Nutrition for Marathon Runners
CARBOHYDRATES! The word you see on every diet book with the word ‘NO’ in front of it. Every diet book out there tells a person to stop eating carbs to lose weight. Well, Marathon runners are probably the only group of people that CAN eat carbohydrates thanks to all the calories burned in training. Carbohydrates are the fuel for your body and marathon training burns a lot of carbs.
Foods are made up of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Marathon runners and athletes in general should eat a diet high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat. A training marathon runner should be consuming a diet that is composed of the following:
- 60% and 70% Carbohydrates
- 25% Protein
- 10% Fat
Why are carbohydrates important?
The body’s preferred fuel for running (or any endurance sport) is muscle glycogen. Glycogen is the body’s storage form of carbohydrate. If muscle glycogen breakdown exceeds its replacement, glycogen stores become depleted. The result is fatigue and inability to maintain training and racing intensity. In order to replenish and maintain glycogen stores, the marathoner’s diet needs to be carbohydrate-rich.
Why is protein important?
Protein is needed for muscle growth and repair. Regular physical training tends to reduce muscle protein breakdown and protein loss from the body. When muscle glycogen stores are low, due to inadequate calorie and carbohydrate intake, protein is used for energy rather than for muscle growth and repair and may contribute as much as 10% of the energy needed for exercise. It is important to maintain adequate carbohydrate intake in order to protein to be used efficiently.
to find your daily protein requirements, use the following nutrition calculator:
Why is fat important?
Fat provides the body’s major store of energy. Most humans have several weeks’ worth of fat reserves. Fat spares protein so that protein can be used for tissue synthesis instead of as an energy source. Fat holds the body organs in position and protects them. It also insulates the body and aids in the absorption and transport of fat-soluble vitamins. Your body requires some fat for essential functions. It is undesirable to cut fat out of your diet completely, instead, try to reduce your intake if levels are high.
A clean, simple, and toxic free Nutrition program I recommend: