Chicago Marathon: Nutrition -- What to Eat and Drink Racing Coverage || For more, return to our Complete Chicago Marathon Coverage

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At least two hours before the race, I like to eat about 600 calories, typically a bagel, banana, and energy bar. You coffee drinkers will also want to load up with a little eye-opening caffeine.

If you expect you might experience cramps during the race, consider taking a salt pill. And, of course, begin sipping water or sports drink when you wake up. Then I try to limit fluids in the hour before the race, to minimize the need for, shall we say, pit stops on the course.

My rules of thumb for race nutrition and hydration on the course: drink something every two miles, and take in 100 calories (I use GU) every 4 miles. This approach can be a Wall Buster, it keeps me hydrated and relatively energized through those tough miles, to the finish.

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