3 Day Menu of Easy Carb Loading
Meals for Marathoners!

Are you ready for a 3-day carb loading meal plan that you can implement in the week before your marathon?!

In this post, I want to share what a carb-loading menu could look like the week before your marathon!

Carbo Loading Meal Prep Plan for Runners

I wrote about the how and why you should carbo-load before a marathon over on this page so I will simply be laying out a meal plan for you here.

Refer to that page for guidelines on carb-loading as a marathoner.

Before you begin meal planning, if you are wondering exactly how many carbs your body needs when you are carb loading before a marathon or want to be walked through how to create your plan then EAT LIKE A MARATHONER will help customize everything to your body (gender, weight, height, etc.), goal running pace and fuel needs.

You have one shot to get your nutrition right that week before your marathon!

Let’s do it!

Alright!  Here is a 3 Day Carb Loading Meal Plan for Marathoners!

quick notes before we start:

  • I used My Fitness Pal to count the carbohydrate macros and calories for each meal.
  • Add sides (I have a list of carb loading sides and snacks below the menu plan) to any and all meals to beef up your carbohydrate intake even more as your needs require.
  • It’s good to avoid consuming many high fiber foods on the same day. If you are not used to a high fiber diet they can make you feel very bloated and uncomfortable especially when you run. These would be foods such as beans!
  • As you might notice, we try to avoid dairy when we are carb loading as it can be hard on our stomach and our running. Therefore, a lot of recipes are foregoing ingredients such as cheese.
  • Different brands will have different carbohydrate counts so stay aware by reading all of your food labels and ingredient lists!
  • This is just a sample carb loading meal plan. Feel free to mix and match the days, ingredients, recipes, etc. I also share links to other favorite recipes that you can substitute with in the recipe section! Make it work for you and eat what and makes you feel good!

Here we go!

DAY 1:


Kodiak Pancakes with Berries and Cool Whip: 262 calories and 52 grams of carbohydrates


The Brown Rice Bowl: 248 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates


Tilapia Salsa Burrito: 366 calories and 47 grams of carbohydrates

Total carbs (excluding snacks and sides): 144 grams

DAY 2:


Whole Grain Toast with Hummus: 300 calories and 48 grams of carbohydrates


Chicken Veggie Sandwich: ~314 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates


Pesto Shrimp Quinoa Skillet: 272 calories and 42 carbohydrates

Total carbs (excluding snacks and sides): 140 grams

DAY 3:


Banana Bread Oatmeal: 467 calories and 75 grams of carbohydrates


English Muffin Personal Pizza: 160 calories and 31 grams of carbohydrates


Veggie Pasta for the Win!: 116 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates

Total carbs (excluding snacks and sides): 131 grams

Alright, time to share the recipes!

Breakfast Recipes

DAY 1: Kodiak Whole Wheat Oat & Honey Pancakes

Kodiak Pancakes are basically the only pancakes that I like to eat! They have all natural, whole food ingredients, are much less processed than traditional pancake mixes and taste so delicious!

If you are not carb loading then their Protein Power Cakes are the way to go but when carb loading get the Kodiak Whole Wheat Oat and Honey Mix  that has all the healthy ingredients plus abundant complex carbohydrates, perfect for our purpose!

3 Kodiak Whole Wheat Oat & Honey Pancakes 37 grams of carbohydrates

Top With:

½ cup of blueberries: 9 grams of carbohydrates

4 Tablespoons of cool whip: 6 grams of carbohydrates

Total: 262 calories and 52 grams of carbohydrates


  • use other berries on top, 
  • sweeten with honey, 
  • or top with peanut butter and a banana!

DAY 2: Whole Grain Toast with Hummus

I am a through and through toast lover! It’s just one of those simple joys in life to me! :)

2 slices of Dave’s Killer Bread with 21 Whole Grains & Seeds: 44 grams of carbohydrates

Topped with:

2 Tablespoons of Hummus (I love the Sabra brand!): 4 grams of carbohydrates


300 calories and 48 grams of carbohydrates


  • use your whole-grain bread of choice, 
  • top with peanut butter and banana, 
  • top with a bit of butter and eat with fruit for a sweet and salty combination, 
  • top with avocado, 
  • or cook up some eggs to go on top or the side!

DAY 3: Banana Bread Oatmeal

   ½ c. quick oats: 51 grams of carbohydrates

    ½ banana: 23 grams of carbohydrates

    1 tsp of stevia (this is the kind I purchase): 0 carbohydrates

    1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts (optional): 1 gram of carbohydrates

    Heavy handed sprinkling of cinnamon!


Place everything in a single serving size bowl.

Pour enough boiling water over the top to cover everything.

Let set for 5 minutes and then enjoy!


467 calories and 75 grams of carbohydrates


  • use raisins, 
  • berries 
  • or sweeten with honey vs. stevia

Other Carb Loading Breakfast Ideas: 

 6 Pre-Race Breakfast Meals Ideas that you can make the night before!

I also recently made this Baked Blueberry Oatmeal that I found through my sister-in-law (can be made in advance as well!) and it was absolutely heavenly! It would make a great carb-loading breakfast. (442 calories and 67 grams of carbohydrates)


DAY 1: The Brown Rice Bowl

Such a catchy name, right? ;)

For this is a super simple lunch! Make it with your favorite choices. Ready?!

I found this idea on The Lindsay Report’s Instagram page and have loved the simplicity of the meal ever since!

½ cup of cooked brown rice: 25 grams of carbohydrates

Add the veggies over top of your rice:

    Green onions

    Bell Peppers


    Chopped Romaine Lettuce (or spinach, arugla, or kale)

    Black olives


Top With:

Salsa, guacamole, season with lime juice, if you want sour cream go lightly or use plain greek yogurt!

Eat with a spoon or a serving of Tostitos Organic Tortilla chips (20 grams of carbohydrates) for extra crunch!


This does not include any of the toppings as they are mainly veggies although they still have complex carbohydrates. Therefore, this is only counting the brown rice and organic tortilla chips) 248 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates


If beans do not bother your running or digestive system, then black beans are delicious on top of the rice! You could also add in chicken, tilapia, or shrimp!

DAY 2: Chicken Veggie Sandwich

Remember that  Dave’s Killer Bread with 21 Whole Grains & Seeds from your Hummus Toast breakfast? Pull it out again to make this chicken sandwich!

2 slices of Dave’s Killer Bread with 21 Whole Grains & Seeds: 44 grams of carbohydrates

3 oz. of chicken breast: 0 carbohydrates

Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles (all great water dense veggies to up your hydration!)


 ~314 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates


  • whole grain bread of choice, 
  • mix chicken with mayo, mustard, or sauce of choice but go lightly!, 
  • season with your favorite seasonings, 
  • add your personal favorite sandwich toppings, 
  • choose tuna, salmon, tilapia or other meat/protein alternative.

DAY 3: English Muffin Personal Pizza

Quick, easy, light and delicious way to enjoy pizza while you are getting race ready!

1 Whole Wheat English Muffin: 26 grams of carbohydrates

Top With:

Pizza sauce (can also use spaghetti, marinara sauce): 5 grams of carbohydrates

The seasonings are crucial so add: basil, garlic powder (or salt), and oregano, or your favorites

Sprinkle with a bit of mozzarella cheese (not too much, remember we are trying to avoid dairy as much as possible but a little won’t hurt!)

Any Other toppings that you prefer:

  • Mushrooms
  • bell peppers
  • olives
  • turkey pepperoni

Once everything is layered and topped, cook in a toaster oven or your oven until crisp at 350! (If you prefer your English muffins extra crispy then toast them in a toaster first, then top and then heat everything in the oven or microwave.)


160 calories and 31 grams of carbohydrates

Other Carb Loading Lunch Ideas: 

This Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Baked Potato! 


DAY 1: Tilapia Salsa Wrap

1 Whole Wheat Mission Tortilla (burrito size): 34 grams of carbohydrates

1 Chopped and cooked Tilapia fillet seasoned with cumin and your favorite Mexican seasonings

1/4 cup of cooked brown rice (make extra for DAY 3’s lunch!): 11 grams of carbohydrates

Favorite Salsa of choice - enough to make it as saucy as you like (I prefer the Pace brand, thick and chunky, fresh salsa, or fresh pico de gallo): ~ 2 grams of carbohydrates


Mix the tilapia, rice, and salsa together and wrap in the tortilla. Top with hot sauce or a bit of sour cream.

Total: 366 calories and 47 grams of carbohydrates

Alternatives: put together and then bake in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees for crispier burrito.

DAY 2: Pesto (or Marinara) Shrimp Quinoa Skillet

1 cup cooked quinoa: 39 grams of carbohydrates

Pesto sauce to taste (or use marinara sauce if you prefer): 2 grams of carbohydrates

Several pieces of cooked shrimp to toss with!

Saute in a separate pan:

½ cup of squash: 1 carbohydrate

¼ of an onion

3 mushrooms

½ a bell pepper

(any other veggies that you love sauteed!)

When everything is done cooking, combine and mix with the pesto sauce and shrimp!

Alternatives: Add in cooked sausage or chicken! (This is where leftover meat and fish comes in handy!)

Total: 272 calories and 42 carbohydrates

DAY 3: Veggie Pasta for the Win!

Of course we wouldn’t be able to complete this carb loading menu plan without pasta! You do not need to douse it with fatty/heavy sauces.

Here’s my simple recipe to get some carbs in fast.

1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta: 25 grams of carbohydrates

After you drain the water add (while keeping on low heat):

  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • (cooked) zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Season with lots of basil, oregano and any of your other favorite spices
  • Mix everything with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, or a bit of butter

Add any meat that you prefer or devour it without! (It’s perfect with chicken...can you tell I love chicken?)

Heat through and enjoy!

Alternatives: you could mix with marinara sauce as well vs. the olive oil.

Total: (this is just counting the pasta as the calories in the veggies will be minimal.)116 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates

Other Carb Loading Dinner Ideas: 

Higher Complex Carbohydrate Snacks/Sides to Compliment your Carb Loading Meals:

  • Applesauce
  • Potatoes - baked, roasted, sauteed in olive oil
  • Roasted Veggies
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Fruit, especially apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, cantaloupe, and watermelon!
  • Salad (turn it into more of a meal such by adding chicken, tuna, or salmon and nuts and seeds) - top with water dense vegetables such as cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, and tomatoes to up your pre-race hydration game!
  • Whole wheat crackers (such as wheat thins) or rolls
  • Low fat tortilla chips
  • Granola
  • Handful of raisins
  • Prep some healthy muffins that you can grab. Try to use whole wheat flour and sweeten with honey or stevia vs. sugar. The Kodiak Whole Wheat Oat and Honey Mix actually has a recipe to turn it into apple cinnamon muffins as well!

In conclusion to this meal plan:

I hope that was insightful to you as plan for what to eat the week before your marathon!

It doesn’t have to be complicated by I know that I always enjoy examples and seeing what other people do and so I wanted to share and hopefully help a runner out!

Remember, if you are looking for the next best thing to a personal nutrition coach and want your own personalized carbo-loading plan tailored to your body and your running goals (+ everything else you need to train and prep nutritionally for a marathon) then your answer is the EAT LIKE A MARATHONER Nutrition Course

It will get you to that finish line with a nutrition strategy that works for you!

Happy Carbo-Loading!

Related Pages To Carb Loading:

I'd Love to stay in touch!
Join 23,000+ Other runners and receive my weekly training newsletter!

I'll send you my  free 24 Hour Timeline Checklist of Things You Should Do After a Long Run  when you sign up! 


As featured on:


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Alternate Images: