Marathon Diet: Food Tips to Help you Run Better
More and more chefs are donning running shoes and taking to the asphalt so they can indulge guilt-free. Take a cue from them and sign up for one of the many marathons being organised in India’s metro cities. Not only will you keep your waistline in check, you’ll also reap additional health benefits and enjoy the high of an adrenaline rush.
If you don't run, they will!
What kind of a diet should you follow while training for a marathon though? After all, one has to run for several weeks in order to build stamina for a longer run. And how do you maximise energy reserves on the big day? Celebrity nutritionist and dietitian Nmami Agarwal (who also coached Manushi Chhillar) offers a few tips.
Runner’s Guide to Diet
For a runner/athlete, it’s very important to keep their nutrition in check. Whether it’s a short or a long event, nutrition plays an essential role. Therefore, for optimal nutrition, food is an essential part to replenish the energy reserves. Keep track of appropriate portion sizes for the foods to include in your diet.
Maintain a healthy, balanced diet including all varieties of foods in each meal:
- Carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should provide half of your daily calories
- Protein-rich foods such as dairy products, lean meat, beans, and legumes should provide quarter of your daily calories
- Healthy fats, which can be found in foods such as olive oil, walnuts, and flax seeds
Before the Marathon
Plan and focus on your nutrition, from a few weeks before you have your final event. Consider that your body uses carbohydrates and fats to provide you energy during the event. It is very important to plan the diet accordingly:
- Start with low GI Foods such as whole grains, followed by other foods like vegetables and fruits that can be your daily source of nutrients.
- Carb loading is very vital before and during the long-running events. Include high carbohydrate foods like banana, and honey to help you run for long events without getting fatigued.
- To avoid reflux, one should sip water 30 minutes before the race starts.
- Avoid gas-producing foods like onions and cauliflower.
During the Marathon
- Keep your hydration level in check. Consume water or electrolytes frequently.
- Eat carbohydrate-rich food such as raisins or energy chews during the run to ensure that energy levels are maintained and to increase the performance levels.
After the Marathon
It’s very important to remember the 3R’s after the marathon to have a safe recovery.
- REFUEL – consume low – fiber foods, milkshakes or fruit smoothies to restore the glycogen.
- REPAIR – consume protein-rich foods to repair the muscles which are easy to digest like low – flavored milk – soy milk.
- REHYDRATE - with fluids and electrolyte-containing drinks.