Marathon training: Nutrition essentials

Written by Jackie Dikos, RD, CSSD on 8/8/2014 6:30:00 AM

Jackie Dikos is a registered dietitian and a certified specialist in sports dietetics.

Jackie Dikos, Community Sports MedicineIt's officially training season for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and many Hoosiers are lacing up their running shoes. A key component in marathon and half-marathon training is nutrition.

Fueling your body for endurance is essential during training. Here is some advice:

Eat carbohydrates.
Your body turns carbohydrates into glucose which gives you energy and fuels long, demanding training sessions. Carbohydrates are an essential part of a good endurance diet. Try to include a source of quality carbohydrates with each meal and snack. Oatmeal, whole grains and brown rice are a few examples.

Limit fat excesses.
Meals that are high fat content, like wings, an 8 oz. steak, and creamy pasta sauce take a long time to digest and can contribute to gastrointestinal issues. These meals can also rob a carbohydrate-rich appetite. Instead of eating one large meal that's high in fat, spread out small amounts of healthy fat choices (nuts, avocado, salmon, and olive oil) throughout the day.

Include lean protein.
Lean proteins such as chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, eggs, lean beef, and cottage cheese support tissue growth and repair, as well as healthy immune function. It’s important to include lean protein in your meals, but avoid letting protein dominate a good training diet.

Color observant hydration.
It's important to be drinking at least 64 oz. of water per day. Observing the color of your urine is one of the best ways to assess hydration status. Light colored urine throughout the day and at the start of a training session is a sign of proper hydration. You need to be drinking more water if urine is dark yellow in color.

Testing one, two, three.
It’s important to see how your body handles fuel before and during a run. Begin trying out pre- and post-race meals. In addition, test eating various fuel sources such as gels, sports drink, and jelly beans during runs that last longer than 60 to 90 minutes. See what makes you feel good and what makes you feel sluggish. Practice makes perfect!

We'll get you to the finish line.

Whether it's training advice, nutrition tips or injury treatment, Community Sports Medicine has experts to help from the start of your training to the very end. Stop by our walk-in clinics or call 317-497-6024 to meet with an expert.

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