The choice of food supplements for the marathon

While dietary supplements are frequently taken in strength sports (bodybuilding, weightlifting), some of these products have been popular with endurance athletes for several years. Indeed, any athlete with a diligent practice will struggle to provide his body with everything he needs every day, even with a balanced diet. Dietary supplements are an excellent solution to the difficulty of adopting restrictive sports nutrition, allowing amateur athletes to ensure a continuous supply of proteins, carbohydrates and mineral salts, with the aim of improving recovery and maximizing performance. So, what dietary supplements can be useful for the marathon runner?

Supplementation for the aerobic pathway

The energy system used when we run a marathon is the aerobic sector. In other words, the body uses carbohydrates (sugar) and oxygen that we breathe to produce energy. However, the carbohydrates stored by our body represent the equivalent of an hour and a half of effort at marathon pace. : impossible to depend only on this stock to sustain ourselves during our race.

Food supplements for exercise

  • The isotonic drink : a mixture of water and sugar that allows you to ingest carbohydrates while hydrating, in small frequent doses (every 10 minutes).
  • Energy gels : very concentrated in sugar and which make it possible to provide a large dose of carbohydrates at regular intervals (every 20 minutes for example).
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Solid supplies are also possible, in the form of energy barsbut more difficult to manage on an intense effort such as a marathon; they are more suitable for medium or long distance trail running.

Some athletes will be able to tolerate “only” 50 grams of carbohydrates per hour, while others will be able to tolerate 100. Likewise, some drinks may be more difficult to assimilate than others. Everyone reacts differently to the different types of supplies that existwhich is why it is essential to test your strategy in training to avoid any inconvenience on race day.

Beta-alanine and arginine


It is an amino acid derivative which, when metabolized, becomes carnosine. The main role of carnosine is to buffer excess acidity in the tissues, including lactic acid. By adding beta-alanine to your supplementation, you can hope to lengthen the running time without suffering from these terrible muscle burns. Also, beta-alanine is a great ally for recovery, so we suggest mixing 1-2g of beta-alanine into your BCAAs after each ride.


This exceptional amino acid promotes the release of nitric oxide, the gas that dilates our blood vessels during physical stress. By improving blood flow, we also benefit from better oxygenation and better assimilation of nutrients from our diet. Consider a 5g dose of arginine before a race to get the most benefit from it.

supplements for recovery

protein bars


As part of a marathon preparation, the sequence of sessions can be very restrictive muscularly speaking, especially the last very busy weeks before the sharpening period. Intense sessions and PPG can leave traces and it is essential to recover well in order to be able to continue the sessions without risk of injury.

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To do this, it is advisable to include BCAAs in its nutrition. These are amino acids that help the body to assimilate proteins, and to use them wisely to repair muscle micro-lesions associated with intense efforts (As a reminder, it is this repair process that allows your muscles to grow stronger). Placed right after training, or when waking up on rest days, a dose of BCAA will speed up your muscle recovery and will help you throughout your marathon preparation.

Prevention and treatment of injuries

Harpagophytum, collagen, vitamin C, glucosamine and chondroitin are the basis of the arsenal to prevent and treat joint pain.

And to amplify the anti-inflammatory effect, opt for good quality omega 3, to consume during meals in addition to your supplement for the joints.

The basis of marathon runner supplementation: vitamins

Vitamins and minerals

Our food is impoverished, and even within the framework of a balanced, varied and even organic food program, it is unlikely that a marathon runner will be able to find a sufficient quantity there of these microscopic elements that are vitamins and minerals. In order not to suffer from any deficiency, to be able to assimilate food and to perform ever stronger, a supplement of vitamins and minerals is absolutely necessary. It should contain all water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as essential minerals.


  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • superoxide dismutase
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • green tea
  • alpha lipoic acid
  • methionine and cysteine

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