Just as important as your training schedule, focusing on your nutrition during marathon training is a crucial step. In the midst of planning and scheduling time to run, it can be easy to overlook food concerns but it is always important to remember healthy marathon training nutrition. Below are three different areas of concern as well as some tips when it comes to marathon training nutrition.
As you enter marathon training your body will need 2000-3000 calories a day. Of these calories, approximately 65% should come from good carbohydrates. In this category the word “good” is crucial as you remember healthy marathon training nutrition. Good carbohydrates will come in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some of the best carbohydrates for runners to consume are bananas, berries, brown rice, lowfat yogurt, oatmeal (not the packaged filled with sugar kind) and whole grain breads and pastas. It can be easy to overload on the wrong kind of carbs (think potato chips) so remember that healthy marathon nutrition consists of limited, good carbohydrates.
You will also need adequate amounts of good protein as you remember healthy marathon training nutrition. About 10% of your calories should come from proteins. Proteins are important for runners because they promote muscle recovery and provide long sources of energy. Just like carbohydrates, some proteins are better than others for runners to consume. Remember healthy marathon training nutrition involves tuna, almonds, chicken, eggs, grass-fed beef, turkey, whey protein isolate (this is especially helpful for muscle recovery after long runs) and salmon, just to name a few.
Just like you want to consume good proteins and carbohydrates during training, you should also remember healthy marathon training nutrition includes good fats. Less than 30% of your total caloric intake should come from fats and less than 10% of that total should come from saturated fats. So, if you are eating 3,000 calories a day as an endurance athlete, then only 1000 of those calories should come from fat. Good fats for runners include nuts, seeds, fish, chicken and beans. Look for fats that are liquid (not solid) at room temperature to find the healthiest choices.
In addition to carbohydrates, proteins and fats, remember healthy marathon training nutrition involves adequate hydration. Keep a water source with you at all times and stay hydrated throughout the day when not running. On long runs be prepared to ingest water at specific intervals and keep small snacks handy to keep a steady supply of good energy close at hand.
Remembering healthy marathon training nutrition in addition to following a training plan will move you in the right direction and set you apart from other athletes who fail to consider the types of food they are eating. Proper nutrition will make sure that your body is running smoothly and efficiently on the day of the race and give you the edge over others. Try to eat healthy as much as you can and allow yourself limited treats, as the real treat will be the rush of finishing the marathon!