Running a marathon (that is 42.195 kilometers to be exact) is no joke. You have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to endure such a grueling race. But getting to the race is just 1% of your journey; how you get there is even more important to consider.
There are so many tips and tricks from running experts and fellow runners, but how do you know which tips are right for you? How do you sift through the thousands of marathon-related articles and videos that you can easily access on the tip of your fingers?
When you are training for a marathon, it is a given that you are a passionate runner. You would not get this far if you’re just running for fun, without an end goal in mind. If you have committed to training for 5K, 10K, 21K, and now a 42K run, you know within that you love running, and you want to be better at it.
Not all runners aim to get into the marathon stage. Not only because training for and completing a marathon is intensely grueling; it is also with the time demands that you must commit to when preparing for this race. When you decide to join a marathon, especially if this is your first time, you know that you have to say “no” to late-night outs, junk food, too many desserts, smoking, and drinking alcohol. There’s a lot of sacrifices you must do to be able to commit to marathon training, and you should be ready to make those sacrifices.
With all these bits of advice that you get to read from articles and hear from runner friends, it can be overwhelming to drown in information. It can also get frustrating when you realize all along that you are not doing the right thing. All your hard work and dedication are put to waste, and you have to start all over again.
Since exercise training is more straightforward especially if you’ve gone through 5K, 10K, and 21K runs, we now focus on your nutrition. As a first-time marathoner, you must remember that diet is as important as training because you can’t sustain this kind of training without quality nutrition.
What are the nutritional secrets that can help you successfully sustain your marathon training? Here are top tips to help you stay in the game:
1. Eat quality foods—and don’t forget your carbs!
There is no doubt that quality trumps quantity any day, especially when it comes to nutrition. When training for a marathon, you must make sure that you fuel your body with the right nutrients. The best source of nutrition does not come from supplements, but from food. But we are talking about not just any type of food, but food that is sourced organically, free from additives and preservatives.
Consider shifting to local and organic food sources because these contain top-notch vitamins and minerals. It may be more expensive to eat organic, but you don’t have to give in to the hype. Consider shopping around your area for you may find local organic farmers independently selling their produce.
And when you go for marathon training, consider increasing your carbohydrate intake. Carbs are necessary at this stage because they provide fuel for all the energy you expend. However, do not just ingest any carb. Focus on eating quality carbohydrate sources such as brown rice and quinoa.
2. Hydrate well
There is no doubt that hydration is important as you train. Have a sufficient supply of water when you go outdoors for training; and if you are training for more than an hour, bring along an electrolyte drink. You don’t have to purchase commercial drinks that are full of sugar and additives. You can make your energy drink at home.
Popular electrolyte organic drinks include coconut and beetroot juice. These are free of additives and can provide you with the energy that you need without taxing your body.
These are the top two nutritional tips for first-time marathoners. You must never underestimate the power of nutrition when preparing for a marathon because it is only with quality food that you achieve quality training.