Marathon Nutrition

What nutrition should we consume when training for a marathon? This is probably one of the most urgent questions most runners have. There is such a huge cloud of information and misinformation surrounding sports nutrition that is hard to decide what is best for us. Many runners often try nutrition supplements but they’ll never stop trying because the nutrition supplement business is producing thousands of different products which all offer super enhancing effects.

Maybe we are blinded by the flashy advertisements and the endless commercials which promote supplements that make you stronger and faster in a short time. Maybe we are looking for quick answers to reach our big goals. Can supplements deliver a shortcut to great achievements? It would be wonderful…

However, top marathon runners from Ethiopia, Mexico, and Kenya actually live on a very simple diet. There is enough nutrition in their local fresh produce to run at a very high professional level. Nature is providing everything we need in our immediate environment to bring out the best in us.

There are many endurance athletes who live on a natural diet, promote the trend of consuming natural nutrition while delivering professional high level results. Of course the nutrition supplement business wants to sell us as many artificial supplements as they can in order to increase profits, but there are few studies that have scientifically proven increased results.

Healthy nutrition is something many of us runners and other endurance athletes have forgotten about. It is the way we train and the way we live that makes us deliver our top performance. Simple changes such as decreased stress can save valuable energy which ensures a higher performance from the same nutrition.

Please look at the following to start improving you marathon training.

Six basic rules for marathon nutrition

There was a time where our mothers would tell us what was best for us. She would suggest when to eat a meal, how much to eat and even the order in which it should be eaten. Things have changed however, these days our moms are no match for the 35 billion dollars spend on food-marketing. These campaigns are aimed at selling new kinds of food designed for sales not for health and new eating occasions such as in front of the TV or computer screen and in the car. Here are some easy guidelines through our nutrition dilemma.

1) Avoid consuming anything that your great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Products wrapped in flashy shiny packages in various shapes would have confused your grandmother. History has proven that it is better to wait a few decades before adding new foods to your diet. Let’s take margarine for example, butter was substituted by trans-fatty margarine but it took science a while before they finally figured out that butter was actually healthier. So go for real food instead of food products.

2) Spend more on good food and eat less. Americans are known for the opposite, on average they spend less on food and more on their healthcare. How much would they eventually save by spending more on healthy food and less on their healthcare? Just remember that higher quality food is more nutritious and that you’ll need less of it to feel satisfied.

3) These days many of the products we buy are loaded with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). You would be surprised to find out where this stuff can be found. One fact is that this HFCS was not found in our diet until the 1970s, now we are consuming way too much of these empty calories every day. It is not necessarily worse than sugar, but these highly processed foods are filled with empty useless calories which we don’t need. Think about it, there is no chef in the world who uses HFCS!

4) Ignore the nutritional health claims on packages; they are there to mislead you. Just look at the healthiest food in the super market which is the fresh produce and notice that they are not making any FDA-approved health claims. It the processed food that is always making so much noise about their nutritional value that we must be cautious of them.

5) Start shopping at your local farmers’ market. This way you will start eating local food and the food which is in season. Seasonal food is at the top of their nutritional value and flavor bringing us back to the previous point made on spending more and eating less. By eating local food you’re also supporting your local community and helping the environment by not requiring excessive transport. (How about running to the farmers’ market buying your health food and running back with a negative split?)

6) Last but not least, let’s take a look at how we eat. We can learn valuable lessons from the French and Italians who are more into the eating experience than into what they’re actually consuming. This brings us to our mom’s lessons; not to eat too much, don’t eat snacks or seconds, and eating in the company of others. Mainly, it is important to enjoy eating, because when you enjoy eating your digestion works best and most nutrition is extracted from your meal.
So relax while you’re eating, eat real food and savor it!


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( April 18, 2011 )

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November 6, 2011

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October 9, 2011

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April 17, 2011

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September 25, 2011

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