Endurance Swimming – Nutrition

So, what do you take with you to eat when swimming 10.5 miles?









Having swum long endurance swims ourselves and provided the framework for nearly 100 other marathon swimmers to achieve their goals, we’ve had first hand experience of seeing what good ( and bad ) nutrional preparation, does for a swimmer over long distances.


Watching tired swimmers suddenly find new energy after taking on good feeds and fluids can be phenomenal and mentally fortifying for both swimmer and support crew.


We have no doubt that individual feed choices will be personal to each swimmers individual dietary needs, but we hope that the list you’ll find below will help you select what’s best for you.

Try them, eliminate what’s not suitable and add in what works for you, but use the guide as a minimum, to help you prepare, for what will be the most important bag of food you’ll ever take with you on a swim.


Getting your feeds wrong can mean the difference between success and failure, good nutrition and the right fluids will also make the recovery process that tiny bit easier.


Based on an average Eight hour, 10.5 mile freshwater swim.


Water – 6 X  500ml bottles


Energy Drink – 1 large sports bottle, clearly labelled


Electrolyte drink – 1 large sports bottle, clearly labelled


Warm Drink – 1 flask suitable for four cups, Hot Chocolate, Ribena, Tea.


Warm Feeds – Tiffin Tubs are perfect for keeping a selection of pre packaged feeds warm.


Soup – 1 flask, suitable for four cups


Sweet Feeds – Jaffa cakes, flapjack, chocolate bars, bananas, jelly baby’s & energy bars. Don’t rely on sweet feeds, you’ll get sick of them.


Savoury Feeds – Cubed cheese, cubed sandwiches, wraps ( again experiment with what works for you ) & any savoury snacks you’re happy with and that are easy to eat without too much chewing.


Energy gels – limit these to one for emergencies only. They can be rough on your stomach and will give you a quick boost, but with the high comes the low, so steady reliable gentle slow release feeds.


Pain killers and anti inflammatory tablets – package and label tablet amounts suitable for the 8 hour timescale – DO NOT EXCEED THE STATED DOSES.


Remember you’ll probably use between 8000-9000 calories for this distance swim so hourly feeds are essential. Oh and support crews, make sure your swimmers are weeing! If not there’s something wrong!

2017 Swim dates coming soon, happy eating and we’ll see you in the water.

Leon & Al