Diet & Nutrition

As we progress in our training, it’s becoming more important to figure out what fuel we need to keep us going. Our long day calls for more than just water, so be sure to experiment with the advanced hydration options. But what about food?

Drinks like Gatorade, Gleukos, Nuun or others give us valuable electrolytes and/or calories to help us keep moving. But we also need to determine if we need more than hydration during our long days. Some folks can go long with just liquid replenishment. If you eat something before and right after, you might make it. Others need a boost or some calories, so start experimenting with some mid-run eats. GU or Cliff and others offer gels or things like gummy bears. Definitely try these on shorter runs of 8 or 9 miles before trying on race day. I’ve actually taken wheat thins on my runs, so think outside the box or ask your fellow runners and coaches for ideas.

Remember the motto: no new is good new. Race day is not the time to try a new snack. Or new shoes, running bra, or anything else un-tested.

But marathon diet and nutrition is also about what we eat when we are not running. The better food we put in the better results we’ll get out. You want to hydrate all week in preparation for your weekly and weekend end runs and walks. You also want to eat well. You don’t necessarily need a lot more calories — you’d be surprised by how little extra you need — but you should pay attention to your inputs.

And if you have special dietary needs, definitely do some extra Googling as we won’t be able to adequately address all the variations here or even in person. I’ve been standing next to the docs when somebody is asking about shinsplints or another injury and the doc will ask (out of nowhere) if the runner is a vegetarian. Sure enough, they said Yes and they just needed a slight tweak to their diet due to the marathon training demands. So if you follow a special diet, search for your diet plus “marathon” and read up. It could be the difference in preventing an over-use injury.

Also check out Green AC Steve’s Diet & Nutrition tips posted earlier this year and find out how he lost 75 pounds: