ask the nutritionist: marathon nutrition II

I’m so glad you all enjoyed the last Marathon Nutrition post on Hydrating! It was great to hear from all the runners out there! :) This week it’s all about how and what to eat prior to your marathon (or other long, intense race).

Eating for a marathon can be hard to balance at times but with a few simple tips, you can be fueling for your running best!


Week Before Marathon:

  • Time to start increasing carbohydrates a bit – you want carbohydrates to make up about 60-70%
  • If you have been trying to lose weight throughout your training – and not replacing all of the calories that you are burning off –  this is the time to increase calories a bit to ensure you are getting enough energy

Day Before Marathon and Day Of:

  • Continue to increase carbohydrates to about 60-70%
  • Decrease gassy foods
  • Eliminate anything that might cause an upset stomach (like dairy, greasy foods, etc.)
  • Eliminate alcohol
  • Eat meals you’ve eaten before throughout training! This is not the time to try something new!
  • Increase fluids so you go into the race hydrated
  • Breakfast should be about 200 grams of carbohydrates

During Marathon:

  • Eat high glucose food like gels, gatorade, etc. so that your body can use the fuel right away
  • Again, SO IMPORTANT to train with whatever you are going to use that dayso you know how your body handles it

After Marathon:

  • Important to have a meal/meals that include protein and carbohydrate after race
  • Continue to hydrate with water! (I think a lot of marathoners enjoy a drink after a race, anyone?)
  • I don’t know about you, but I would definitely treat myself for running that far! :)

Runners – what would you add?

Up Next:

  • Sample Meal Plan

ask the nutritionist: marathon nutrition I

You’ve probably noticed by now that it is officially race season. If you haven’t…get outside!

That’s not to say that I’m running in a race, but I happen to know a few who are. :) So when Mary from Fit This Girl asked for a bit of nutrition advice regarding her upcoming marathon in May, I knew I could probably help out a few runners this race season! She’s a personal trainer and coach – so if you have running questions – ask her!

Good nutrition is essential for peak performance and since hydration is just as important as food, I thought I would start there!

Why hydrate?

  • helps produce energy
  • helps cool your body down
  • helps to transport important nutrients throughout the body
  • acts as a cushion – remember our body is made up of a LOT of water
  • protects you from becoming dehydrated

When to hydrate?

  • drink before, during and after activity
  • urine should be pale and almost colorless (the things Nutritionists have to talk about ;))
  • signs of dehydration: fatigue, flushed skin, increased body temperature
  • you can also weigh yourself before and after to make sure you are replacing lost fluids

What to hydrate with?

  • water
  • coconut water
  • watered down juice (important to note that this will not replace lost sodium)
  • sports drinks (with about 6-8% carbohydrates – the glucose in sports drinks is fuel that can be used immediately and the electrolytes replace sodium levels)
  • this may seem obvious, but NO SODA! drinks with too much sugar take longer to absorb and can cause cramps, nausea, etc.

How to hydrate during training runs/race day:

  • take water or drinks with you on long runs in a camel back, water belts, etc.
  • plan water breaks during training runs
  • take advantage of water stops during race

**Remember to try out various drinks, methods, etc. during training and not on race day! You never know what your body will or won’t like!

Up Next:

  • How to Eat
  • Sample Meal Plan

What’s the longest race you’ve ever participated in? I’ve done two half-marathons back in 2007 (?) but go through on and off running phases (currently off but Spring always changes that a bit. :))

What are your hydration tips?