marathon nutrition

Marathon Nutrition for Stellar Performance

Running a marathon requires much more than field training. Effective marathon training calls for expert marathon nutrition lessons. Many runners burn out after the first few miles of their race because they do no have enough glycogen reserves to sustain their pace through the marathon. Glycogen depletion is the main cause of hitting the dead energy wall in races. Glycogen is a fuel made from carbohydrates in a normal diet. It is normally stored in minute amounts in the liver and muscles. It is delivered to muscle points as glucose through the bloodstream. Typically, most professional runners can sustain the 13.1 mile run but often find it hard to sustain longer races.

Reasons Why Many Runners Hit the Energy Wall

marathon nutritionOne mistake some runners make is to take off too fast in a marathon race. Studies show that if a marathoner runs the first half of the race 1% faster than recommended, the risk of glycogen depletion increases manifold. Marathon trainers advise maintaining a stable pace throughout the race and breaking off, when the situation demands, towards the finish line. The second most common mistake is of course off the track. The diet that a runner is on, especially close to the race determines to a large extent how well they will vary and maintain pace in the course of the race. Basically, it is about eating food that should supply sufficient glycogen. The nutritional plan for half marathon and full marathon runners has been reshaping in recent years.

The Marathon Nutrition Shift

While in the past, it was widely believed that runners did not need to diet for weight loss, new studies show that runners rely more on diet specs for managing their weight. Weight is a strong factor in athletic performance. In particular, it has been shown that runners with the least body fat content exhibited a faster pace in their races.

The Optimal Carbohydrate Requirement for a Runner

There is a specific amount of carbohydrates an athlete requires to comfortably run their training program. The amount here correlates to the intensity of training, i.e. how long the sessions last and how rigorous they are. Use the following guide for the ultimate marathon nutrition with respect to carbohydrate intake.

Training time (min) Daily carbohydrate intake (g/kg)
30 to 45 3 – 4
45 to 60 4 – 5
61 to 75 5 – 6
76 to 90 6 – 7
90 to 120 7 – 8
121 and above 8 – 10

Without an effective marathon nutrition program, runner will have difficulty training and successfully racing to their true potential.

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