I have always struggled striking the right balance of energy gels and water during my Marathons. Even after practicing using different fit fuels during my training runs, I never seemed to find the perfect balance for me. How much was too much? How much was too little?
After eating too little and taking drastic eating adjustment extremes, I wound up with an injury in my right leg and I had an issue with food otherwise known as disordered eating. While training for any sport for performance, food is FUEL. I cannot emphasize that enough. For me, be able to truly understand the holistic picture became reality to me when I suffered from an injury. A major part of the injury was due to the lack of fuel I had while training for my race. #realdeal. It took me a major experience that led to a setback to help me to understand the importance of a well-balanced diet.
For a Marathon, food is SO MUCH FUEL. Or or any distance event rather. One way to perform well, prevent injuries, gain lean muscle and not bulk up is with a proper nutrition plan to go along with your fitness or training program! Sometimes, it's hard to make a complete plan due to certain restrictions we all have in our lives, BUT, it can't stop you from learning a few hacks here and there, like the hacks I've provided below. They're free, and they might help you out!
My 5 Go-To Nutrition Tips for a Marathon
1) Get enough protein in that body! Especially after those training runs. Proteins simply repair our muscles after any strenuous activity. For the sake of a running a Marathon, our bodies needs us to do it some good. So, why not do it the favor by taking care of it properly?!
2) Try at least 3 different types of fit fuel during those training runs. One, or two might be the favorite fit fuel winner. That way, we can all stress less, especially if adjustments need to be made on race day and we need to rely on more than one source of fit fuel! It's a win-win.
3) Run for the cookies. Now, I'm not saying reach for that cookie jar at 12:00AM daily. However, you deserve a reward for the hard work you're ever putting into anything. If you're running that 18-miler training run and need some extrinsic motivation, a cookie is a great go-to option!
4) Have a Pre-Race Weekly Plan! In my opinion, this is probably one of the most important parts to properly prepare for an optimal race for any athlete. Maybe for others, it might be even more important actually. You are what you eat. Your fuel will impact your race, so what you fuel your body with a week beforehand and allowing yourself to adapt to any changes is key. Completing this task this will matter when a week passes by and it's already race day! You have enough to stress about, so why add to the list?!
5) Make sure you're getting the proper amount of macronutrients. Fats, Carbs, Proteins. Drill that into your head! Those are our macros. Our micronutrients are also important to get our sufficient daily intake of vitamins and minerals. While making a nutrition plan, whether that with with your Nutrition Coach, a friend, a workout buddy or by yourself, take this information into recognition. That way, you can be sure that you don't exclude the appropriate volume of nutrients you'll be needing while fueling for that next Marathon!
To summarize, all of us have a different way of preparing for any long-distance race or event. However you choose to do that should be what works best for your body and you. Trying different fuels out beforehand allows you to know what you like and what you dislike. That makes it easier to rule out extra stress come race day!
I hope you enjoy and apply my 5 simple steps above while fueling and prepping for that next race! Until then, I hope you take the 5 hacks above and make note of how they work for you when you apply them to your lifestyle! Don't be afraid to reach out to me with any questions or comments! I love to hear from YOU!
Here's to a wonderful Holiday season & a Happy New Year!