Marathons place huge strain on your body so, to ensure optimum performance, it is essential that you consume the right nutrients at the right time.
In the days before the race, you should be following a high-carbohydrate diet, or ‘carbo loading’. During a marathon, your body burns around 3,000 calories of energy. With good carb loading, your body can store about 1,200 to 1,500 calories in your liver and muscles.
The night before the race, pack your race-day bag. This will vary from person to person, but should include your running gear, race number and/or chip, plenty of water, pre-race and post-race sports beverages, food, first aid items, endurance gels, weather dependant accessories and your race plan.
On The Day
After about one hour of running, water and oxygen alone will not be enough to keep your body going. At this point you will need to consume additional energy drinks and endurance gels to replace lost glycogen and salt. Sports drinks replace electrolytes such as sodium and potassium that are lost through sweat and can also help prevent muscle cramps. Endurance gels and sports jellies are easy to digest and replace the glycogen stores that your body will have used for energy in the first part of the race.
The current advice about race nutrition and hydration is very simple: eat when you are feeling low on energy and drink when you are thirsty. As a general rule of thumb, after the first hour you should be taking in about 100 calories and then 100 calories every 45 minutes thereafter.
After The Race
Afterwards, you will need to replenish your body with carbohydrates and protein to aid your body’s recovery and muscle repair. You can do this with a light protein or recovery shake. For more help preparing nutritionally for your next marathon, contact Sporty’s Health on 07 3177 3063.