Eating/Fueling During Your Training
Training for a marathon seriously increases your nutritional needs. Not only does the extra mileage boost your calorie needs, but you’ll need to eat even more carbohydrate to recover from training runs, especially those exceeding 90 minutes.
Studies show that you need to eat at least 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight to fully restock your glycogen stores (glycogen is how your muscles store energy) within 24 hours, making running the day after a long run more comfortable. You also want to pay special attention to eating whole foods. Whole foods are less processed and are richer in vitamins and minerals. Focus on fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, lean meat, beans and whole grains. Taking a daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is good nutritional insurance.
Here is a good guide to go by: If your weekly mileage is 30 to 50 miles then you should:
- Eat 2200 to 3000 calories per day Carbohydrate 330 to 450 grams/day (1 gram of carb = 4 calories)
- Protein: 80 to 110 grams/day (1 gram of protein = 4 calories)
- Fat: 60 to 85 grams/day (1 gram of fat = 9 calories) If your calorie level is higher or lower aim for 60-65% of calories from carbohydrates, 15% from protein and 20-25% from fat.
Things to Remember about your daily diet
- Variety: eat a wide variety of food. The greater the variety the more likely you are to get in the nutrients that you need.
- Moderation: do not eat too much of any thing. However, you are training hard so enjoy food—even ice cream is OK in moderation.
- Wholesomeness: choose unprocessed, more natural foods. These are higher in the nutrients that your body needs.
- Don’t skip breakfast: breakfast fuels you body for the day. Without eating breakfast your brain and muscles are running on empty. Here are five quick mini-breakfasts, ranging from about 200 to 400 calories that deliver plenty of carbohydrates, plus protein and good fats to keep your energy levels higher, longer:
- Stone-Wheat Crackers with Nut Butter
- A Meal Replacement Beverage
- Oatmeal: for added protein, top it off with a dollop of yogurt or peanut butter.
- Two Handfuls of Trail Mix
- Sports Bar: Most energy bars make a decent breakfast. Look for one with at least 200 calories and 6 grams of protein. Most PowerBars, Cliff Bars, or Balance Bars will fit the bill.
- Fruits and Vegetables: eat 5-9 servings each day. A serving is 1 medium piece of fruit, a 1/2 c cooked veggies or 1 cup raw veggies.
- Whole grains: have at least 50% of your carbohydrates be whole wheat
- Protein at each meal/snack: have a lean protein source at each meal or snack. It does not need to be much: a slice of string cheese, a handful of almonds, 4 oz of salmon
- Good fats: try to avoid animal fats and focus on cooking with fats from vegetable sources. Also avoid trans fats — these are found in processed foods, so the more natural the food the less likely it will have them (if you find “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list, skip it, it has trans fats!)
- Eat something after training/workout
- Within 1 hour of your workout eat 75 grams of carbohydrate. 75 grams of carbohydrate is 300 calories. Try: ½ bagel with jelly or cream cheese, a power bar/cliff bar/luna bar, a cup of yogurt with ½ to 1 cup cereal, 1 orange and 1oz bag of pretzels.
- Have another 75 grams or a meal within 2 hours of your workout
Guidelines developed by American Medical Association and USA Track & Field
Recipe of the Week
Bridget Batson, runner, healthy eating enthusiast, recipe contributor at Runner’s World, and executive chef at local restaurant Gitane, is using her culinary expertise and nutrition knowledge to help our runners eat right and eat well during the 2011 training season. We’ll be including a new recipe each week that not only helps you meet your nutritional needs as a runner, but tastes good as well! All recipes are approved by Corinne Dobbas, Registered Dietitian at MV Nutrition