Ace your race

A fast start on a full stomach is guaranteed to ruin your race. Master your pacing and nutrition with these tips from endurance coach Steve Whittle

Brighton marathon runner

Carb up the night before

A quality, balanced dinner will help to top up your energy levels for the race itself. Aim to eat a fistful of cooked, wholemeal pasta with a lean protein source such as chicken breast, with some nutrient-rich green veggies or a salad. 

Keep breakfast light

Ideally you want to eat an easily-digestible combo of good carbs and protein – think half a wholemeal bagel with peanut butter – a couple of hours before the race. Drink a glass of water with breakfast, and then keep sipping occasionally throughout the morning. 

Ease into the swim

For most people the swim is the toughest discipline, so make sure you don’t head off too fast, even if you’re full of adrenaline at the start. Ideally you want to be coming out of the water after the swim feeling as fresh as possible, with plenty of energy left for the ride and the run. 

Aim for negative splits

Start out the bike leg at a comfortable pace and then begin to build up speed once you’ve settled into a good rhythm. You want to reach race pace at around the half way mark and then maintain it till the end of the ride. 

Stay hydrated

The bike leg is your best opportunity to top up on fluids, so aim to drink a mouthful of water every 15-20 minutes. Once you’ve hit the 90 minute mark, aim to ingest an extra 20-30g of carbs via energy gels, bars or drinks every 20 minutes to keep your glycogen levels topped up. 

Finish strong

Adopt the same negative split strategy for the run leg, starting slowly, hitting race pace at the half way point and then finishing the final third as fast as you possibly can.

Steve Whittle is an endurance and nutrition coach with over a decade’s experience. For more information, contact him at   or via Twitter @coach_whittle  

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