RUNNERS from across the region will be lining up at the start line of the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in a month's time.

A gruelling 26.2 miles is all that stands between the thousands of runners and the finish line at The University of York.

The athletes set to tackle the course should be well into their training and ramping up the mileage as they prepare for one of the toughest challenges they will face.

Nutrition before, during and after the race is a key part of any runner's routine, and with 29 days to go, one health expert is urging them to start thinking about their diet.

Angela Shepherd, a nutrition adviser from Acomb, believes the best way to prepare for running for an average of four hours is to start eating carbohydrates as soon as possible to help your body store much-needed energy.

She said: "The theory of excessive carb-loading – avoiding carbs for a few days then stuffing yourself stupid with them – is seen as a bit outdated now. There’s only so much energy your muscles can store.

"However, a few days beforehand it is a good idea to include some good carbohydrates in your meals; things like wholemeal pasta and bread, pulses, brown or basmati rice, fruit and vegetables.

"There’s no need to eat loads more than usual, simply adjust the proportions of your meals to include more carbs and less protein, as they will provide your muscles with most of the energy they’ll be using as you run.

"On marathon morning you’ll need a breakfast that provides you with good energy but doesn’t take too long to digest.

"Different things work better for different bodies; hopefully you will have experimented in training to find out what suits you best. Many people like white toast or porridge with jam or maple syrup."

Last year, 6,100 runners tackled the route around York and into the surrounding countryside, contributing an estimated £1 million to the local economy.

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