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The day before a marathon, eat all the things (and put your feet up)

The day before a marathon is not the day to be watching your waistline

Tapering can be taxing, mentally. There’s all kinds of conflicting advice about how to taper your workouts (and by how much), how to carb load correctly, and which type of race fuel is best. And you may feel vaguely guilty about running so little. Be reassured that this is universal. And if you’re running your first marathon this Sunday in New York (or somewhere else), the best advice we’ve heard is also the simplest: the day before the race, eat lots, and put your feet up.

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New York City Marathon Canadians
Photo: courtesy of NYRR

During a marathon you will burn around 2,500 calories (depending on your weight and other factors), so don’t worry that fuelling up the day before the race will cause you to gain weight–it absolutely will not. And don’t worry about the correct ratios of carbs to protein to fat, just eat lots of calories–whatever you usually eat, but nothing too sugary. One runner we know was staying with friends in another city the weekend of her second marathon, and although they all went out for a hearty breakfast the day before the race, they never got around to having lunch, and by the time dinner was served, she was starving. Her race did not go well, which she attributed to the warm weather, but as she realized later, that that skipped meal certainly didn’t help.

And if you’re in NYC with friends or family who are eager to take in all the sights on Saturday, resist the temptation to join them. Curl up with your e-reader instead (and maybe even take a nap). Do a short shakeout run if you must, but beyond that, the only exercise you should get is walking to the kitchen for another snack. You need to preserve your strength for Sunday.

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