Marathon Training Nutrition - Sandi Louise Ross

Marathon Training Nutrition

Marathon Training Nutrition

Getting the Best Start to your Marathon

Guest Blog Post

Nutrition in an essential part of any training program. A well-balanced diet being the key to efficient recovery, proper body maintenance and required energy levels. Nutrition before, during and after a big event is especially complex, and the fine details of the strategy require individual athlete parameters, i.e. everyone has their own tricks to be at their best.

However, there are several ways how to enable your body’s best performance on the event day.

Daily Training Nutrition

Sports nutrition can be categorised to pre-workout, during a workout and post-workout foods. The pre-workout and during workout types of food should be easily digestible and fast-absorbing simple sugars; their goal is to supplement readily-accessible sugar supplies in your blood and muscles. Snacks such as muesli bars, bananas, dried fruit, cookies and sweets, as well as specialised sports’ supplements, such as gels and chews will ensure a stable supply of energy to maintain your activity. If you are aiming to lose some weight, you can try to skip the pre-exercise snack.

The post workout food is of major importance to building your muscle strength and speeding up the recovery. A combination of protein and carbohydrate (frequently used ratio is 1:3, but it will vary with your disciple and goals) is the best way to replenish your muscles, providing the necessary building blocks to recover and strengthen. Make sure to eat something within 30 minutes after the workout; or, the sooner – the better, as this is the time your muscles do their repairs. Sports nutrition brands are also producing a number of well-balanced formulas of fast-absorbing carbohydrate and protein for ultimate recovery. It is worth to try these, especially if your train frequently and go hard.

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Proper hydration is absolutely essential to keep you at your best. Get into the habit of drinking a lot before, during and after your exercise. Drink even before you feel any thirst. Avoid highly sugary drinks on the daily basis (unless it is part of your pre-exercise or during exercise carbohydrate intake) and choose either still water, nut milks, natural juice, coconut water, and hydration tablet-supplemented water.

Before the Big Event

I personally usually choose a light dinner with rice, fish and some steamed veggies; I eat these sorts of meals all the time, and I know well, how my body will handle it. This is highly subjective, though; I once had a chat with the winner of one race I participated in about the food he ate. Apparently, he had Subway for dinner and a protein bar for breakfast… The message here is to stick to the meals you know work for you and that you’ve been eating throughout any exercise training program.

During the Event

Food should be consumed before you feel hungry (as it takes time for the food to be processed), in a form of easily digestible carbohydrates. There is a massive supply of food designed for race day consumption – gels, chews: with caffeine, without caffeine, of all flavours and consistencies. I would seriously advise trying the exact gel you are planning to take at your race in a training setting, to make sure you can tolerate it under physical exertion. Also, take the gel with water.

Again, and most importantly – do not forget to hydrate! Especially on longer events, especially if it is warm and humid. Drink enough and drink before you feel thirsty to both maximise your performance and purely to allow you to keep on going.

After the Event

The exhaustion and hunger after completing the event will get you sorted; surely there will not be any issues of getting some calories in. Remember to include some protein and appropriate hydration after the event. Then, let your body rest; give at least several days before you get back to your training.

Good Luck!

photoAbout The Author

I’m Dan, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveller. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!


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