Nutrition training for your marathon
While many are busy building up their endurance for the next big race, including the Chicago Marathon on October 12, it is easy to forget about nutrition as a tool of preparation. Making sure your body gets enough of the right nutrients to fuel your run is just as important as the workouts themselves.
The first step to ensure that you’re getting proper nutrition is zeroing in on exactly what you are consuming. Keep a food journal to track your nutritional intake or download an app to help. Once you have an accurate representation of your diet, you can decide what needs to change and create a plan that fits your lifestyle.
According to Katherine Snyder, a registered dietician with Advocate Dreyer in Aurora, Ill., “it is best to start your nutrition training a year out from race day. That way, you can modify your diet as you go based on your experiences.” Keep in mind that everyone is different. A fad diet that may work for some is probably not best for your body, especially while training for a marathon. Consult a nutritionist if necessary.
After you have created a plan, head to the grocery store with a list in mind. Stay focused on fresh, whole foods instead of processed or fortified drinks and energy bars. Snyder recommends that runners especially consume an adequate amount of carbohydrates and protein to build up energy reserves for race day. Look for the following foods while training for a marathon:
- Seeds such as whole grains, beans and tree nuts
- A wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables with their skin intact
- Sweet potatoes
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Check out local farmers markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. While it is necessary to be disciplined, “It’s important to fit in foods you like, too,” Snyder says. Allowing an occasional treat will help you stick with your plan in the long run.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.