Yes, I am one of those people who thoroughly enjoys running. I started running races about 4 years ago, and let me tell you, even as a dietitian, it was a huge struggle to make sure I was getting the proper balance of nutrients. I quickly learned nutrition needed to be a major priority when running. When I was training for my first marathon, I remember planning out my whole running schedule. Each Sunday, I would do my “LSD” run (long slow distance). There was one Sunday when I set out to run 15 miles–it was a complete failure. I ran about 12 of those miles before I became absolutely exhausted. Looking back on it now, I did not fuel enough before or after the run. And that’s when it hit me. “Wow, I really got to do some more research of nutrition for training for a marathon.”
Training for a marathon requires so much planning on all ends–not just with nutrition, but also with finding time to fit in long runs. Here are the basics of what you need to know about nutrition and running a marathon or any other long distance race.
Running and Nutrition
Fueling Before a Race
There are different phases of energy breakdown the body goes through when exercising. Your body is going to use muscle glycogen as its first choice of energy. Glycogen is the carbohydrate storage form of glucose. Because your body chooses to use carbohydrate first, you really want to make sure you having a carbohydrate filled breakfast a few hours before the race, maybe a bagel with cream cheese. I would also recommend to have some protein with your breakfast. This combination of foods will help your body with nutrient delivery while running, prevent muscle breakdown and prepare you for a faster recovery.