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STIMIUM FILE Prepare for your marathon

STIMIUM DOSSIER | Prepare your marathon at best

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Folder [How to best prepare for your marathon] STIMIUM Sport Nutri-Protection

Because running 42,195 km is not improvised, the experts of #TEAMSTIMIUM offer you this file which develops 5 major aspects to prepare a marathon:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical preparation
  • Equipment
  • Health advice
  • Mental preparation

Each of these aspects is commented by Yohan Durand, French international cross-country and middle-distance running and member of #TEAMSTIMIUM.

On your marks…

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Power management is one of the keys to success for the marathoner, just like training or recovery. The intake of calories, fast or complex sugars, proteins, or vitamin supplements play a major role that develops Marie-Caroline Savelieff, dietician-nutritionist of the sport, confirmed marathoner and member of the #TEAMSTIMIUM.


at. The energetic contributions of the marathon runner

Energy needs: quantity

Every day, we all have energy needs that must be met by our food. This energy expenditure is dependent on several factors. Some, like our age, our size or even our sex, are not malleable.

Our level of daily physical activity (NAP), on the other hand, directly influences our needs: professional activity (sedentary, busy), modes of travel (car, bicycle, public transport, market), ancillary activities (other sports, gardening, mechanics ...). This NAP varies from one individual to another, but also from one week to one day.

Marathon preparation diet - Stimium: Un runner who begins to prepare for a marathon must therefore realize that he is unique and that he must adapt his diet to his needs and objectives without falling into extremes:

  • Do not starve under the pretext that marathon performance will be proportional to weight.
  • Do not multiply snacks and cheese pasta supplements at the least outing or scheduled long session.
  • Learn to listen to your hunger, to manage your diet according to the planned sessions is essential in order not to know symptoms of overtraining or gastric discomfort.

The distribution in the day

Feeding ourselves is not just about opening your mouth blissfully in order to give your body the optimized ratio of calorie intake to caloric expenditure. Nutritional quality (proteins, fats, carbohydrates), micronutritional (vitamins and minerals) and the fair distribution of food from morning to evening according to workouts (fasting, long exit, split, ribs, fartleck) must be adjusted.

Also avoid the trap of simply counting calories: your priority must be in nutritional quality.

b. The macronutrient needs of the marathon runner


It is necessary to differentiate two main types of carbohydrates:

  • Slow or complex carbohydrates.
    They spread gradually in the body.
  • Fast or simple carbohydrates.
    Quickly assimilated by the body and therefore quickly available, they are preferred in the vicinity and during physical exercise (fresh fruit, white sugar, soda). The foods of the effort also fall into this category (gels, gums and isotonic drinks).

Note that the notion ofindex and glycemic load are more precise than the notion of "simple and complex" since the speed of assimilation of our ingestas can vary according to:

  • other foods eaten during the same meal (the gastric bowl)
  • the fiber content of a food
  • the degree of maturity, cooking and processing of the same food.

Thus, whole rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice. And this same white rice has a lower glycemic index than rice puffs.


Often neglected in the endurance sportsman's plate under the pretext that he does not need a physical bodybuilder sprinter, Protein is an essential food of the marathoner's diet. THE runner Forget all too often that the muscle does not only have an explosive role.


A hunger beast of calories in search of sharpening for the good reason that 1 gram of fat = 9 calories while 1g of protein or carbohydrates = 4 calories, fats should not be excluded from your diet. You just have to select them.

A double objective:

  • Limit saturated fats mainly from meat products (except fatty fish) and fat (butter, cream, palm oil, coconut milk).
  • Choose unsaturated fats (including omega 3) of plant origin such as rapeseed oil, olive oil, flax oil, avocado, oilseeds (nuts) and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines).


c. Micronutrient requirements

The marathoner has significant caloric needs. When preparing a marathon, the runner also consume large amount of vitamins and minerals. These acaloric micronutrients are counted in varying amounts in the body and each has a specific role. Some, for example, have antioxidant actions, that is, they help protect cells against oxidative stress. This is the case of vitamins C, E but also minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium.

Vitamins and minerals come from different foods. A varied and balanced diet is therefore supposed to provide you with all the necessary nutrients.


d. Water requirements

The athlete is composed of about 70% water. Hydration must therefore be considered a priority in everyday life and not only during the effort.

The water protocol

Every day it is necessary to drink 1,5 liters at 2 liters of water. An amount to which 500 is added to 800 ml per hour of sports practice.

The development of a water protocol allows you to create a good distribution of your water intake during the day.

The hydration needs of the marathon runner - Stimium: Water must remain the main source sweet drinks (soda and fruit juice), alcoholic drinks and diuretics (tea, coffee).

Also avoid drinking too much at the end of the day.

The different types of water

The waters allow, with less caloric intake, to bring minerals to runner such as :

  • Magnesium which helps reduce fatigue and contributes to normal muscle function. It is present in large quantities, especially in Hepar® water, Courmayeur®, La Rozana®, Quezac®.
  • calcium which contributes to normal muscle function. It is Pin particular in Contrex®, Courmayeur®, Hepar®
  • Sodium which is present in quantity in particular in Vichy Celestins® water, St Yorre®.



at. Food before exercise

The meal before the effort

In order to avoid gastric discomfort - especially in case of intense effort - runner must favor a digestible food, already tested and at least 3 hours before the start of the session or competition.

Avoid meals that are too fatty, too spicy, and high fiber sources to limit the risk of intestinal discomfort.

The snack before the effort

Pre-exercise snacking is not mandatory and is not automatic unless you are a high level athlete with a very high training load.

Nevertheless, consuming 1 before the effort a compote or a very digestible biscuit (gingerbread or rice cake) can supplement an insufficient intake during the previous meal and provide a source of energy quickly available.

b. Diet during the effort


From 45 minutes to 1 running time running, a water intake is necessary at the rate of 500 to 800 ml per hour of effort.

Le runner should consume regularly 3-4 sip of temperate water or drink of isotonic stress.

Carbohydrate intake and isotonic drinks

The marathoner must imperatively bring to his body a carbohydrate intake during his event and during his training, as soon as the foot race exit exceeds 1h15-1h30.

The carbohydrate intake must be regular all 40 50 minutes and imperatively accompanied by water. A sodium intake is also useful to compensate for sweat losses, especially during hot weather.

Finally, it is imperative to test the food of the effort (gums, gels, drinks, bars) before the day of the marathon.

c. Diet after exercise

Recovery ration: the metabolic window

Just after the race or training, the athlete benefits from a optimal metabolic window to bring to his cells the glycogen consumed during the effort. The body then effectively captures the nutrients it needs to replenish its reserves.2

For the period immediately following the end of your effort, plan a recovery ration called glucido-protein ration.. It must consist of a good supply of water, combined with a source of fast proteins (low-fat dairy products or even delactosés, vegetable drink with hemp) and carbohydrates (fruit compote, yoghurt to drink, fresh or dry fruit) . Consume it ideally in the ½ hour post sports effort.

There are of course dedicated recovery drinks for this purpose. A magnesium intake can also be useful since it helps reduce fatigue.

d. The week before the marathon: glycogen storage

The week before the marathon, the athlete's diet must allow a good storage of glycogen. An obligation that must take into account the tolerances of the athlete to avoid any gastric discomfort detrimental to the performance, whatever the objective or the level. Avoid eating too much fat, too rich in fiber, too spicy and unusual.

The future marathoner must therefore ensure a good contribution of grain products, sources of energy, mainly during the 3-4 last days preceding the competition.

Protein intake should be conserved but the meat products must be low in fat and accompanied by low-fat sauces by favoring vegetable oils in a reasonable amount (olive oil, rapeseed, flax, nuts). Crudités and raw fruits are also consumed in small quantities because they can accelerate intestinal transit, especially in times of pre-race stress.

Of course, hydration should not be neglected. Keep a bottle of water always nearby. During this period, prefer spring water or tap water (some mineral waters accelerate transit).

The week before the marathon, the marathoner can move to a modified diet of carbohydrate called adapted Scandinavian dissociated diet. This diet initially excludes carbohydrate sources for reintegration during the last 4 days, to create a carbohydrate rebound conducive to glycogen storage.1 Before adopting this Scandinavian dissociated diet, which is very specific, it is recommended to consult a sports dietician who will propose a plan adapted to your habits so as not to disturb your transit.

e. The place of complementation

A balanced daily diet meets the needs of the general population.

A normal active person able to adapt his diet to his energy needs both in quantity and quality (protein intake, quality of carbohydrates, mainly unsaturated fats, grain products source of fiber and vitamins and minerals, antioxidants ...) can therefore do without food supplements.

Food supplements can be useful in different areas to accompany the athlete before, during and after the physical effort. These include for example magnesium which can contribute to normal muscle function and electrolyte balance, or to vitamin C which can help reduce fatigue.



Yohan Durand #TEAMSTIMIUM - Stimium Sport Nutri-Protection: "In 2016, I went from the track, where I practiced for years the middle distance (from 1.500m to 5.000m), to the marathon. During my training phases, I quickly realized that the feeling of appetite became more important. Logic because, in marathon, we push the machine always further, always longer.

It was therefore necessary that I adapt my diet. By increasing my carbohydrate rations, in particular, but also my protein intake. It's a weird sensation of can eat more without gaining weight  !

During this passage to the marathon, I also had to learn to eat during the effort. It may sound simple but it was really new to me. Eating and drinking running, especially when the effort is intense, is not so obvious as that. I tested a lot of foods before I found the ones that suited me the best. This is one of my most important tips: TEST! And, in the same vein, do not ever introduce D-Day with foods that you do not know or that come out of your ordinary. Habit is your best friend.

In addition to the proteins, of which I have already spoken to you, the contribution of slow sugars is obviously essential, mainly during the last weeks. Combine pasta and rice with effort drinks.

Avoid dehydration at all costs : the slightest cramp can be fatal! One of my coaches once explained to me that a loss of water equivalent to 4% of body weight results in a decrease of 20% in neuromuscular efficiency. It's a number I always have in mind to remind me to hydrate myself. "

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