woman drinking water

The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon race day is quickly approaching, which means after months of training it’s time to start preparing for the big race. Hydration and nutrition will be vital to your race-day success.

Leslie Bonci, director of Sports Nutrition at UPMC Sports Medicine, offers marathon nutrition and hydration tips for before, during, and after the race.

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Before Race Day

  1. Increase the amount of water and sports drinks consumed.
  2. Drink 16 oz. of water the night before.
  3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals that include an increased amount of carbohydrates.

Race Day

  1. Drink 16 oz. of water when you first wake up.
  2. Eat breakfast! Bananas, bagels, or oatmeal are good picks.
  3. 10 minutes before the race, drink 8 oz. of a sports drink.

During the Race

  1. Drink 14 to 40 oz. of fluid for every hour of running.
  2. Alternate between drinking water and sports drinks to help prevent muscle cramping.

After the Race

  1. Continue hydrating with water and sports drinks, especially before post-race celebrations.
  2. Add protein to your carbs to help muscles rebuild and recover.

General Tips

  1. When hydrating, it’s important to include both water and sports drinks into your routine. Both help maintain the body’s hydration, and sports drinks also help prevent muscle cramping and hyponatremia (a low level of sodium in the blood).
  2. Practice gulping water out of paper cups while running.
  3. Use sports gels or honey to get extra boosts of energy while running.

Following these tips will complement all of the hard work and training you’ve done over the last few months, and allow you to get the most out of your run. More information is available on preparing for race day on the UPMC Sports Medicine Marathon Training pages.

Recipes from Leslie

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.