February 15, 2013

Marathon Nutrition

The Tacoma City Marathon Running Crew is starting to increase our training mileage and I felt it critical to share the importance of nutrition during training.

As we train and prepare for a marathon, nutrition is one of the most important aspects for which we should put thought and planning into.  A carefully planned training schedule has little value if we don't properly plan to meet our nutritional requirements for a long distance run and race.

I mentioned last week before the run that water will generally suffice for runners up to 2 hours, if your glycogen stores are trained to do so, but there are some high level tips that will help make sure you have a successful race.

  • Starting your long run hydrated fuled is just as important as hydrating during the run.
  • Water is the drink of choice for runs anywhere between 1-2 hours
  • A source of fuel containing electrolytes, such as sports drinks or GU, are recommended for runs over 60 min  
  • Always sip on water during your run even if you don't feel thirsty.  Don't rely on your thirst to indicate whether or not you need to drink.  If you wait until you feel thirsty, you have waited too long and your body is well on it's way to dehydration.  
  • It is virtually impossible to "catch up" on your fluid requirements once you sense that you're thirsty. It is important that you hydrate constantly during the day. The color of your urine should be relatively clear. 
  • Practicing your carbohydrate and electrolyte supplements on a training run is extremely important, especially if you have a sensitive GI Tract. Gels are a great carb and electrolyte supplement, but runners must find the right balance of gel and water intake to ensure proper absorption and avoid cramping.  There are also gummies, jelly beans, etc available.  
Every runner is different and experimenting on a training run is the best way to ensure you don't have a lousy run on race day.  Cutting a training run short because of cramping, nausea, or a bathroom stop is definitely the way to go.  Feeling great during your race definitely helps with your success.  No one wants to feel lousy on race day or cut the run short because their body didn't agree with something they never ate before.  

We spend weeks...months training for marathon day and what we drink and eat during the run is just as important.  Think, plan, and prepare for success.  Train for the miles and train for hydration.  Trust me, a dehydrated runner is a miserable runner. (Speaking from experience)

Feel free to ask questions or request recommendations.

Happy runnings...