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Nutrition guidelines for running 5/10/21 and 42 km

If you’re heading towards a start line soon, do ensure that you’ve had a chance to check out our nutrition guidelines for runners. Starting at nutrition 101, we’ll help take you through all you need to know for getting your nutrition right for training, racing and recovery. It’s crucial that you’ve practiced nutrition in training to prepare for a great race ahead.

Our Expert

Danielle de Francesco is an accredited and practicing dietitian with POGO Physio specialising in sports nutrition. As an elite athlete herself, Danielle is also sponsored by Fixx Nutrition the on course nutrition provider for this year’s races. Check out our quick takeaways below but importantly our video where Danielle will help take you through all you need to know about nutrition for runners, including nutrition guidelines for the 5/10/21 and 42 km running, so you can be fuelled and at your best for race day.

Who is Polar?

For the past four decades, we have spent every day in search of undeniable truths about the human body. Why?

Because we are pioneers. Since 1977 we’ve been building wearable devices to help improve people’s personal guides for their fitness, sport and health. 

Because we’re passionate. We simply want to help people understand their body better, improve their happiness, and live a happier life. We do this through our running watches, heart rate monitors, ecosystem (Polar Flow) and content.

We’ve worked with our experts to help support the Village Roadshow Themeparks Gold Coast Marathon to help bring you the best content to support your running journey. 

From our virtual running clinics we’ve captured running topics to help you be at your best. In this session we’re covering all you need to know about nutrition for running.


For the full view of our running nutrition webinar, see below

Nutrition Video Playlist

Regardless of the distance you are chasing, we’ve also broken the playlist into separate topics so you can easily find the most relevant content for you: 

Here you will find the specific chapter guidelines for nutrition for the 5/10/21 or 42km distances: See below

Training nutrition

In the first webinar in our series, we covered how to create a running training program and the key types of running workouts for 5/10/21 and 42 km that you should be including in your training each week. During your training, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough carbohydrate to help fuel your efforts. Let’s check into the guidelines to find out how much: 

  • Less than 45 mins: not required
  • 45-75 mins: small amounts, including a mouth rinse
  • 1 – 2.5 hours: 30-60 grams per hour
  • 2.5 – 3 hours: up to 90 grams per hour

So what would 30 grams of carbohydrate look like? One gel plus a small sports drink, or 500-750 ml sports drink, or a one energy bar. Always be sure to check your food labels. 

Training with race nutrition

Training the gut is like training your running muscles, it takes time and needs careful planning. During training you should be trying to mimic the carbohydrate intake you are planning to do in your race. You should build up towards achieving your target race intake. It’s recommended that you start at least six weeks prior, but ideally up to ten weeks before your event. Certainly don’t try any new nutrition strategies on race day! 

Knowing your energy requirements and nutrition reminders

The great news for runners is that with a Polar watch, you’ll get access to the most accurate way to measure your heart rate, and as a result the calories that you specifically use during different training runs, races and your daily life. This is a great way to ensure that you’re getting fuel wise about the amount of nutrition you’ll need to maintain for a good performance. 

The running watches also have a built-in assistant so you can easily craft a fuel plan for your race, including personal reminders for when to take fuel on board, as well as hydration. This means you don’t have to worry about tracking your fueling, and can focus on your running instead.

Race nutrition

The day/night before a race you should be aiming for a low fat, low fiber, simple carb rich meal with lean protein. Having a good/early breakfast the morning of the race is also important to replace liver glycogen lost overnight. 

Ray Day:

  • 5/10 km: fueling is not necessary. Some mouth swirling of carbohydrate during may help
  • 21 km: it is recommended to take between 20-45 grams of carbohydrate per hour
  • 42 km: aim for roughly 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour, if you have trained your gut well. Do not try this for the first time in your marathon! 

For more detailed guidelines, do ensure you’ve check out the video content linked above.

Recovery nutrition

Once you’ve run it’s time to start focusing on foods to assist with recovery, making sure you get the right nutrients in helps to reduce training and race effects. It’s important to get both carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of your effort. 

Guidelines for post race refueling include 1g/kg body weight of carbohydrate soon after your race. Then continue with 1g/kg for the next four hours. 

With protein, the target should be to consume a protein right food providing 20-25g of protein to help repair muscle damage. 

Again for more guidelines and examples, do ensure you’ve check out the video content linked above.

The NEW Polar Pacer series of running watches

To help support runners, Polar have released our brand new running watches – the Polar Pacer series. Whether you are chasing PB’s or looking to fall in love with running, they offer the runner everything you need to do one simple thing: Run. 

Incredibly light, purpose built running watches, checkout the all new Polar Pacer running watches today. Shipping now, free and fast delivery. 

Polar Running Club

If you are looking for the best running content, simply sign up and verify for the Polar Running Club, it’s free. 

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