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Getting enough food in is crucial, but also involves dancing on a knife edge – too much and you could be weighed down and feeling ill. Research suggests that 1.5-1.8 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight is optimal for aerobic performance. For a 150-pound runner that amounts to 225-270 grams, which is around 1,000 calories. This might sound like a lot to consume before a hard effort – the key is to get it in early. Three to four hours before the race is ideal according to the American College of Sports Medicine, allowing enough time to digest, leaving you hopefully with an empty stomach and replete glycogen stores. Make sure to stay hydrated as well.

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