The Best Nutrition for Marathon Runners

The secret to a great workout, and therefore a great marathon, is a body that is stocked with the right nutrition before, during and after a run. Vegetables, protein, fruits, dairy and carbs are all essential to keep the body fuelled and prepared for muscle recovery. You should use your training time to test which […]

Health Running Brian Webb

This article was published on March 10th, 2014

Power Bar protein bars and Power Gels for marathon runnersThe secret to a great workout, and therefore a great marathon, is a body that is stocked with the right nutrition before, during and after a run.

Vegetables, protein, fruits, dairy and carbs are all essential to keep the body fuelled and prepared for muscle recovery. You should use your training time to test which pre-workout drinks, gels and bars works best for you and your body.

In general, when it comes to nutrition for marathon runners, always follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, stick to a clean diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and lots of water. Stay away from complex carbs, sugars, and fats.

Loading on the carbs the night before a run is important. Carbohydrates help to prevent muscles from losing glycogen, which is why many marathon runners are provided bagels after a race. The night before a run, your dinner should be made up of 55-65 percent carbohydrates.

Protein should cover 10-15 percent of your night-before meal. Chicken and turkey are both sources of high-protein (and low in fat), which keeps the body healthy through enzymes and hormones that encourage growth, healing, digestion, fitness, immunity, weight management, alertness and positive attitude.

Fats should make up less than 30 percent of your total intake the night before a race and only 10 percent of your intake for the whole day before a race. It’s important to avoid deep-fried foods. These give very little energy and will negatively impact your performance.

Following a race, the body must work to recover the bones, cells and tissue that felt the impact of the run. Refuel your body with protein and carbohydrates to begin recovery mode.

Post-workout, the body requires 20-25 grams of protein within 25 minutes of completing exercise. This short time span provides the biggest benefit to rebuild muscles, delivering greater strength and maximizing the workout. Without consuming protein in the 25 minutes following a workout, you succeeded in burning off calories but won’t notice any long-term muscle growth or strength.

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