Dina's New York City Marathon Nutrition Plan

This coming Sunday is the NYC marathon (NYCM). To be honest, I have only trained the past 6 weeks for this race because I spent a big part of the summer training for my first half ironman triathlon which took place mid-September. I am not new to marathons, although I typically spend more focused time training for them (I began this year training three months for Boston). So, despite me being as physically prepared for this race as I’d like, I am still super excited for the opportunity to run the NYCM. I can’t tell you the number of times people have said “This is the greatest marathon I’ve ever done” or “That is the only marathon I would ever do again”. I love events that change people’s lives in any memorable way.

Although I am still a few days out from race day, I thought I would share with you some of my nutrition plan. I arrive in NYC on Friday afternoon with my best support system ever, my husband! We are staying with a dear friend who lives on Manhattan’s upper west side, so I’ve asked her to take me to the nearest Whole Foods so that I can get my food necessities for the weekend. And yes, I do have a grocery list ready to go. Believe me, having a food plan will make me more at ease going into race day.

There is no carbo loading this week since I’m in taper mode. There will be no traditional carb loading on Saturday either. This means no pasta, rice, bread, etc. This is how I’ve trained myself since the beginning of this year, following metabolic efficiency training. I have trained my body to not need a high carbohydrate load, especially not the high carb diet you hear about in traditional sports nutrition guidelines. I will get ample carbs from fruit, veggies, greek yogurt, and nuts during the day on Saturday. My pre-race dinner will be my usual, or as my friends say “Dina’s special sauce” (although it is actually sauce-less): chicken breast, steamed broccoli, sweet potato wedges with ketchup, and water. I do plan to have a couple nibbles of dark chocolate after dinner with some chamomile tea while I finish getting my race day gear in order.

Ready for my complex race day nutrition plan? Here is my Plan A: (note that times may vary slightly since I am waiting to finalize my departure time from my friend’s house):

  • 5am: water, coffee
  • 6:30am: 1/2 packet of Generation UCAN Vanilla mixed in water
  • 7:30am: water + SaltStick capsules
  • 8:45am: Generation UCAN Cran-Raz with other 1/2 packet of Vanilla mixed in water with First Endurance Pre-Race (dosed by body weight)
  • 9:40am: race start (I’m in the 19th corral so actual start time will probably be closer to 10am)

During the race: water as needed. Gum. SaltStick capsules hourly with water. That’s it.

Crazy? Maybe, but it’s my Plan A. Yep, I have a Plan B which is to carry a few GU Chomps in my shorts pocket.

Stay tuned for results next week. Oh, one last thought... I hope one day a question like “what is your race day nutrition plan?” will be as popular and exciting as “what is your goal time for the marathon?”.


Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD


Fuel4mance, LLC