Nutrition is critical while training for a marathon or half marathon. The key food group for runners is CARBS. Carbs provide your fuel and you need to make sure your body is taking in enough carbs.
Men and women need to consume 2000-2500 calories each day. While training, you will need to add 100 calories per mile you will be running. Vitamins are highly recommended because your body needs an adequate amount of minerals. A multi-vitamin is a great choice for every -day living. Junk food should be excluded, meaning pizza and ice-cream should be avoided at all costs!
Following are good sources of complex carbohydrates and protein:
Good Carbohydrates: Potatoes, yams, beans, peas, wheat bread, bananas, macaroni, spaghetti, cereal, raisins, apples, bagels, syrup, brown rice, corn, apples, carrots, root vegetables
Good Protein: Low fat milk, beans, green peas, lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese, tofu and soy products
(Food suggestions from http://www.marathonrookie.com/nutrition.html)
What to eat when
Timing is a big factor with nutrition. You need to be able to maintain energy during your runs and then make sure to eat the correct food after your run.
A light snack is the best option before a run, something like trail-mix or fruit. Whatever you decide to eat it should be something light.
Try different foods and see what your body likes and doesn’t like. Try different food choices during shorter runs and longer runs.
After a run, your body is in need of calories and re-fueling. After a run your body needs more carbohydrates to help muscles recover. The best time to feed your body is within 30 minutes after a run. Carbs and proteins are the smartest choices so you’ll be ready to have another strong run.
Make sure you are taking care of your body and providing it with all the nutrients it needs. Nutrition is important to your body when training at these levels. Good luck on training for your next marathon!