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Eat for the LONG Run

Here is a PDF with Marathon/Half specific information from one of the nutritionists we have worked with in the past, Renee Korczak PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD.

Marathon nutrition talk

Hydration 

If you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated

You can live for several weeks without food, but you will die within a few days without water. Running performance is affected almost immediately if the body’s water requirements are not met. Water is one of the most important nutrients required by the body since about two thirds of your body is water. The average person should drink about a gallon of water every day in addition to the water that is contained in food. You need to drink even more if you exercise hard or long as you lose a lot of water through sweat while running. Being hydrated while running will keep you cooler and help you maintain your pace.

 

Dehydration is when not enough water has been taken in to replace what has been lost from the body. Thirst is the feeling we get which tells us we need water. By the time we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated, and performance is already compromised. That is why your coaches plan water stops on our training routes that are around three miles apart. When attempting to run a long training run or a race, it is very important to be drinking water, diluted fruit juice, PowerAde, or other beverages before, during and after running. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to drink a 12-ounce glass of water first thing every morning. If you start out hydrated on your long runs, you should be able to stay hydrated by drinking four to eight ounces of fluid every 20 minutes or so during the run. If you sweat heavily, you should consider carrying a water bottle so you can drink more frequently than once every 3 miles.

 

Carbo Loading Pre 26.2

 

Runners need a high carbohydrate diet to replenish their muscles during the week before running a marathon. Eating a high carbohydrate diet (70 percent) following a normal (50 percent) carbohydrate diet produces greater muscle glycogen storage. The daily requirement for protein and fat should be fulfilled, but the more carbohydrate eaten, the more that will be stored. A recommended plan is:

 

  • Carbohydrate load for three days before the event accompanied by a period of reduced exercise. Eat plenty of carbohydrates but don’t stuff yourself. Eat amounts of food that you normally eat – about 70 percent of your calories should be carbohydrates. Avoid any unusual foods. Stick with foods that have worked well for you before long training runs.
  • The first day of loading is the most important. Begin with a big carbo breakfast, such as pancakes or French toast. This is the day for the traditional pasta dinner of spaghetti and bread. Try to eat plenty of complex carbohydrates in these two meals.
  • Each gram of carbohydrate stores with 3 grams of water. Increase fluid intake to facilitate  carbohydrate (glycogen) storage. Drink an extra 4 to 8 glasses of water and limit dehydrating fluids such as alcohol and caffeine.
  • Make certain you are not depleting sodium and potassium stores by drinking too much water. Salt your food and/or include some salty snacks such as pretzels. Eat some fruit including bananas.
  • The last major meal should be 12 to 15 hours before the race and should not include too much bulk. It should be easily digestible so that it will pass through your system before the race. Hopefully, you have experimented with this meal before your long training runs so you know what and how much of the desired food works best for you. If necessary, take your own pre-race dinner with you to avoid eating untried food in a strange restaurant.
  • If you plan to eat on race day morning and are used to doing so, a 300 to 400 calorie high carbohydrate meal such as toast, bagel or oatmeal may be consumed 2 to 4 hours before the race along with 2 to 3 glasses of water. No simple sugars or fruit should be ingested within 1 hour of the run to avoid a blood insulin reaction causing weakness and fatigue. If you need something sweet, wait to eat it 5 to 10 minutes before the start. Drink another 1 to 2 glasses of water 5 to 10 minutes before the race.

 

You will know you are effectively carbohydrate loaded if you notice a 2 to 5 pound weight gain over the 3 day period before the race. As carbohydrates are stored, water is also stored in the muscles leading to the weight gain. This water storage may make your legs feel sluggish during your few miles of easy runs, but it may come in handy during the race as a source of sweat, etc. You may also feel sleepy, cranky or tired due to the blood sugar and insulin responses to all the carbohydrate. During the race, however, you should feel super powered and ready to go.

 

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