Running a marathon is at the boundary of human endurance. While for some experienced runners, getting through 40 kilometers of road by foot is not considered as much of a problem, even the best athletes need to be extremely careful about the amounts and types of food they use and the timing associated with their nutrition plans, in order to reach the performance levels they target.
If you plan on running a marathon, aside from intense endurance training, you will also require a powerful marathon nutrition plan in order to stand a chance against the competition.
Important Tips for Marathon Nutrition
If you’re serious in your attempt to reach higher levels of efficiency when it comes to running in marathons, you need to follow a few essential guidelines that nutrition experts have come up with quite recently:
- Most runners tend to slow down before reaching the end of a marathon race. To avoid this, even the most professional marathon runners require a steady diet based on improving glycogen levels in the body by using foods rich in carbohydrates.
- Despite what was held as popular belief until recently, nutritionists have concluded that runners are much more reliant on diet for losing weight than non-athletes. It is essential then, that as part of your marathon nutrition plan, you use lighter, high quality foods to keep your weight low before reaching the starting line.
- Instead of drinking too much before a marathon, a good tip would also be to do some “fasting workouts” in order to turn your muscles into improved fat burners.
- Experts have recently found that a short-term, high fat diet can be used to boost performance by preceding the regular, pre-race carb-based diet.
A Practical Plan for Marathon Runners
As practical advice for marathon runners, we have to first consider that diet rich in carbohydrates is required, since as a runner, you will be using up about 150-300 calories per hour. Since carbs contain about 4 calories per gram, this would translate to something like 38-75 grams.
Additionally, it’s important that your intake be increased gradually. Before the race, consider adding more food carefully to your diet, as you observe your body’s reaction, until you reach the designated amount.
Finally, you need a balanced intake of fluids. Normally, you may do best to have a drink once every 15-20 minutes during practice and about once every mile or at every aid station during the day of the marathon race.
Although there are plenty of marathon nutrition plans you can try out, not all of them are made the same – and not all work. By following these simple rules and recommendations, however, you can help adapt your body to the harsh and intense requirements of a long distance marathon.