Nutrition

Disclaimer: Case study examples are highly specific to the individual, goals set may not be right for anyone else, even if the presentation sounds similar to you.
Individualised nutrition assessment is key!

Athlete preparing for Marathon by Cara Sloss


  • Male, 49yrs, 86kg, 1.86m
  • Has ‘good for age’ place in London Marathon
  • Works in an office and commutes 1hr each way to work
  • Lives at home with his wife and pre-school children

Additional information:

  • Previously overweight, lost 3 stone with ‘low carb’ diet
  • Recently has been increasing distance of long runs and overall weekly mileage
  • Struggling with lack of energy both at work and training
  • Aiming to maintain his current weight

Aims of the nutrition intervention:

  • Optimise energy availability, macro & micronutrient intake for training
  •  Day to day nutrition & hydration
  • Managing nutrition around his busy lifestyle (not having time was a big barrier identified)
  • Fuelling pre and post training
  • Optimise recovery
  • Race day nutrition – planning

Example of a typical day prior to intervention on a long run day:

7 am: Cup of coffee with milk
7.30am: Run 18miles (3hrs) – uses 1x gel during
Post run: Water and a handful of nuts
12 pm: Homemade tomato soup with chicken salad sandwich, fruit and yoghurt
3 pm: 4x Rice cakes with peanut butter
6 pm: Salmon with roast vegetables
Evening: snacking crisps and fruit

Nutrition assessment:

  • This included pre consultation information gathered including a food diary prior to the initial appointment.
  • During the appointment, gathered additional information about his lifestyle, training, goals and food likes/ dislikes being able to guide with a plan for all the areas in the aims above
  • A key focus is sustainable changes, rather than a ‘meal plan’ which doesn’t help educate the athlete and is often not followed due to the ‘time’ factor
  • Initial goals set with detailed written information to support this:
  • Pre-run – simple CHO snack i.e. white toast with jam
  • During run aiming 30-60g CHO per hour: Practically 1 gel every ~45mins
  • Post run recovery within 30mins – CHO & protein
  • Include CHO with evening meal night before – ensure well hydrated on Saturday
  • This athlete updated me weekly with his progress and found it helpful to have a review 6 weeks following the initial assessment. During this, we focused more on adjusting intake for his increased mileage and started to focus on preparation for race day including nutrition during the taper phase
  • A key piece of feedback from this athlete was he had become wary of including carbohydrate within his diet as felt he had only lost weight previously by excluding. With guidance around the type, portion size and timing of carbohydrate foods to include, he commented that he felt less tired throughout the day and had more energy during his training runs, particularly towards the end of sessions.

Cara Sloss is able to help you achieve your goals!