Now that the marathon is less than 3 months away, and you have a lot of miles under your belt, we’re going to be ramping up the mileage for the marathoners. The goal between now and the end of February is to do several 18-20 mile runs so your body will be very ready for the big 26.2. It’s more important now, and will continue to be important, that you eat a good breakfast before the run, and you eat appropriately during the run. I can assure that if you don’t fuel up before and during the run, you will run out of energy somewhere along the route, and you probably won’t like the way you feel. So, here are a few tips.
There is no “one size fits all” nutrition plan, so you need to experiment until you find out what works best for you. However, please stay away from a breakfast of excess protein and fat. Steak and eggs is a really bad idea; a bagel, oatmeal, milk, wheat bread, yogurt, fruit, and other “good carbs” with a little fat and protein are more appropriate foods to try. Those “good carbs” will give you a steady flow of energy, rather than the burst and crash you’ll get from something too sugary, or the lump in your stomach from too much fat and protein . Timing is important too. Be sure to give yourself enough time to digest your breakfast before you start running.
It’s also important to think about how you will eat during the run. If the granola at the snack stations works for you, great and keep it up. If you feel better with something else like gels or energy bars, go for it. Maybe a mix of both. But, whatever you choose, please be sure to start snacking no later than an hour into the run. It will take your body some time to digest the food, so you want to start eating before you start feeling low on energy.
Plan ahead, experiment, and listen to your body so you can be well prepared on Marathon Day. Your body will thank you.