Being a marathon runner is not an easy task. A trainee has to undergo a long training session without losing their strength and endurance. The process is not at all easy as they should be well-nourished before, during and after the race. Therefore, the food taken by marathon runners is given high importance as it should be something which can keep them active and strong throughout the running period.
1. Don’t starve yourself
Starving yourself before the run is never a good idea. It not only drains your energy during the run but also increases the risk of wear and tear after the event. Consider having a light nutritious snack, energised meal, fortified foods or some nutrient-enhanced drinks before the run to take off minimize your cravings and stay active throughout the run.
2. Avoid eating heavy meals
A marathon runner should completely drop the idea of having heavy meals. Instead, they should prefer small meals after every three-four hours which will not only prevent their hunger but also help to maintain a balanced glucose level. Remember to avoid eating foods with more calories and choose food with more nutrients.
3. Protein is a must
Protein plays an important role during the long race. It helps to repair damaged tissues and rebuild the musclesafter the run. Consuming a protein diet gives us a feeling of fullness and helps to normalize our blood sugar. A marathon runner is suggested to consume a protein-rich snack every 20 minutes after the workout. Such foods include eggs, barley, milk and yoghurt.
4. Carbohydrates are equally important
A marathon runner often tends to break down during the race due to low carbohydrates in their body. Carbohydrates are stored in our muscles and break down into glucose during intense activitiesto provide us with energy. When the carbohydrates get low, the body uses fats and protein to provide energy (ketosis) and the process, often causes side effects like brain fog, nausea or weakness. Thus, it is suggested to consume carbohydrate-rich foods like potato, fruits or oatmeal a day before the run.
5. Seeds are special
Seeds or foods made with seeds comes with healthy-boosting compounds like phenols, ferulic acids and antioxidants. It includes beans, nuts like chestnuts and hazelnuts, and whole grains like millets, oats and barley. Such foods help maintain healthy body weight and provide instant energy to the runners.
6. Fruits and vegetables should not be missed out
Fruits and vegetablesare packed with essential vitamins and minerals including carbohydrates. They also possess antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities which prevent any kind of muscle soreness and muscle tears during the long race. Fruits like strawberries, peaches, raspberries and plums, and vegetables like potatoes and kale are considered vital for marathon runners due to the rich amount of nutrients they contain.
7. Milk and milk products
Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese are equally important for runners as foods. Milk is rich in calciumwhich is vital for our bones and consuming it helps to make our bones stronger. Also, dairy products contain a specific compound called whey protein which helps to strengthen our immune system, improve body cholesterol and lower blood protein, making us nutritional-ready for a marathon.
8. Stay hydrated
Marathon requires a lot of running and running means sweating. Marathon runners always face a risk of dehydrationwhich is why they should focus more on keeping their body hydrated throughout the day. Keep a regular-sized water bottle always with you and according to the weather, sweating rate and distance you need to cover, drink it whenever you feel thirsty. Also, avoid drinking too much.
9. Seafood and meats
Vitamin B12 is very essential for the buildup of red blood cells, a less amount of which causes anaemia and makes people weak and tired. This vitamin is mostly found in animal products like fish, meats and eggs. A marathon runner should have enough vitamin B12 in their body for endurance and stamina to finish a long run successfully. Vegans can opt for legumes, soy, fortified cereals or foods rich in folic acid.