Marathon Running Nutrition Tips While Training

Have a marathon coming up? Here are some marathon nutrition tips for training and race-day to help keep you in top shape. 

As the saying goes, “not planning is planning to fail” and this holds especially true for marathon runners. To keep energy levels up and avoid crashing, ensure that you have a marathon diet plan and a race-day hydration plan. Eat a small meal or two four hours before the race – make sure that you do not try any new foods to avoid any unexpected reactions. As a part of your marathon nutrition, make it a habit to bring and eat small snacks that are high on the glycemic index on runs longer than one hour.

It is important for your marathon diet plan to not wait until you are hungry to eat, especially during longer runs. Knowing your body and when to refuel before waiting for a rumbling stomach is crucial for healthy marathon nutrition. The body stores a maximum of 2000 kilocalories of glycogen, which it quickly burns after 90 minutes or so.  Research shows that the typical 145 lb male burns 100 calories/mile with 80 of those calories coming from carbohydrates and 20 from fat. 

Another way to keep energy up during your marathon diet plan is with caffeine – but only use this if you regularly consume it and have a plan in place to balance caffeine intake with water and carbohydrate intake. Energy gels and sports drinks also contain carbohydrates and, when used properly, are a good supplement to your GI snacks. Incorporate these energy gels in your marathon diet plan and consider using them as a chaser after re-hydrating with water. NutriFit also makes a wonderful Mighty Muscle Mix, which is a great recovery snack for your marathon nutrition.

It is also important to take race-day conditions into consideration – high humidity and heat will affect your energy and run. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stop at aid stations along the marathon path. Pay attention to the color of your urine and bladder to identify possible problems and know the affects medications you may be taking might have on your body during the race. 

Marathon running nutrition works hand-in-hand with your training so be sure to consult a physician before adopting a new diet.

Need some help in planning your meals? Check out our Sports Nutrition Diets for sample menus and information on how we can help you get into optimal shape.