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After all of the hours which have gone into coaching for a marathon, it could be a disgrace to fall on the final hurdle since you haven’t given your physique the vitamins it wants.
Your physique makes use of carbohydrates to gas high-intensity train, together with marathons. Whereas the physique shops some carbohydrate (within the type of glycogen) within the muscle groups and liver, sadly, it will possibly’t retailer massive quantities. So once we don’t have sufficient carbohydrate out there to make use of as gas throughout train, vitality ranges drop and we begin to fatigue. Throughout a marathon, this fatigue may take the type of heavy legs, or “hitting the wall”. It may possibly additionally result in low blood sugar, leaving you feeling light-headed and weak.
Hydration ranges additionally will have an effect on how you’re feeling through the race and the way effectively your physique can address the race calls for. Dehydration places extra pressure in your physique, which makes racing really feel more durable, impacts temperature regulation and contributes to fatigue.
Since nobody desires to really feel this fashion throughout a race they’ve spent months coaching for, it’s essential to be sure to’re fuelling your self correctly – not simply on race day, however within the days main as much as it, too.
Earlier than the race, you have to have sufficient glycogen saved in your physique.
One solution to high up glycogen shops earlier than the race is thru “carb loading”. This doesn’t imply consuming as many carbs as you possibly can the evening earlier than a race. Moderately, it means growing the quantity of carbs you eat about two days earlier than the race.
A carbohydrate consumption of 7-12g per kg of physique weight in every 24-hour interval is really useful. So every meal, attempt to eat barely extra carbohydrates than traditional and embody between two and three high-carb snacks between meals.
Pasta, rice, bagels, bread, potatoes and cereal are all nice carbs to incorporate in your meals. For snacks, strive pancakes, bananas, rice muffins with jam or toast with honey. In the event you’re inclined to an upset abdomen, lower-fibre choices, (resembling white bread or pasta) could also be useful.
Staying hydrated within the days earlier than the race can also be essential. A straightforward solution to decide for those who’re hydrated is to test the color of your urine – it ought to be a pale straw color. Examine the climate as effectively. If it’s scorching main as much as the race, you might must drink greater than you usually would to be hydrated.
On race day, ensure that to reach with a vitamin and hydration plan in place. On the times earlier than the race, test what stops there are, and what every station could have. It will assist you recognize what you’ll want to hold through the race. Ideally, use this plan in coaching to get your intestine used to the quantity and the varieties of carbohydrates you’ll eat through the race.
Race day begins with breakfast. This meal tops up your liver glycogen shops, which deplete in a single day, and helps to regulate blood sugar ranges. Purpose to eat breakfast two to 4 hours earlier than the race, and preserve it excessive in carbohydrates and low in fats, fibre and protein to assist intestine consolation. Toast with jam, cereal or a bagel with honey and a chopped banana are good choices.
Drink 5-7ml per kilogram of physique mass of fluid three to 4 hours earlier than the race begins. After you heat up have some extra carbs to high up your gas shops.
Because you’ll be operating for greater than two hours, you’ll nonetheless must high up your glycogen shops through the marathon. Purpose to eat 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour. Whereas the physique can use as much as 90g of carbohydrate per hour throughout a marathon, it’s best to solely eat this quantity for those who’ve executed it throughout coaching to keep away from abdomen issues.
Gels, chews, vitality bars, bananas, jam sandwiches and sports activities drinks are all nice carb sources to eat through the race. Be certain that to solely eat merchandise you’ve had earlier than to scale back potential intestine discomfort. Eat fluid recurrently all through the race in small quantities. Take care to not over-consume fluids, as this may trigger exercise-induced hyponatremia, a probably life-threatening situation brought on by low sodium ranges within the blood.
When you’ve celebrated crossing the end line, it’s time for the restoration course of to start.
Begin by replenishing each fluid and carbs. Typically it may be exhausting to eat straight after a marathon, so liquid choices is perhaps higher, resembling a sports activities drink, smoothie, milkshake, and even yoghurt pouches. Milk can also be an efficient post-exercise re-hydration drink, which has the additional advantage of containing protein. This helps with muscle development and restore.
Your celebratory, post-race meal ought to be excessive in carbs and protein. Within the 4 hours post-race purpose to have 1-1.2g of carbs per kilogram of physique weight every hour. Purpose for 30-40g of protein to assist your muscle groups get well. Although you may wish to have some celebratory drinks, drinks with greater than 4% alcohol content material can negatively have an effect on restoration.
To ensure all that tough coaching doesn’t go to waste, ensure that to plan out your weight loss program rigorously within the days main as much as a marathon so that you’re correctly fuelled. And make sure you follow acquainted meals earlier than and through race day to attempt to keep away from any abdomen issues that will jeopardise all of your exhausting work.
Lindsay Macnaughton doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.