Everyday Marathon Training Nutrition Tip #3

It is time to tackle all day, everyday marathon training nutrition.

"There is no way to success in our art but to take off your coat, grind paint, and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

The previous marathon nutrition training tips tackled "taking off your coat" and "grind and work." What about "all day, every day?"

Carbs are a must for everyday marathon training nutrition.

Carbohydrate is the main fuel needed for you to grind out the miles. You might be able to get by without carbs on a short run, but as those miles add up your body is in desparate need of carb fuel. Every time you run you use carbs stored in your muscle (glycogen) and carbs from your blood (glucose). Carb doesn't just magically appear. You have to put it there...every day.

How do you do this?

  • 1. Eat a carb-rich diet everyday, including fruit, veggies, grains, lowfat dairy/yogurt and various carb products like sports drinks and supplements . The bare minimum amounts are typical of the MyPyramid guidelines. You'll be adding sports drinks and carb supplements to the mix, but you'll still likely need more food group servings based on your body weight and calorie needs .


  • 2. Eat all day. Don't skip meals...keep the fuel lines open in everyday marathon training nutrition!
    Now, eating all day doesn't mean eating constantly since that could be a calorie disaster. In general your body needs fuel about every four hours during waking hours. Think about timing your carbs based on when you are going to run. If you haven't eaten within a few hours before a run you may need to take in carbs during the run.


  • 3. Eat after you run, every time you run. Running uses your carb fuel (and thankfully some of that stored fat fuel). The first 30 minutes after a run are "prime time" for packing the carbs back into your muscles and balancing your glucose stores (for your brain). Eat a carb-rich food or sports drink during this "window of opportunity" while the hormonal balance for recovery is at it's peak. Carbs later than 30 minutes still replenish, but with less impact. How much carb? Keep it proportional to the length of your run, but starting with 15 or 20 grams. A little protein is a good idea, too, as part of your recovery snack .


  • 4. Eat complete on "rest days". No rest, no recovery. But what about "all day, every day"? Every marathon training plan requires rest days for recovery. Nutrition is the main ingredient here! Recovery for muscle repair: protein . Recovery for glycogen repletion: carbs. Recovery from dehydration: fluids . Recovery to restore electrolytes lost in sweat: potassium and sodium . Recovery from the pile of running clothes in the laundry and the stack of mail that has collected: a trip to Starbucks!

    Marathon training requires attention all day, everyday to get the fuel and rest you need. Of course, you still have a life beyond the training...right?

    Today's tip for everyday marathon training nutrition #3:
    Eat something healthy every four hours today (keeping the quantity proportional to your activity level).

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