Susannah Scaroni Shares Her Top Five Race-Day Nutrition Tips

Susannah Scaroni trains with the world-renowned University of Illinois wheelchair racing contingent and will be running the TCS New York City Marathon for the fourth time on Sunday, November 6.

The two-time Paralympian has won both the Los Angeles and Twin Cities Marathons twice, and made the Boston Marathon podium in 2014 with a third-place finish.

Off the roads, her passion for sports nutrition led her to a degree in dietetics, and for the past two years, Scaroni has worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee, advising and monitoring athletes on hydration, nutrition, and changes in body weight.

While training for the TCS New York City Marathon, Scaroni shared her top race-day nutrition tips with the NYRR community, noting that when you eat matters just as much as what you eat.

Susannah Scaroni’s Marathon-Day Nutrition Tips


  • Three hours before: Eat a meal that will digest slowly and provide long-term energy. Go for a mix of carbohydrates and protein, like a bagel with peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, or oatmeal with yogurt, plus plenty of fluids. Incorporate caffeine only if your body is accustomed to it.
  • One hour before: Eat or drink something with simple sugars that can be digested by the time you reach the start line, such as Gatorade or a gel.
  • Avoid high-fiber foods and anything you haven’t eaten before a long training run. “Stick to what you know,” says Scaroni. “I know people say that all the time, but I really think it’s true.”

During the Race

  • Digest something, whether it’s a sports drink or a gel, about 90 minutes into your run to restock your body with carbohydrates and avoid hitting “the wall.” Get in the habit of doing this during your long training runs, too.


  • Within 20 minutes after finishing your race, have fluids, carbohydrates, and protein--in that order. Chocolate milk is a perfect recovery option, while soy milk, yogurt, and sports drinks will also get the job done. “You’ll feel so much better the rest of the day,” Scaroni says.

Get a peek at Scaroni’s training for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon; follow her on Twitter @KenyanScaroni.

By Stuart Lieberman