London Marathon Nutrition Tips
Here are some quick, key points about nutrition for marathon training, focussed on the London Marathon as an example :)
Nutrition for long runs!
Before a long run we need carbs; this can be slower release (more complex) carbs like porridge, wholegrain bread, brown rice etc. Or simple (quicker release) carbs like fruit, energy bars/drinks etc
Ideally it’s a good idea to have a combination of both before a long run. If you have time I’m a fan of double breakfast before a morning long run; porridge 90 mins before I head out the door and a piece of fruit around 30 minutes before I go out
We are all different though so experiment with (and make a note of) what you eat, how much of it you eat and when you eat it and see what works for you
During a long run;
during a run your body just needs the quick release/simple carbs. So energy drinks and gels can work well here, they are easy to cary and often contain electrolytes too, handy particularly in the summer when you sweat more
Lucozade usually sponsor the London Marathon and give their gels and drinks out on the course, so perhaps try them and if they suit you that works well! If you aren't running London the race website of your marathon will tell you what drinks and products they'll have out on the course and when.
Not everyone gels on with gels, as the sugar hit can be a bit much or might not settle on your stomach. Remember all you need is simple carbs, you can get those form all sorts of places; soft white tortillas, crisps, fruit, honey, white bread, sweets, cake/brownie/flapjack bites, energy bars, all sorts. I like the “run past a shop test” go past a shop on a long run and ask yourself what you’d buy to eat whilst running; check out that gut reaction - maybe even buy and try!
Eating little and often is generally a good plan, easier on the digestion and allows for less peaks and troughs in energy levels
It’s worth knowing that it takes at least 30 minutes for what you eat to actually get to your muscles, so start earlier than you think!
Remember we are all different, so experiment to find out what works for you. Keep a note of what you eat and when and what your energy levels were like, especially towards the end of a run
After a run
We often forget what we eat after a run is important too!
We need more carbs, ideally ones that are gentle on the stomach, to refuel.
We also need protein and foods with vitamins and minerals in them to help the body kick start the recovery process
Make sure you eat a good meal that ticks those boxes within a maximum of 90 minutes of finishing the run, the body will make the best use of what you eat to kick start recovery that way
My easy go to post run lunch is beans on toast; protein and nutrients from the beans and carbs and nutrients from wholegrain seeded bread :)