nutrition tips for marathon training
posted: July 5, 2011
wakame and quinoa salad
nutrition tips for marathon training
That’s right, marathon-training season is upon us. While the right shoes, fancy pants, a committed running partner and clinic or training plan are key to a successful run we don’t often hear people ask ‘So, what are you eating?” Being a self-professed ‘Nutrition Nerd’, Jacqueline asked Georgia Morley (lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s chef and holistic nutrition super star) for some expert advice.
Training for a marathon means essentially running a bunch of mini-marathons. You almost need to eat like it’s race day throughout your training. The key to building and maintaining endurance is carbs. And don’t be mistaken not all carbohydrates are created equal.
I know a lot of people have some “carb” fear. It’s important fuel your body with COMPLEX carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole sprouted grains ( this doesn’t mean processed wheat), rye breads, kamut, amaranth, quinoa and starchy veggies likes squash or yams. So fuel up with at least 300 calories of complex carbs around two hours before a training session.
Two hours ahead may seem like a lot of planning but it’s critical. If you eat 20 minutes before your run, not only will your body be working so hard to digest the meal, you will get zapped fast, the energy boosting carbs won’t have had time to take effect and the stitch in your side will take you outta the game. Gotta have game.
kamut and porcetta salad with yams and roast new potatoes
To maintain that carb high, you need to get the right balance of carbs with nutrient rich vegetables and fruit and lean proteins; grilled chicken, legumes, lean beef, lamb or pork. If you can, combine your proteins with veggies and leave your carbs all to themselves, I mean minus their friends the proteins. That’s right people, eat a giant heaping bowl of whole grain pasta with fresh tomatoes, pine nuts and basil all by itself and then go back for seconds.
AFTER your training session, eat about 400 calories of lean meat and veggies, then eat again 4 hours later – perhaps an egg white frittata with wild mushrooms ( a partial protein don’t cha know) , a smattering of soft goat cheese and a grinding of black pepper. It’s just that easy.
sports drinks and gels
Speaking of easy, I’m really not a fan of high-tech sports drinks and carb/electrolyte gels (or putting anything synthetic or processed in your body). That said, after mile marker 10 on your run, it’s hard to whip out a frittata and indulge whilst running like the wind. So, gel it up people, your body will need that fuel, even if it is processed and a weak supplement for whole foods.
24 hours to go
The night before your marathon go carb crazy with a dinner of about 1000 calories composed of carbs. So good, right?! And the WATER – drink so much water you could float through the finish line. This is about hydration and keeping your muscles from going into shock. Drink at least 2 litres of water prior to training and on race day, then drink periodically throughout your race at the appropriate times (I am parched just thinking about it). Alternating water with Coconut Water (a.k.a. nature’s Gatorade) will really amp up your electrolytes as well.
halibut in orange, miso and ginger
the full meal deal: training menu
- Protein smoothie : 4 egg whites, berries, milk or milk alternative, 1 scoop spirulina, crushed ice)
- Brown rice hot cereal : 2 cups cooked brown rice, a few raisins, 1 cup milk or milk alternative, slivered blanched almonds, 2 table spoons flax meal – combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer, top with milk or milk alternative and about 1 table spoon maple syrup – maple syrup does not spike your GI like ALL other sweeteners do
- Coffee if ya have too, but your run will sustain much better if you do decaf
* Stay away from juices – juice is just a candy bar in disguise
- Whole chicken breast marinated with grainy mustard, lemon and olive oil: marinade chicken for 1 hour (I like to do 6 at a time so I have some for the week ahead). Grill on barbecue or bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Serve with a fresh salad of green veggies with hemp seed, flax and apple cider vinegar drizzled over top. Perhaps an apple to stave off the sweet tooth, and a cup of roibois tea.
- Blanched or roasted almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, berries, apples, a little more brown rice cereal from the morning, a handful of unsweetened organic chocolate chips, hommous with brown rice crackers, a big lettuce leaf filled with sprouts, almond butter and apple
6pm at the latest
- Brown rice pasta with arugula, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and lemon broth – cook the pasta as directed, then drain and set aside. On a medium high heat toss about 1 tablespoon grape seed oil into a pan and then the tomatoes, arugula, zest and juice of one lemon, a splash of white wine or veggie broth if desired, the pasta and finally the goat cheese, some fleur de sel and black pepper.
- Water and one glass of wine if you’re feeling fancy. That’s ONE glass of wine.
( YAY, YOU GET DESSERT!!!)
- 4 squares of dark chocolate, another apple, or a few carrots ( I know it seems strange but it will give you the sugar hit your looking for and in about 3 minutes after eating them, you won’t feel like you want anything else sweet – although carrots do metabolize just like a marshmallow – sneaky), a bowl of yogurt sprinkled with hemp seeds, nuts and fresh berries a little maple syrup if you need it….or make a quinoa pudding with chocolate, quinoa, and a little milk or milk alternative – serve warm
As Georgia says, planning is critical. The marathons will be upon us in no time, so let’s spend time now to get our bodies ready for it.
Georgia Morley is a veteran chef specializing in holistic nutrition and local foods. She works in Vancouver as a private chef and is currently mid-way thru her Anusara Instructor training (as if she wasn’t magic enough).