As you prepare to conquer the 26.2-mile journey through this beautiful city, it’s essential to fuel your body with the right foods and drinks to perform at your best.
In this article, we’ll explore what you can expect from the nutrition stations along the route and how to make the most out of them.
First off, let’s talk about the most frequent food and drinks you’ll find along the course:
Hydration and Fuelling Stops Along the Berlin Marathon Route
Maintaining proper hydration during the Berlin Marathon is absolutely vital to avoid dehydration and achieve peak performance.
To support all the runners, well-placed hydration stations are strategically positioned along the route, offering much-needed water and sports drinks.
At key kilometer markers, specifically 9, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 36, you’ll find refreshment points offering a variety of options such as fruit, tea, and water.
Additionally, there are water-only refreshment points at kilometers 5, 12, 17.5, 22.5, 27.5, 32.5, 34.5, 38, and 40.
Around kilometer 33, the Lichtenauer Cheeringpoint at Olivaer Platz awaits, providing a motivating boost. After crossing the finish line, you’ll receive a 0.5-liter bottle of Lichtenauer Mineralwasser Pur in your finishing bag.
Maurten Fuel products are available at kilometers 9, 15, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, and 36. Maurten is renowned for its effective carbohydrate-fueling solutions that enhance performance and minimize gastrointestinal issues.
Refreshments at the Finish:
Congratulations on completing the marathon! Treat yourself to apples, bananas, salted pretzels, and chocolate rolls at the finish line. Refreshing tea and water will also be available to quench your thirst.
For a refreshing, non-alcoholic option, try ERDINGER Alkoholfrei. This thirst-quencher delights with spicy malt notes and a slightly sweet taste.
Brewed with natural ingredients according to the Bavarian Purity Law, it supports regeneration with vitamins B9 and B12. With only 25 kcal per 100 ml, it’s a guilt-free way to celebrate your accomplishment.
To optimize your performance, remember to stick to your planned fueling and hydration strategy.
Stop only for drinks and fuel, as you have planned in your training. NO TRYING NEW THINGS ON RACE DAY!
Now that you know what’s available, let’s talk about the perfect nutrition strategy for the Berlin Marathon…
What To Eat While Running The Berlin Marathon
Crucial tips to keep in mind:
- Experiment with different food options during training to discover what suits your body best.
- Stick to a familiar breakfast on the morning of the race.
- Familiarize yourself with the offerings at aid stations.
- Prioritize hydration and carbohydrate intake throughout the race.
To have a successful fueling experience during the Berlin Marathon, it’s crucial to have practiced your nutrition and hydration strategies during training. Additionally, ensure you plan and prepare your race-day nutrition the night before for the peek performance.
The Week Before:
In the week leading up to the marathon, focus on maintaining good hydration, consuming sufficient carbohydrates, and reducing fiber intake for 2-3 days to avoid runners’ trots.
The Night Before:
On the evening before the Berlin Marathon, ensure you have the following nutrition checklist ready:
- Have breakfast prepared and ready to eat about two hours before the race.
- If using a hydration pack (max 3 liters), fill it up.
- Carry a snack and a water bottle for a pre-race boost.
- Lay out your race nutrition items like gels, bars, rehydrate, sports drinks, etc.
- Stay well-hydrated but avoid alcohol consumption.
The Day After:
After completing the marathon, focus on post-race recovery by replenishing carbohydrates and some protein.
Regarding alcohol consumption, scientific evidence suggests that one beer is not detrimental. However, dehydration may occur after consuming two or more beers, so be mindful of your goals and recovery needs for the week.
Let’s take a closer look at breakfast before the Berlin Marathon.
Breakfast Before The Berlin Marathon
Eating breakfast about two hours before the marathon is essential.
The goal is to preserve your glycogen stores and use them up at a slower rate during the race. While it may not prevent hitting the wall entirely, it can delay its onset.
Ensure your breakfast is not high in fat and fiber, as these can cause digestive issues during the race. Stick to foods you have eaten before and practiced during your training to avoid any surprises on race day.
By fueling properly before the race, you’ll give yourself the best chance of performing at your peak.
Examples of breakfast before running a marathon include:
- Pancakes & Fruit
- Granola & Milk
- Sweetcorn fritters
- Toast with peanut butter
- Banana Bread
- Low fiber & Low sugar cereal
- English Muffins
- Rice cakes
Just Before The Race Starts (about 45 minutes)
As the start time approaches, you may feel a mix of excitement and a touch of anxiety. Since you might have to wait for a while before your coral goes, it’s crucial to have some snacks with you to keep your energy levels up.
Around 15 minutes before the marathon begins, take a moment to sip some water from your water bottle and consider having a gel or a small portion of an energy bar.
This will provide you with a quick boost of fuel to kickstart your race on the right foot.
By nourishing yourself appropriately just before the race, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the miles ahead with confidence.
Pro tip: Keep your gels for during the race as they are easier to carry.
What to Eat During the Berlin Marathon
Fueling during the marathon is of utmost importance to stay ahead of dehydration and avoid feeling exhausted.
The key is to stick to your tried and tested nutrition and hydration strategies that you practiced during your long training runs.
During the marathon, most of the energy you’ll use comes from glycogen stored in your muscles. As these stores deplete, your body will start relying on sugar stored in the blood and liver.
To sustain your energy levels, it’s crucial to consume carbohydrates to replace the lost glucose.
For the average runner, a recommended intake is about 50-60 grams of carbs per hour. However, this may vary based on your individual ability and weight.
For instance, elite runners like Kipchoge may consume up to 90 grams of carbohydrates!
Here are some examples of food and drinks that are beneficial to consume during the marathon:
- Sports Drinks: These provide not only hydration but also essential carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium to replenish your electrolytes.
- Sports Gels, Chews & Bars: These quick and easily digestible sources of carbohydrates are best consumed with water to aid absorption.
- Boiled Baby Potatoes: A natural and easily portable source of carbohydrates that can help maintain your energy levels.
- Bananas: Packed with natural sugars and potassium, bananas are a runner’s favorite for a quick energy boost.
- Grapes: These bite-sized fruits offer a refreshing source of natural sugars to keep you going.
- Gummy Bears: These simple and easily digestible candies can provide a quick carb boost.
7. White Bread with Honey: A straightforward yet effective carbohydrate option that can be easily consumed during the race.
Remember, what works best for you may vary, so it’s essential to practice your fueling strategy during training to find the combination that suits your body and performance needs.
MUST READ: How To Avoid A Runner’s Trot
Now, let’s share some tips to make the most out of the nutrition plan on the route:
8 CRUCIAL Nutrition Tips For TOP Running Performance
- Refuel with a Little Extra
- Don’t Skip Main Meals
- Fuel Up During Training
- Support Muscle Recovery
- Eat a Colorful Diet
- Adjust for Training Intensity
- Stay Hydrated
- Seek Expert Advice
Refuel With A Little Extra:
Before a challenging morning training session, don’t hesitate to have a slightly larger dinner the night before.
While many people watch their carb intake, it’s essential to provide extra fuel for intense morning workouts.
Don’t Skip Your Main Meals:
When it comes to good runner nutrition, proper meals play a vital role, and carbohydrates serve as the primary fuel source for running.
However, don’t overlook the importance of including protein in your main meals, as it aids in recovery and supports bone health.
To structure your meals effectively, aim to divide your plate into three parts:
- Half of Your Plate: Fill it with vegetables or fruits, ensuring you get a variety of colorful and nutrient-rich options.
- A Quarter of Your Plate: This section should consist of a starchy source, preferably whole grains, which provide sustained energy for your runs.
- Another Quarter of Your Plate: Include a lean protein source to support muscle recovery and overall health.
Aim to have these three balanced plates a day, and complement your meals with smaller protein-rich snacks in between. Emphasize real foods and steer clear of processed options.
Opt for quality carbohydrate sources like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, avoiding items like potato chips, refined biscuits, and heavily refined bars.
Fuel Up During Training Sessions:
During your training sessions, it’s essential to consume a combination of protein and carbohydrates.
This practice not only supports your performance during training but also benefits you on race day by training your gut to handle the extra fuel effectively.
Analogous to filling the fuel tank of a car, our body stores glycogen, which serves as our primary fuel source. Depending on the intensity of the training session, we typically have between 60 to 90 minutes worth of glycogen stored in our tank.
If we deplete these glycogen stores during training and fail to top them up regularly, we may run out of fuel during the session. Unfortunately, at this stage, refilling the glycogen tank is not instantaneous.
It could take up to 72 hours to fully replenish glycogen stores, particularly after intense workouts. This is why you may feel fatigued for a day or two after a hard run or race.
Support Muscle Recovery:
After completing your training session, it’s crucial to consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible. This post-session nutrition aids in muscle recovery restores glycogen levels, and repairs your muscles.
The first four hours following strenuous exercise are particularly crucial for replenishing glycogen stores that were depleted during the training session.
Consuming carbohydrates during this period helps replace the lost glycogen and supports your body’s recovery process.
In addition to carbohydrates and protein, runners, like everyone else, require essential vitamins, minerals, and extra nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium.
A colorful and varied selection of vegetables can provide a rich source of these vital nutrients.
Ensuring you consume a diverse range of veggies maximizes your nutrient intake and contributes to overall health and well-being.
Eat a Colorful Diet:
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that plays multiple essential roles in the body.
One of its key functions is the synthesis of collagen, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity of various body structures, including bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.
Additionally, vitamin C plays a significant role in wound healing, aiding the body’s natural recovery process.
To ensure you get an ample supply of vitamin C and other essential nutrients, strive to include a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Eating a diverse range of colorful foods is not only beneficial for your health but can also help you save money by reducing the need for expensive supplements.
Adjust for Training Intensity:
As a runner, you encounter a variety of training sessions, each with unique characteristics and demands.
Whether it’s a 3-hour long run, a 45-minute interval workout, or a 45-minute recovery run, it’s clear that these workouts have distinct requirements, and this applies to their nutritional needs as well.
To optimize your performance and support your body during training, it’s essential to tailor your nutritional intake according to the specific training session and level of activity.
Different workouts place varying demands on your energy stores, muscle recovery, and overall nutrient requirements.
For longer and more intense sessions, such as a 3-hour long run or an interval workout, you may need more carbohydrates to fuel your endurance and replenish glycogen stores.
On the other hand, shorter and less demanding sessions like recovery runs may require lighter nutritional support.
Stay Hydrated – All The Time:
Many runners associate hydration primarily with summer when they sweat more due to the heat.
However, regardless of whether you live in a cold or hot area, staying hydrated is crucial throughout the entire year.
Water serves numerous vital functions in the body. It transports essential nutrients to active tissues, helps eliminate waste products, and aids in temperature regulation.
Proper hydration is key to maintaining optimal bodily functions, which directly impact your running performance.
Both temperature and hydration levels play significant roles in influencing your running performance.
In hot weather, staying hydrated helps prevent heat-related issues, while in cold weather, proper hydration aids in maintaining body temperature and performance.
It’s essential to be aware of the health implications of dehydration, but it’s equally important to recognize the dangers of overhydration during exercise.
Striking the right balance is vital to ensuring your body functions optimally during any physical activity.
Whether you’re training or participating in a race, maintaining proper hydration is critical.
To help you prepare for your next race day, we’ve designed a marathon hydration strategy that you can follow.
Seek Expert Advice:
If you’re looking to enhance your performance as a runner and achieve your ultimate goals, Nicki de Villiers, a dedicated sports nutritionist, is here to support you.
As a valued member of the Coach Parry team, Nicki’s expertise lies in guiding athletes toward optimal nutrition to complement their training and help them reach their full potential.
Nicki’s impressive educational background includes graduating as a dietitian from the esteemed University of Pretoria.
Additionally, she completed a postgraduate diploma through the International Olympic Committee and holds a master’s degree in dietetics.
Her passion lies in working with athletes, like you, to design personalized nutrition plans that align with your specific training needs and ultimate objectives.
With Nicki’s guidance, you can optimize your fueling strategies, improve your recovery, and ensure your body is well-prepared for the challenges of your running journey.