Monday, April 23, 2012

Marathon Training Tips: What to Eat

So if you follow Eights and Weights on Twitter (@eightsnweights), you probably know that I’m training to run the New Jersey half-marathon in a couple of weeks.  It is a 13.1 mile race, and so it can be pretty grueling if I am not well prepared.

It is a fact that many marathons do not get big involvement from Nigeria, and a lot of West African countries (I know you know East Africa puts in their time). And it is not due to lack of talent, but lack of resources and focus in my opinion. So let’s work to change that. It won’t be easy, but with the right preparation, we can definitely do it.

If you have ever run a race, you know that a lot of the work has to do with feeding yourself. You may be prime and ready to go, but if your body is not properly fueled, it could fail you.

I have been doing some research as I get a lot of information from Runners’ World, and New York Road Runners, and so I thought I’d share some of those nutrition tips with you.

  • No surprises on race day: I’m a big supporter of preparation. While you train, try out foods to see what works for you. But do not, and I repeat – DO NOT – use race day as an experiment. Don’t eat cereal that morning when you usually eat toast because you do not know how your body reacts to eating cereal before a race. This extends to a couple of days before as well.
  • Stock up on carbs: Now, that is not exactly how it sounds. I don’t mean go out and eat all the pasta you can find. But try to eat whole grains and natural plant carbohydrates to bulk up on energy a couple of hours before your run. It helps you store than slow-releasing energy you get from whole grains.
  • Be careful with the energy drinks: Depending on how much you sweat, it’s a good idea to drink some Gatorade or something with electrolytes to keep you hydrated. However, I always say nothing is better than water. Keep drinking water so that you stay hydrated as you run. I’d say you should probably drink water every 20 minutes during your runs.
  • Eat during the race: If you’re running continuously for over an hour, it is a good idea to pack in some energy food like a few nuts to chuck in as you run. If your body is not used to expending so much energy at once, you could quickly start losing steam if you don’t get replenished constantly.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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