Marathon Training : Nutrition
Probably two of the most common questions that come to mind when training for a run of any distance are how much should I run and how often? But one of the key questions to be answered is, what should I eat?
Long distance running requires a whole lot of discipline, energy, and effort so what you feed your body is key. And, one of the keys to energy is… CARBS! You’ve heard me say it before, carbs get a bad rap BECAUSE not all carbs are created equal.
Carbs are everywhere. Without even realizing it, people are consuming carbs every single day. Breads, pasta, potatoes – those are the obvious carbs. But, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts… these are all rich in carbs, too. So, which carbs are the best to fuel you through marathon training and to the finish line? The truth is you are going to need combinations of both slow digesting carbs and those for quick releasing energy, too.
Instead of categorizing carbs into good vs bad, let’s quantify them by their fuel efficiency. What makes a carb more or less fuel efficient? The density, nutrient properties, fiber content, and sugars.
For endurance training, slow burning, fuel sustaining carbs are essential. However, during long runs, you will also need quick energy boosts. I feel it is also important to note that to create a fuel efficient body, the emphasis is on a healthy digestive tract. Clogged “insides” will slow you down, can cause bloat, gas, and just plain give you a tummy ache.
During training, before long runs while training and before the race, eat more complex carbs like these:
*Yams or Sweet Potatoes
*Whole wheat bread
*Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, peas
*Healthy fats from avocado, salmon, seeds like chia, black sesame
During long runs of 9, 10 miles or more, have easy, simple energy boosting snacks handy such as:
*energy gel shots (not energy drinks which are commonly high in caffeine)
*nut butter packs like almond butter
*all-natural snack bars such as Larabars
*try my signature Protein Power Snax, recipe here: Susan’s Protein Power Snax
Immediately after a run, make sure to eat lean proteins to begin muscle repair. Some of my go-to protein:
*grilled or baked salmon
*broiled, grilled, baked or poached boneless, skinless chicken
*eggs, hard-boiled, poached, scrambled
Replenish carb energy stores with fruits and vegetables like:
*red, yellow and orange bell peppers
*nuts such as walnuts, almonds and cashews
Recommended “carb load” meals include at least one or more of the carbs listed above plus lean protein and vegetables choices.
Foods (and beverages) to avoid while training:
*Avoid dehydrating drinks like those high in caffeine and alcohol
If possible, avoid alcohol all-together while training. It makes you tired, dehydrates you and interferes with metabolism. Caffeine is also dehydrating. Try to limit caffeine to one cup of coffee per day. Avoid sugary sodas.
*Dairy products like milk and cheese – they interfere with digestion
*White starchy carbs like hamburger buns, white breads
*Enjoy grilled hamburgers made from grass-fed beef or bison on whole wheat buns
*Substitute french fries with baked sweet potato fries
*Pizza – stay away from traditional pizza and go for whole wheat crust options or vegan cauliflower crusted pizza
Eat MORE of the healthy fats from:
*and the fats from fish and grass-fed proteins
Before and during training for any type of endurance sport or race, consult your doctor for a physical evaluation and diet and nutrition changes.
Another great resource for marathon and sports training and nutrition is Jan Dowell’s website: Everyday-Sports-Nutrition-For-Women.com
RUN WITH ME! The Kauai Marathon is Sunday, September 6, 2015 on the beautiful island of Kauai and starting in Poipu Beach. Registration and details, here: The Kauai Marathon
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