Marathon Training
Nutrition Foundation Tip #5

A marathon training nutrition foundation must be established, just as you are doing for your weekly mileage. Henry David Thoreau once said, ”If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

You may have heard about (or even tried) gels, beans, bloks and other nutrition supplements. Although these are important ways to fill in the gaps during long runs, they are your “castles in the air.” Nice to have, but they alone are not enough. Your body needs an everyday marathon training nutrition foundation. To build a foundation you need a plan, a prepared base, raw materials, and some good old-fashioned hard work.

Here are four tips to build your marathon training nutrition base.

  • 1. Plan to eat enough from all the food groups.

    You need all the natural nutrients you can get. MyPyramid was designed for the general population (not a marathon runner), but it is a place to start. A 2000 calorie base plan would suggest 6 grains, 2 cups of fruit, 2 ½ cups of vegetables, 5 ½ ounces of protein, and 3 cups of milk or yogurt. About 8 teaspoons of added fat and calories from condiments would round out the 2000 calories. Are you even close? You’ll need more calories than 2000, but you’ll pick those up with sports drinks and carb supplements, along with additional food.

  • 2. Prepare your base.
    Make a list. Go to the store. Buy what you need. Don’t make it seem too complicated. You’ll learn to adjust your list along the way based on what foods work. For now just remember that to get the benefit from the food you have to eat it, and you can’t eat it if you don’t have it conveniently available.

  • 3. Use your raw materials.
    Eating the raw materials is the next step in the marathon training nutrition foundation process. I don’t mean you have to eat only raw foods, but at least attempt to get whole foods (those foods closest to their natural state). Don’t worry yet about specific nutrients…some of that will take care of itself if you are eating a variety of “real” foods from all the food groups everyday.

  • 4. Building a foundation takes hard work.
    Now, don’t get nervous. Marathon training is hard work, but a good nutrition foundation may help it seem like less work because you’ll have the energy you need to get in the mileage and enough nutrients to help you recover and stay healthy. Learn as much as you can from reading , talking to experienced marathoners and reviewing more marathon training tips!


    Ask me questions about your marathon training nutrition foundation!

  • Start building your foundation now, and let everyday be your day to succeed!