Running 26.2 miles take a lot of energy, perseverance, stamina and training. However,if you are not fueled properly with the right nutrients, it will make the marathon course seem much longer and more challenging.
Endurance athletes and long distance runners know the importance of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, especially when they are preparing for a big race. The proper meal planning plays a big part in successfully completing a marathon, especially if you’re trying to do so in a certain amount of time. It’s no secret that consuming tons of fats and sugars will slow you down mentally and physically whereas lean meats, fruits and veggies give you what you need to push yourself throughout your training time frame and the race itself. Eating well will also help stave off sore muscles during the marathon.
“The best pre-marathon foods are those that are rich in carbohydrates, protein and good fats. Food choices vary by personal preference and taste,” Dr. Felicia Stoler, a New Jersey-based nutritionist and exercise physiologist who wrote “Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great,” told Competitor.
In the days leading up to your marathon, it’s important not to introduce any new foods into your diet as you don’t know how your stomach and body will react. Additionally, the day before your race, you’ll want to carb-load in order to have sufficient fuel sources to power you through all 26.2 miles.
Here are some excellent pre-marathon food options:
- Carbohydrates: The reason to eat carbs before a big race is because they are easily converted into blood glucose, which is used for energy. They are also stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle, which helps fuel you. All forms of pasta are a staple for carb-loading before a race. Other high-carb options include oatmeal, bagels, rice and potatoes, which are also easy to digest.
- Protein: It’s also important to eat plenty of protein before (and after) a race as big as a marathon because it can help keep your blood glucose levels balanced, which helps prevent a drop in blood sugar. Good protein options for pre-race meals include chicken, fish and eggs.
- Vegetables: As with any healthy meal plan, pairing your carbs and protein with nutritious vegetables helps you overcome any deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and Swiss chard are excellent options as a side dish.
In addition to eating well before your marathon, you can give yourself a deep tissue massage to work out any knots or kinks in your lower body muscles, which will help prevent injuries during and after your run.