Tag Archives: fuel

How to Prepare for a Marathon – Nutrition

Disclaimer: This is going to be about how I prepared (in terms of nutrition) for the Marathon. Please note that I’ve only ever ran a Marathon once in my life. So, follow at your own risk.

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Just to get your attention. 😉

Nutrition is essential for a healthy body. It becomes even more important when you’re training for a marathon. Eating proper foods can give you the energy and fuel you need to survive your training.

Before my marathon training began, I have always stuck to a relatively healthy diet. Some refer to this as the 70/30 rule (eating clean 70% of the time and indulging in your favourite foods in the remaining 30%). If you are aiming for a lean and mean physique, then maybe you can opt for the 80/20 rule (not my cup of tea and I don’t think I can survive that). Match them to your fitness goal/s and see which one works for you. Remember, it has to be sustainable.

Eating clean/healthy is something that comes naturally. It is something that I WANT to do. I’ve been practising this habit for quite some time now so it doesn’t come as a chore. I enjoy eating what I eat too!

The changes I made to my own diet:

Thankfully, I didn’t have to make any major changes to my diet. I just had to increase my carbohydrate and protein intake to go through the grueling hours of training and also to recover.

So, what do I eat 70% of the time? Here’s a list of my everyday source of:

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Carbohydrates: Sweet potatoes, wholegrain bread, soba noodles, crackers (Yes, I don’t eat rice)

Protein: Tuna, eggs, beans, chicken, salmon, quinoa, beef (Occasionally lamb and pork)

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Fat: Avocado, egg yolk, nuts, olive oil, coconut flesh, Moocow (Yes, I made MooCow part of my everyday diet. Haaaaaaaa! Don’t judge)

Vegetables: Spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini (Whatever that is available)

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Fruits: Apple, orange, papaya, banana, kiwi, bluberries, mango, strawberries, cherries (Whatever that is available)

And the remaining 30%?

We were given a rough diet plan to follow. Basically, everything under this 30% section should be avoided. You wouldn’t want to be carrying any excess weight on race day!

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We all have our weaknesses when it comes to food. We’re all human. I am proud to say that I LOVE my CAKE and ICE CREAM!

The biggest change that I had to make to my diet was eating all cutting out the cake and ice cream. Of course, I didn’t eliminate them. That would be crazy. Always remember, everything in moderation.  I did, however, try to avoid other refined sugar and fatty foods. I don’t like how they make me feel (bloated, lethargic) especially during training. I don’t particularly like fried stuff so that was easy to avoid.

10615351_10152867994191388_1184139972430540353_nI allow myself to indulge on Fridays and over the weekends because that is when I spend time with my family and friends (and that always means with loads of FOOD!).

You have to find your own balance in life and what would suit your schedule. For me, weekend track sessions were the WORST because that meant I couldn’t be out eating my CAKE and ICE CREAM! Oh the pain.

Happy meals:

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Ice cream, cake, ice cream, cake, ice cream, ice cream, cookies, cake and uhhh, MORE ICE CREAM! With the amount of running that I do, I can have my cake AND eat it too.

Other meal ideas:

Breakfast:

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Typical everyday breakfast: eggs, toast, green apple and a banana (not pictured).

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On top of that, I have my oats/muesli with fruits, chia seeds and goji berries. Oh yeah, my definition of BIG BREAKFAST!

Breakfast is the first meal of the day. So, you gotta’ get it right, right?! Quick and easy to prep! I literally take 10 minutes (no time to waste) every morning to prepare and eat.

Lunch/Dinner:

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A tonne of vegetables and some protein with some carbs on the side. Don’t let the pictures fool you. Looks can be deceiving. I actually look forward to my vege meals! So fresh, so good!

Pre-Workout:

On top of your everyday meals, you may need an extra boost or pre-workout snack to fuel your training session. I trained mostly in the evening which meant that I had to snack during working hours. I needed something that was quick, easy and yummy. Thanks to one of our sponsors, Powerbar, snacking on the go was not a problem.

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Vanilla crisp! SOOOOOOO GOOD!

Other good pre-workout snacks (that I consumed as well):

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Banana, apple, yoghurt with oats/fruits, cheese & crackers, Chatime (OH YEAH!), coffee (rarely), peanut butter on toast, sweet potatoes, chocolate

Try to stay away from refined sugars (ooppps!) which would cause a spike in your insulin levels. Your body will experience the crash unless you continue feeding it with sugar. Opt for foods with natural sugars.

Post-Workout:

Your post-workout meal is just as important as your pre-workout meal. A good mix of carbs and proteins should do the trick. This would help replenish muscle glycogen stores and aid in muscle building. Try not to go too long without eating (within the next 30 mins – 1 hour after your workout when protein and glycogen synthesis is highest) as this could delay recovery rate and your body may start to breakdown muscle tissue.

It is not always convenient to eat within that time frame and you may not have an appetite to do so. The solution? Pack your favourite snack (healthy).

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I always have my green apples with me. If I am racing, I would pack some wholegrain bread and yoghurt. This would be sufficient to last me until my next meal.

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Water, water, water. Hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE! Need I say more?

Supper:

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SUPPER! The most important meal of the day! End your day with a happily filled tummy.

Ok, I’m kidding. No supper. Go to bed.

No, seriously. NO!

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Ok, maybe some of this with some hot Milo?

Eating the right foods at the right time will compliment your marathon training. I hope that I’ve helped you in some way.

Now, fuel that tank and get back to your training!

Let me know what you guys think! How do you fuel for your marathon training?

Happy eating and have fun running!

 

Sweet potato…SWEET POTATO!

One of my all time favourite foods would have to be sweet potatoes! My love for sweet potatoes knows no bounds. I even made up my very own sweet potato song! It goes something like this: SWEET POTATO SWEET POTATO!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that’s about it. With a tune, of course.

Sweet potatoes are grown all around the world. They are often associated with war-time and poverty because they are easy to obtain, grow, harvest and prepare.

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Why sweet potatoes? Because they’re so delish and comes with a truckload of nutrients that are good for you.

The HEALTH FACTS:

CARBS!

Many people have the idea that carbs are the enemy when it comes to losing weight. Well, not all carbs are bad carbs. You just need to eat the right carbs! The good ones are complex carbohydrates – SWEET POTATOES! As a runner, I need carbs to fuel my short and long runs. I don’t enjoy eating rice or noodles as much as bread. To switch things up (instead of eating bread EVERY DAY), I’ve added sweet potatoes into my daily meals. One cup of mashed sweet potatoes contain about 58 grams of carbohydrates. They are easily digested and will fuel you for at least an hour.  Sweet potatoes also act to regulate blood sugar levels. As they are slow digesting carbohydrates, sugars are released slowly into the blood stream preventing the sudden spike of insulin.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is good for both the eyes and the immune system. During training, the body weakens and the immune system goes down. One medium sized sweet potato will supply 100% of your daily needs, keeping your immune system up and running.

Beta-Carotene

This yellowish-orange tuber is a big hint of what it contains, you got that right – BETA-CAROTENE. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, is an antioxidant. Like all antioxidants, they prevent the formation of free radicals through oxidation. Free radicals are capable of cell damage which could lead to the development of chronic diseases (heart diseases or cancer). Beta-carotene also protects your skin from the sun by deflecting harmful UV rays. They are also thought to prevent macular degeneration and vision loss.

Vitamin C

The familiar vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant. It prevents free radicals that are created through oxidative stress. They also have anti-ageing properties and are able to boost collagen formation, leaving your skin bright and smooth. Running puts a lot of stress on the body. It is always good to have vitamin C in your diet!

Anti-inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to the purple sweet potato. Their deep rich purple tones come from the anthocyanin pigment. Studies have shown that they prevent unwanted inflammation by deactivating certain important inflammatory precursors (COX-2, iNOS). In our digestive tract, they are also capable of lowering the risk of oxygen radicals and heavy metals.

Manganese

A trace element, often overlooked, is involved in bone metabolism and the metabolism of carbohydrates.

ImageWhat I normally have for lunch: Salad, tuna, egg, avocado and… SWEET POTATO!

To reap the full benefits of this tuber, it is important to incorporate some fat in your diet. Some fat is needed for the efficient uptake of beta-carotene and vitamin A as they are fat soluble. One tablespoon of olive oil or some avocado would do the trick (3-5grams).

Sweet potatoes are so easy to prepare! Their natural sweetness allows you to consume them on their own. No sugar, salt or dressing needed! Roast or boil them and they are good to go! GOOGLE sweet potato and you’ll find a whole selection of different ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

There is absolutely NO reason why SWEET POTATOES should not be on your plate! HAPPY EATING!