As the 2017 Belfast Marathon fast approaches it’s great to see so many people getting involved and I think I’d be correct in saying we are well and truly into “Marathon Season” – and training has begun in earnest.
One thing which is not in doubt is the level of commitment and effort put into training, a very important aspect of the Marathon, however one aspect I do see overlooked time and time again is diet and nutrition!
The training for the marathon can be gruelling, and let’s face it the vast majority of the runners don’t have the luxury of a dietician / nutritionist, a coach, nor have they perhaps allowed sufficient time to rest and recover. Unfortunately those royalties only extend to the professional athletes. The early starts, the late night runs, the weekend runs; all take their toll on our bodies - and without sufficient good nutrition in our diets our bodies can suffer quite badly from this, both physically and mentally!
When it comes to foods for training you’ll want all macros covered, macros being Protein, Fat, Carbs and plenty of Fibre. These will all help with giving you an abundance of energy for those long sessions, as well as helping with the recovery process after each one. Be aware, your muscle glycogen stores will deplete after each session, and after the race itself – it’s important you restore these stores in order for your
body to recover sufficiently and support you for another training run a day or two days later.
The majority of you won’t be hitting 3hrs or under in a marathon, so you’ve got to think about drip feeding your body with energy during the training sessions and the race, and slow releasing carbohydrates are ideal for this. What exactly do “slow releasing” carbs do - slow releasing carbohydrates take the body longer to breakdown and convert into energy (as the title suggests), they are often referred to as a “complex carbohydrate. What this basically means is your body will get the benefit of this “slow release” of energy over an extended period - perfect for those long runs or training runs.
We all have busy day jobs, and maybe can’t afford time to sit down and prep our meals for each session – Oats are a gloriously versatile food and can be made into a quick, simple and easy pre or post training snack to have or to help with your training. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown in a bag of oats.
In a bag of White’s Porridge Oats the following values apply per 100g;
In essence all macros are covered and you’ve got an abundance of energy ready to be slowly released into your body!
Don’t underestimate the power of the little humble Oat- they are among the healthiest grains on earth - full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, and can also aid in weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and help reduce cholesterol.