After discussing the training and nutrition plans over the entire training phase, building up to the final day of the marathon, it becomes equally important to take care of the diet and nutrition on the final day of the race.
The final day eating plans can be broken down into two phases – before the race and during the race. On the final day, there is usually no physical training practice. It is also important to eat well, and not fast so as to maintain good liver glycogen levels, as well as stable blood glucose levels.
Usually, food items with low glycemic index like complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fiber-rich foods etc.) and some healthy fat sources (like nuts etc.) are advisable. The fat content will ensure a consistent release of glucose into the blood stream.
High glycemic index foods are a complete no-no since they spike up the blood glucose levels temporarily leaving with extremely low blood sugar when the spike dies down leading to pre-mature fatigue and exhaustion during the early part of the race itself. Some examples of high glycemic index foods can be biscuits, chocolates, bakery items etc.
Interestingly, moderately high glycemic index are more suited to be eaten during the race, since they will give a temporary boost to the blood sugar level! Examples of food items that can be eaten during the race are energy bars, gels and energy drinks. The key is to eat light and consistently inorder to avoid a heavy stomach which could hamper performance. Some nutritionists recommend 0.5 gms of carbohydrates per kg body weight, as the normal amount of carbohydrates that can be ingested during at intervals during the race!
Keep sipping water or energy drinks, consistently inorder to avoid dehydration. Avoid trying any new foods during the race and stick to those you are comfortable with and like.