Before a marathon, a person should eat something that will give them energy during the race, such as a banana, protein bar, toast, or half a bagel with peanut butter and plenty of water. Marathoners should eat the same foods before their longer training runs that they will eat before the marathon, so that their bodies are used to the food.
Trying something new may mean that the marathoner gets an upset stomach or other problems during the race. Water can be sipped right up until the start of the marathon, though stopping 30 minutes before the race can help ensure that the marathoner does not have to urinate during the race, which can be a frustrating feeling. It is recommended that the breakfast before the marathon race be eaten two to three hours beforehand.
Another important aspect of eating for a marathon is the two or three days before the marathon race day. During these days, the marathoner should avoid processed and fried foods. Instead, the focus should be on lean protein and carbohydrates at every meal, such as vegetables, rice, fruits, pasta and legumes. While dairy can be fine, it can also cause stomach upset issues for many runners so it should not be eaten in the days before the race unless the marathoner knows that it does not cause problems for his or her body.