What Should I Eat If I’m Training For A Marathon?


Q.  I’m training for a marathon. What should I eat?

A.  Complex carbohydrates are the best fuels for the body, so eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains  and baked potatoes. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. They may give you a rush, but then leave you more tired than you were before.[1]

Make sure you have a good breakfast every day – oats are best so go for muesli or porridge – and eat small regular meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels even. Ensure you eat enough protein to repair fatigued muscles. That means at least half as much protein as carbohydrates at each meal and snack, so have fruit with nuts or seeds, rice with fish or lentils, baked potatoes with bean or tuna salad, oatcakes with hummus, and so on.

Remember too, that a demanding exercise regime generates more oxidants,[2] so eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods — orange, red and blue fruit and vegetables are best, especially berries. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water — dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue. I’d also recommend supplementing a high-strength multivitamin, 2g of extra vitamin C every day, and 5g of glutamine powder before bed to aid muscle recovery.[3]

Good luck!

Also Read:

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Run A 5K
  2. Antioxidants: Are They Bad For Me?
  3. Can Isotonic Drink Boost A Day’s Walking?
References:
[1] Frank B. Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat? PMCID: PMC2869506. ^Back to Top^

[2] Elisa Couto Gomes, 1 ,* Albená Nunes Silva, 2 and Marta Rubino de Oliveira 3. Oxidants, Antioxidants, and the Beneficial Roles of Exercise-Induced Production of Reactive Species. PMCID: PMC3372226. ^Back to Top^

[3] M Khassaf, A McArdle, C Esanu, A Vasilaki, F McArdle, R D Griffiths, D A Brodie,* and M J Jackson. Effect of vitamin C supplements on antioxidant defence and stress proteins in human lymphocytes and skeletal muscle. PMCID: PMC2342961. ^Back to Top^

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