How To Prepare for a Marathon 2023

Are you gearing up to run a marathon in 2023? Whether it's your first or your tenth, a marathon is a significant athletic accomplishment that requires dedication, discipline, and proper preparation.

With some of the biggest marathon events around the corner, such as the London Marathon, we’ve put together the only guide needed to ensure you get over that finish line!

In this comprehensive guide, we will share expert advice on nutrition, stretches, and sleep, to help you become a marathon-ready athlete. So, let's dive into the world of marathon preparation and get ready to conquer 26.2 miles!


The first and foremost aspect of marathon preparation is nutrition. Your body needs the right fuel to perform optimally during training and on race day. As one of the leading nutritional brands in the UK, we firmly believe in a balanced approach to nutrition that focuses on the following elements:


The three primary macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – play a crucial role in your marathon training. Research by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine supports these guidelines for optimal performance.

  1. Carbohydrates: You want to feel energetic if you’re looking to complete a marathon and as Carbs being your body's primary source of energy, they should make up 50-60% of your daily calorie intake. Opt for complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide a steady stream of energy during your runs! Specific examples of these complex carbs include brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and whole-wheat pasta.
  2. Proteins: Proteins are essential for muscle repair and recovery. Aim to consume 15-20% of your daily calories from lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, and beans. If you’re looking to get your protein fix on the go, look for protein bars or protein shakes that you can use to refuel on your run! This is arguably one of the most important aspects of the diet for recovering muscles and ensuring they’re ready to carry you for a long-distance run.
  3. Fats: Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are crucial for hormone production and overall health. This may not sound important for long distant running, but hormone regulation is fundamental to ensuring your stress levels remain stable – we touch on this later in the guide! Ideally, these healthy fats should account for 25-30% of your daily caloric intake. Let's break it down with an example:


TIP: to work out the recommended calorie % of each macronutrient needed in your diet you need your ‘daily caloric requirement’ aka your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Here’s an awesome BMR calculator that allows you to work this out easily!

Once you’ve got your BMR, you can simply break down the % of each macronutrient required by a simple calculation. *Note we’ve used 2,500 calories as an example

For example, if ‘Healthy Fats’ should account for 25% of the daily calorie intake (2500), the sum would be;

25% of 2,500 calories = 0.25 * 2,500 = 625 calories (out of 2500)

For context that is approximately 3 small/medium avocados or 3 pieces of 100g salmon! This of course should be varied throughout the day, please don’t go eating 3 avocados in one sitting.



In addition to these macronutrients, it’s vital to stay well-hydrated and replenish electrolytes lost through sweat during your training. Drink water throughout the day and consider sports drinks containing electrolytes during long runs. Grenade Sugar-Free Energy Drinks are a good example, packed with electrolytes, BCAAs and vitamins that won’t give you that crashing feeling in the middle of the run!



Your meal timing can impact your energy levels and performance. However, this one is often down to preference, the pros who’ve been running/training for a long time will have gauged the ‘sweet spot’ for eating. But if you’re new to training for a marathon, the rule of thumb is that you should aim to eat a carbohydrate-rich meal 3-4 hours before your long runs and consume a recovery meal with a mix of carbs and protein within 30-60 minutes after your run. Avoid any food or lots of liquids an hour before the run, if you can’t avoid then try a banana or a handful of nuts!

Hydrating with Grenade Energy

Incorporating a regular stretching routine into your marathon training can help improve flexibility, increase range of motion, and reduce the risk of injury. Here are five essential and simple stretches that every marathoner should incorporate into their routine:

Calf stretches:

One of the most common injuries for runners is related to the calf – so do this stretch before every run. Stand facing a wall with your right foot behind your left. Press your right heel into the ground and lean forward. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Hamstring Stretch:

Sit on the ground with your left leg extended and the right foot against your inner left thigh. Reach for your left foot and hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Hip Flexor Stretch:

Kneel on your right knee with your left foot in front of you. Gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your right hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Piriformis Stretch:

Lie on your back with your right ankle resting on your left knee. Gently pull your left knee towards your chest, feeling a stretch in your right hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

TIP: Throw in ankle roll in, this isn’t a stretch as such, more of a ‘loosening’ of the ankle! It’s important to consider our ankles take the first brunt of impact when running, simply lift your leg from the ground and roll your ankle around in circular motions for 15 seconds.


Don’t sleep on the importance of sleep! Sleep is often overlooked by runners, but it is one of the most essential aspects of marathon preparation. The benefits of being on good sleep are endless, as high-quality sleep helps improve blood flow, focus, boosts recovery, and aids in overall performance. Follow these tips to make the most of your sleep during marathon training, or even the big night before:


Prioritize Sleep:

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure your body has adequate time to recover and rebuild. Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, to maintain your body's internal clock. Smart watches can be good for helping you monitor this. However, saying ‘sleep more’ is easier said than done for a lot of us so here are a few tips which may sound simple, but will go a long way!


Establish a Bedtime Routine:

It might sound trivial, but developing a pre-sleep ritual that signals your body that it's time to wind down is a fantastic way to prompt sleep. If you’re a parent, you know that putting a toddler to bed without a bedtime routine is a nightmare – and if they don’t sleep well, they’re tired or upset the next day. As adults we’re very much the same, so don’t ignore a good bedtime routine!

A good bedtime routine should start an hour or so before you intend to sleep, look to include reading, gentle stretching, or meditation – anything that puts your body and mind into a relaxed state. Try to avoid working on tasks an hour before hitting the hay, you should also look to not eat up to an hour before bed too!


Limit Screen Time Before Bed:

This is one of those tips that feels impossible to avoid in this day and age! But the blue light emitted by our phones and laptops can heavily interfere with your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. You may feel that your sleep isn’t interrupted, but it does impact the quality of sleep through Rapid Eye Movement (REMs).

Lots of studies indicate that avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime will help promote better quality sleep, a must if you’re doing long-distance running!


Manage Stress:

Marathon training can be physically and mentally demanding. Practice stress-management techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness meditation to help calm your mind and improve sleep quality that bit more!


Create a Sleep-friendly Environment:

Design a bedroom that promotes relaxation and restfulness. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. For the perfect example, check out this DREAM bedroom 😜

Salted Caramel Bedsheet

TIP: One popular trick at Grenade HQ – listening to white noise or 432 Hz sounds (find this on YouTube) help to stop your mind going in circles when trying to sleep!

Preparing for a marathon is a journey that requires dedication, commitment, and proper planning. It can all seem a bit daunting, but changes don’t have to be immediate – just like starting running, you gradually improve over time. Break down nutrition, stretches and sleep into their own mini goals and the benefits of doing so will help you cross the finish line with confidence.

So lace up your shoes, fuel your body, and get ready to achieve greatness in 2023!