Nutrition is a very important element for when you are training for your marathon. Questions about what to eat before, during and after the race are commonly asked by beginners; therefore, we have gathered a short guide with the best foods for your first marathon.
Nutrition doesn’t start a week before the marathon, like training it must start many days before the big day. Moreover, the food topic doesn’t end after the race, it becomes a more important topic for the athletes who didn’t achieve their goals or had problems through the whole race.
The Initial Training
It is important to research which foods will be the best options for your preparation, you must be sure you can tolerate them and adapt to your daily routine. Once you have found out which nutrition works better for you, start your meal plan as soon as possible.
Carbs are Friends
During the days before the race, make sure all your muscle glycogen is full. This can be achieved by eating more carbohydrate during these days. Make sure most of your daily calories come from carbohydrate.
Another great tip is to have the large meal at lunchtime and a lighter meal for dinner. Also, reduce the intake of fiber few days before the race. Remember, than eating more than normally, will make you feel bloated and uncomfortable for the race.
Your Breakfast the Day of the Race
This is an important meal before the race since it will restore your liver glycogen. It is important to eat a carbohydrate rich breakfast; it depends of what you feel like eating, it can go from a couple of bagels to waffles or pancakes.
Try to eat 3 to 4 hours before the race and drink a lot of water.
After the Marathon
First of all, congratulate yourself: You made it!!! Your best first move is to sip some water, wrap yourself in a blanket or anything you can find, to keep your body temperature from dropping.
For your first big meal after the race, replace carbohydrate for a full plate of whole-grain pasta, rice, bagels or other foods that are slow to digest. This is because, during the race, your blood flow was away from your stomach and used for your other muscles. Give your digestive system some time to return to its normal condition.
Once you feel your stomach back to normal, you may crave some sweets. Indulge yourself on your favorite dessert and recover from such a great achievement.
Days after the marathon
Now, it is vital to really listen to your body! Deep recovery should be your top priority and it will depend of your body and systems. Try to jog for a short distance the day after the race; it will help to reduce the soreness. Other great options are to swim or light spinning on a bike.
If you hurt yourself, avoid running and try to move the less possible, and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Good luck during your recovery!