By Laurie Lasseter, Edward Health & Fitness Centers
At this point, with about five months before the marathon, most of your weekly runs are pretty short – less than 60 minutes – and preparing your body with smart, sustaining nutrition is a cinch. In my Marathon Training Workshop, I talk about nutrition for shorter and longer runs. Here’s what you need to know to coast through your runs over the next couple months:
Hydration. Water, as opposed to sports drinks, is your best bet when prepping for runs that are less than an hour. Two hours before each run, drink between 17 and 20 ounces of water. About 10 minutes before you head out, drink another 10 to 12 ounces. During shorter runs, I advise clients to simply drink when they’re thirsty. The typical runner needs about seven to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes to stay hydrated. For a more specialized approach, you can replace fluids based on your own fluid loss rate. In order to calculate, do a 60-minute run, weighing yourself before and after. Subtract any fluid you drank during the run (16 oz. = 1 lb.). The remaining loss is water/sweat loss. Now that you know your rate of sweat loss per hour, replace lost fluid, in ounces, within 30 to 60 minutes following each run.
Drinking before, during and after your run isn’t the only important consideration. Ongoing daily hydration matters, too. A great guideline is to drink a half-ounce of water for every pound of body weight per day, which includes water obtained from foods. By doing this, you prepare your body with the hydration it needs for optimal function.
Fuel. I like to refer to food as fuel – I think it’s the healthiest way to think about the quality of what we put in our bodies. For shorter runs, it’s OK to skip pre-run food, as it can be easier to run on an empty stomach. If you prefer a snack beforehand, keep it small, simple and low fiber/high carbohydrates, think half a bagel or a slice or two of toast. Whole grain is more nutritious, but you will need to experiment to see if pre-run whole grains upset your stomach. Within 30 to 60 minutes after your run, grab a protein- and carbohydrate-rich snack, such as skim milk and fruit or an apple with almond butter.
Just like daily water, what you eat over the course of each day prepares your body for the demands of marathon training. As a guideline, about 55 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates (mostly vegetables, fruits and whole grains), 25 percent from lean, high-quality protein and 20 percent from healthy fats.
As run lengths increase, I’ll share more dietary tips to help you reach training goals. Stay tuned!
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers