If you run for a short period of time you are unlikely to need to eat or drink while you are at it. But for runs that last longer than an hour – your performance is likely to improve, if you refill your fuel on the run. If you are preparing for Marathon day, here we’ll guide you on Ideal Diet for Marathon Day.
Your body mainly uses carbohydrates and fats to provide energy during exercise. The carbs that are used during exercise are stored in the form of glycogen – and these stores are limited. As soon as you begin to run out of glycogen, your body begins to break down muscle proteins to provide energy and maintain blood sugar levels.
During the first hour of exercise, though it depends on the stamina of each person, most of your energy comes from glycogen stored in your muscles. But as you consume that, blood sugar levels begin to drop and you become unable to carry on with your exercise. Such low blood sugar levels induce a feeling of tiredness, lethargy and your legs begin to feel heavy.
However, if you replenish your blood sugar while exercising, you will not get tired as quickly. That’s why it is a good idea to take energy rich foods during longer runs, like a marathon. Here are five tips that can help you push your limits during longer runs:
Before the Marathon
1) Make sure you focus on your nutrition plan a few weeks from the race day. Start with Low GI (Glycemic Index) carbohydrates such as whole grain rice and pasta, followed by real carb loading by making pasta, porridge and other vegetables and fruits that are high source of carbohydrates your daily source of food.
2) Carb loading before and during long running events is vital. Since your body can carry around 2,000 kcal of glycogen, eating high carbohydrate food like pasta, sport gels, isotopic drinks, bananas, oranges and honey can help maximize your energy stores and make you run for longer distances without any fatigue.
During the Marathon
3) While running, remember to refuel your body every 40-45 minutes with 40-60 grams of carbohydrates. This can be done by consuming either a banana, honey bread or energy gels. In case of energy drinks, make sure you don’t fill your stomach to the top.
After the Marathon
4) Within half an hour of finishing your race, make sure you give your body some protein. Chocolate milk, for example, is a good source of proteins as well as carbs. Apart from this, drink plenty of fluids to replace the water and electrolytes lost (during running) through sweat.
5) Given that protein helps to rebuild muscles, it is advisable to eat protein rich food like cheese, yoghurt and eggs after a long run to repair any possibly damaged tissues.