Nutritional Requirements For Marathon Training
The key to a successful first marathon is in paying attention to your nutrition during your training leading up to the race. Your marathon nutrition plan is just as important as your training plan, and the two should be scheduled together for your first marathon.
Your nutritional requirements for long distance running and marathon racing may be different from anyone else, but there are three common needs to replenish: electrolytes, fluid, and fuel.
Electrolyte – Marathon Training Nutrition Needs
Electrolyte replenishment during a marathon is the most important aspect of your training plan. Muscle cramps usually involve improper hydration and/or improper electrolyte replenishment. Cramping during a long run or race is actually one of the last signs of electrolyte depletion.
It’s the body’s painful way of letting you know that you are running on empty and must resupply as quickly as possible. For comfortable training and leg cramps prevention, you can get some electrolyte replacement capsules:
Optimal performance during a marathon depends on a consistent supply of enough electrolytes in your body. Electrolytes are the chemicals which create ions in body fluids. These ions carry the electrical energy necessary for muscle contraction. Electrolyte needs vary much more than your fluid or caloric needs, so you will have to experiment more in your training until you have this part of your fueling tailored to your requirements in various conditions.
Fluids – Marathon Training Nutrition Needs
Is it possible to drink too much water during a long run or marathon? The answer is yes. When you drink too much water it may compromise the sodium levels in your body and may eventually cause hyponatremia, or water intoxication, a rare but serious condition affecting endurance athletes.
Dr. John Cianca, a sports medicine physician with Baylor College of Medicine and the medical director for the Houston Marathon, has done extensive clinical studies to measure low sodium levels in marathon runners. His research team discovered that almost 85 percent of subjects had lowered blood sodium levels during or after running a marathon. Nearly one quarter of subjects had levels below 135 mEq per liter of blood (the normal range is 136-142 mEq), at which point a diagnosis of hyponatremia would be issued.
Sodium – Marathon Training Nutrition Needs
Some runners try to combat low sodium levels by increasing their daily sodium intake, especially before a hot-weather race. This is contradictory to how the body will react, and may hinder your performance.
When it comes to the proper Marathon Training Nutrition Plan seek a balance of sodium and water, less is more during exercise.
Bill Misner, Ph.D., the Director of Research and Product Development at Hammer Nutrition recommends giving your body 30 to 40 percent even when it cries out for 110 percent. If you increase your sodium intake you will overwhelm your body’s way of regulating itself. Also, sodium is only one quarter of the electrolytes your body needs. So skip the salt tablets for your marathon and grab an electrolyte replenishment, typically found in a powder or in a tablet which you can drop into your water bottle.
Calorie Needs For Marathon Training
Once you’ve practiced and found your ideal fluid and electrolyte nutrition for the marathon, it’s time to focus on your fuel, or calorie, requirements. In the same way that you don’t want to overwhelm your body with fluid or sodium, less is more when it comes to successfully fueling your body on race day.
The best way to figure out how much calories you need for marathon training is according to your body’s absorption, not its output. Instead of trying to replace everything you are losing, you should give your body a helping hand.
Check the calorie monitor watch on the right (click image for more info)
Dr. Misner’s research found that athletes who experienced fueling success in endurance events consumed 280 calories or less per hour with calories primarily coming from complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars. Effective replenishment, then, would be 30 to 40 percent of the loss of calories during the marathon training session. By steering clear of the “consume what you lose” theory, you can avoid the potential for stomach distress or fatigue during your marathon.
Marathon Training Nutrition Plan Conclusion
The best way to find out your ideal Marathon Training Nutrition Plan (fluid, electrolyte, and fuel needs) is to practice during your marathon training. Six to eight months before your race, start keeping a log of what you ate and drank during your training, at what intervals during your run, the weather conditions, and how you physically felt both during and after your run.
By testing your own limits and tracking the effects, you can create a plan for your race day which will keep your body in harmony and fueled for a successful marathon, free from cramping, fatigue, bloating, stomach pain, and bonking.
Please help others, consider to share..