Author Topic: Diet for a Marathon  (Read 1386 times)

Offline Russell Wilkie

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Diet for a Marathon
« on: April 17, 2014, 09:16:12 AM »
As of June 1st I plan on running my first ever marathon. With a little over a month preparing I realize that, although I'm mentally prepared to go the distance, I may not have the diet for it.

Now when I refer to diet, I'm not so much talking about my every day diet, I'm talking about the diet for the day of the marathon. After doing some research on how to keep myself fueled for the full 26 miles I came to the conclusion my diet throughout the marathon should include the following:

1) My diet needs to have fluids that keep me both well hydrated and energized
2) My diet needs to have foods that are easy to digest to avoid distress
3) My diet needs to be high in carbs and low in fat

Many articles suggest the use of energy gels, power bars, and sports drinks throughout the run. My problem is, I do not use these and know very little about them. However, to assure my body is prepared to handle these foods for the marathon, I need to get into the habit of eating them during my training in advance.

I'm wondering what specific foods you guys would recommend for me to consume. What are some of the things I should look for when choosing my marathon food and drink and what are some things I should avoid? Any tips or feedback would be much appreciated.

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: Diet for a Marathon
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 11:53:51 AM »
For drinking I'm going to say you almost 100% want to stick to only water. Things like energy drinks and even gatorade and similar products have a ton of sugar in them that won't hydrate you very well. I think you're probably best off looking to food for energy, and look to drinking only for hydration. I'm sure you'd be fine drinking a little bit of something else, but definitely make the majority of it water.

You probably want to eat a decent amount of healthy fat leading up to the run. Fat has a ton of energy in it and is long term energy as opposed to carbs which are short. Cutting fat out of your diet leading up to the run might sap all your energy while your body tries to adjust and it can have some effects on your hormones that I don't know much about. A healthy mix of both is what most people recommend. On race day I'd absolutely avoid the fat, though, as it's very filling and that would get uncomfortable fast. I think bringing some kind of fruit along would be a good idea. The natural sugar will provide some energy and even a little bit of hydration. Orange slices could work well.

I think I've heard of some people eating unsalted nuts, too. I'm pretty sure they've got a good amount of energy in them, but I wouldn't just take my word for it.

Aside from that, I'm not honestly very sure. I don't know anything about energy gels and little about power bars. The only thing I can say is that power bars have a lot of fiber in them which may not be the best thing to eat because you don't want to have to poop during the run. You could experiment with them and see how they make you feel and if this isn't a problem go for it.