Now that it is training season for New York City’s Marathon, attention to diet and routine is crucial for those getting in shape for the race. What foods do runners need to eat in order to sustain their rigorous workouts you ask? Well, for starters, it isn’t gluten free.
The runner’s diet consists of carbohydrates in all shapes and sizes: from rigatoni noodles, to a bag of fresh cherries, carbs are necessary. For those who are cadio-crazed and endure in strenuous workouts, carbohydrates are especially important to consume because your body uses them for glycogen to provide energy and stamina. When your body lacks glycogen, the result is fatigue and the inability to maintain training. Long distance running is all about endurance, so 60-70% of a marathon runner’s diet should consist of carbohydrate-rich foods. Multiply your weight in pounds by 3.2 to give you the number of grams of carbohydrates you should consume per day.
Whole grains: breads, rice, pasta
Starchy Vegetables/Legumes: sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, beans
It’s no secret that protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, not just for runners, but for all athletes. Protein (preferably lean) consumption for marathon trainers should be around 15%, and you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.6 to calculate the number of grams of protein you should eat per day.
Low Fat Dairy Products
Nut Butters (in small amounts)
Even the most in-shape athletes cannot avoid the risks of a high-fat diet, so special attention to the types of fats consumed is crucial. Stay completely away from trans fats (as always), and keep saturated fats at a minimum. The healthy fats from extra virgin oils can be useful to an extent, but your diet shouldn’t consist of more than 15% intake of fat per day. Carbohydrate glycogen is preferred over fat as fuel because carbs are easily digested, giving you energy in efficient amounts of time; fat is more difficult to digest, and will prolong the availability of energy, which will leave you feeling more sluggish than energized.
Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Oils: olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
Running a marathon can be a very liberating experience. Even if running 26 miles seems unattainable for you at the moment, it’s definitely not impossible to achieve at some point in your life. Setting high goals for yourself is healthy and can be realistic contrary to the voice in your head telling you, ‘I can’t’. And the biggest plus about running–the sexy bod you get in return!
In good health,