Everyone who’s ever run a marathon has advice to give you about what you should be eating. This month, our nutritionist Sheila tells you what you really should be eating if you’re taking on the 26.1miles this spring.

Fuelling for your marathon – and tip of the month: Turmeric

Fuelling for your work load is important; equally so refuelling post exercise.

The window of opportunity to refuel is 45 minutes after exercise when the enzymes that take up the energy from foods are at their most active, and this means you will recover from your session more efficiently.  If you don’t take on food during this time you may find your training declines and you become fatigued and perhaps ill.

During the run up to a marathon, the intake of carbohydrates – post training  – as the demands on your body’s energy systems are at their highest. If you find it difficult to eat this soon after training invest in one of the sports protein/carb formulas (recovery drinks), Up and Running or any good health food shop will sell them.

Establish a good eating pattern where you have protein and carbohydrates at every meal, so an example of this may be;

  • Breakfast: Porridge and mixed seeds/nuts, berries, milk, either oaty, soya, cows or almond.
  • Lunch: Sweet jacket potato with green vegetables and avocado; omelette; tinned sardines; chicken or beans. Any of these served with wholegrain bread makes an ideal lunch.
  • Dinner: Lean meat, fish or pulses, with at least 3 different types of vegetables, one being green, with wholegrain rice, quinoa or potatoes.
  • Snacks: If you’re training twice a day, you will need snacks to help keep your energy levels up. This could be banana and some nuts, or oat cake with peanut butter or almond nut butter. You may find a protein/carb bar more convenient or you could try a small pot of live yoghurt with some seeds or nuts or chop up a small banana and mix.

Training hard isn’t a licence to eat as much sugary food as you like – keep it to treats. Too much sugar can lead to increased inflammation, disrupted blood sugar levels, and consequently a roller coaster of energy and moods can arise.

Research shows that there is an increased demand for up to 24 hours after exercise for recovery and repair, so it is important to ensure that adequate protein is supplied throughout the day as well as immediately after exercise. Aim to have your protein with a variety of carbohydrates to avoid food intolerance and increased diversity means more nutrients.  Look at using, quinoa, buckwheat pasta, corn pasta, wholewheat pasta, rice, sweet potatoes, for a healthy slow release energy.

Tip of the month:

Turmeric, has been widely researched for its anti-inflammatory activity.  Studies show it can reduce muscle damage after exercise.  It can be consumed every day for exercise related pain or inflammation. Add it to foods or drinks, it is an amazing spice to use in cooking but alternatively can also be bought as a supplement.

Sheila Illingworth BSc (Hons) Dip I.O.N. mBANT mCNHC is a registered Nutritionist, based in North Yorkshire.

If you would like a consultation with Sheila she can be contacted on 07947 716679 or you can email her on sheila.boyde@gmail.com

Sheila Illingworth

BSc (Hons) Dip I.O.N. mBANT mCNHC is a Registered Nutritionist

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