Marathon Season: Healthy Eating Tips

What you eat can be the reason why you cross, or don't, that finish line


Fall marathon season has officially kicked off. What you eat before your race – and in the weeks leading up to it – can be the deciding factors on whether or not your body can really survive those long runs.

It is important for athletes to find the proper training routine before the big day. Figuring out the perfect balance of meals can take some trial and error.

Proper preparation regimen and race strategy are crucial. Regardless of whether you log in a lot of miles on regular basis or running is new for you, the rule of eating healthy applies to everyone.  

Melissa Burchill, registered dietician and a certified dietitian-nutritionist of Zone Manhattan offers five tips to help you make it over that finish line.

Carb up!


Not consuming enough carbohydrates, the body’s preferred energy source, can cause your brain and muscles to show signs of exhaustion. You can avoid this feeling by “carb loading” before and during a run to bump up your energy. Carb-loading simply means eating more carbohydrates before an event in order to increase energy stores in the muscles.

Protein for your muscles


Protein helps rebuild muscles, so it is extremely important after a long run to repair the damaged muscle tissue and create new tissue. After a long run, Burchill recommends eating foods such as eggs, white meats, milk and cheese.

Avoid Empty Calories


Burchill recommends eating foods that provide you with the most nutrients per calorie. Nutrient-rich foods include whole grains and starches (like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal), lean proteins, healthy fats (avocados, nuts, and olive oil), and colorful fruits and veggies to provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Prepare your snacks and meals


Preparing your meals in advance can make a huge difference in the food choices you make in the weeks leading up to your event—athletes also have busy lives, so it’s important to plan ahead of time for what they will consume every week.

Avoid the F’s:


Avoid foods that are high in fat, foods that are fried and also foods that are high in fiber, as these can cause stomach problems during your run.

More readings:

Proper Pre-Race Routine on Race Day

How to Properly Recover and Prepare the Muscles for Your Next Race

Marathon Training Must-Haves