10 nutrition tips for marathon runners

Planning to run the marathon? Here is how you can get in shape..


The Mumbai Marathon's coming up. brings you some diet and nutrition tips to ensure you cross the finish line on the day of the race.

1. Carb-loading is, obviously, the go-to method during marathon preparation. Stocking up on carbohydrate and fiber-rich foods will boost your energy reserves for the run. However, long-distance runners should plan their fiber intake wisely, as foods such as high-fiber cereals, grains, granola bars, fruits and vegetables could lead to uncomfortable intestinal distress and cramping come race day. (Read: Training for the marathon (expert tips))

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2. Protein will reinforce your muscle power, the integral weapon in your arsenal for the marathon. It also helps repair damaged muscle tissues after practice runs and stimulates growth of healthier tissues. (Read: Expert speak: Are you fit enough for the marathon?)

3. Monitor your alcohol and caffeine intake. Around the week before the race, make sure you don't increase your coffee and alcohol consumption. A cup of coffee or a pint of beer the day before won't cause any hindrance, but make sure you don't overdo it.

4. Also, prevent any major changes to your diet plan in this time-span. Stick to what has worked for you so far. Indulging in high-carb, high-fiber diet before the race will put your metabolism out of balance and affect your performance.

5. Runners should weigh themselves before and after long runs. For every pound they lose during the run, they will need to replace it with 16 ounces of water. Even during the run, it is beneficial to drink a cup of water after every mile.

6. Runners should prepare for various weather conditions, as heat will increase sweat rate and lead to a higher loss of salt. Sweat is the body's way of eliminating generated heat. Make sure you sip on sports drinks as they will not only keep you hydrated but also replenish your body electrolytes. (Read: Taking your marathon training to the next level)

7. In colder temperatures, runners will require more calories to help maintain their core body temperature. Hydration needs also may increase in cold weather if inappropriate clothing is worn.

8. Avoid unnecessary meds. Over-the-counter painkillers can cause nausea and stomach cramping which will only slow you down. Acetaminophen, on the other hand, doesn't affect the kidneys and can be taken for achy feet and knees.

9. Runners should monitor their urine, as its colour is a great indicator for assessing hydration status. The clearer the colour, the more hydrated a runner is.

10. Don't overdo it. Listen to your body. If you feel discomfort while running, particularly in the chest area, you need to slow down and may need to get yourself examined by a doctor. While the determination to complete the race will be a significant factor to continue running, make sure you don't endanger your body in the process.

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