It’s the London Marathon this weekend, and whilst all the hard work of those taking part will have been done over the past few weeks and months, here are some healthy eating tips and examples for anyone thinking of running a long distance in the future, both before the race to help prepare, and afterwards to help aid recovery.
The Night Before a Marathon: Quinoa Salad with Fresh Parsley, Walnuts, and Raisins with Grilled Chicken
This nutty quinoa salad has enough carbohydrates to top off your body’s energy stores, so you’ll be fully fuelled to run 26.2 miles in the morning. The quinoa, walnuts, and grilled chicken also provide fibre, fat, and protein, all of which keep you feeling satisfied but not stuffed so that you can get a good night’s sleep in preparation for race day.
Breakfast Before Running a Marathon: Immune-Boosting Shake
Running a marathon puts a huge amount of stress on your immune system. The morning of your race, mix up a healthy smoothie containing whey protein, strawberries, orange juice, walnuts, and 10 grams of the amino acid glutamine. The glutamine combined with vitamin C from strawberries and orange juice will help keep your immune system strong from start to finish—and long after.
Immediately After Running a Marathon: Carbohydrate + Protein Recovery Drink
Recovery drinks that include protein (often whey protein) and carbohydrates (including glucose, sucrose, fructose, and maltodextrin) help mend your muscles faster than sports drinks with carbohydrates alone (think Gatorade, All Sport, and Powerade). An easy way to tell the difference: Sports drinks for hydration have about 50 to 70 calories per 8-ounce serving, whereas a nutrition drink for recovery will provide closer to 200 or 300 calories per serving. The higher calorie count is a result of more nutrients. To put the brakes on muscle damage and jump-start your recovery, reach for a recovery drink right after you cross the finish line.
60 to 90 minutes After a Marathon: Greek Yogurt with Granola, Blueberries, and Raspberries
Running 26.2 miles depletes your body’s antioxidant reserves, which is why choosing the right post-marathon foods is so important. The blueberries and raspberries in this snack deliver the necessary antioxidants to fight damage to your DNA due to stress from the big race. The granola contains carbohydrates to help replenish your muscles’ energy stores. Finally, Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt, providing your muscles with much-needed building for repair and recovery.
For more great advice about healthy eating and recipes, as well as workouts, training plans, and general fitness please head on over to shape.com, and for more information about the London Marathon please head here for the official website.