During the week leading up to the marathon and especially from Wednesday to Saturday night, I tried to make sure that my diet was about 70-80% carbohydrate, making up the rest in protein, a little fat and vitamins. My aim was to take on about 7-10g per kg of body weight per day. For me, that meant between 385 and 550g per day, ie. an awful lot of carbs! When you run, your body burns a mixture of carbohydrate and fat. The harder you run, the higher the proportion of carbohydrate you use; the slower you run, the higher the porportion of fat you use. If you race a marathon, appproximately 75-90% of the fuel you use is supplied by the breakdown of carbohydrates. 'Hitting the wall' when running a marathon usually means that your body has run out of carbohydrate to burn. This makes you slow down and is really annoying because there is very little you can do about it at that stage.
To keep up my carb intake this week, I focussed on foods which were easy to prepare, which had a low to medium G.I. (ie. slower-burning carbs) and which did not make me feel too bloated, so that I could fit as much into my body as possible! These were my main meals, which I topped up with snacks of fruit (kept a homemade fruit salad in the fridge to pick at), seeds, nuts and raisins, toast made with homemade seedy wholemeal bread and copious quanities of flapjacks.
I tried to drink at least 3 litres of liquid (water, redbush tea, lucozade, fruit juice) everyday, starting off the day with two pints of water 'down in one' before my morning cup of tea.
Breakfast - Porridge with crunchy demerara sugar, grapefruit, wholemeal toast, orange juice
Lunch - Lebanese herby wholemeal couscous salad with loads of salad veg from the fridge
Supper - Tom Yum hot and sour soup with salmon, thai basil and buckwheat noodles (really delicious, will add the recipe later)
Breakfast - Fruit and nut muesli with fresh blueberries and natural yoghurt, granary toast.
Lunch - Smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket sandwich on my lovely homemade bread stuffed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Supper - visit to local Indian restaurant - heaps of delicious pilau rice with various higher carb vegetarian dishes including dhal (lentils), sag aloo (spinach and potato) and a little of my husbands lamb dish.
Breakfast - Porridge again but this time with black treacle (extra iron!)
Lunch - Fusilli pasta with a mushroom sauce
Supper - Chilli con carne with basmati rice, fruit salad
Breakfast - yes, you guessed, porridge again, fruit salad, more toast
Lunch - en route to London - punnet of strawberries, ham sandwich, banana, several flapjacks
Tea - hot cross buns
Supper - Hummus and pitta bread, Spaghetti with pesto, parmesan, fresh basil and toasted pine nuts, blackberry and apple crumble (crumble made with ground almonds)
Sunday morning, the big day:
Just a bowl of porridge with crunchy demerara sugar, a slice of very heavy seedy/nutty bread with lashings of manuka money, fruit salad. Took another honey sandwich to the start line which I ate with a cup of sweet, weak tea they were providing, as I could not face drinking any more carbo drink.
I took a bottle of lucozade caffeine boost on the run with me and I had a High 5 gel every six miles, plus a few dextrose tablets with magnesium at mile 21 to give me a boost when I started to slow down. I think something with even more sodium would have been good for me, as I really craved something salty afterwards.