BLOG FITNESS, NUTRITION, FOOD, CADIO
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May 18, 2016
Nutrition for Your First Half Marathon (Race and Training)
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First off – congratulations! You’ve signed up for your first half, which means you are now officially one of ‘us’. One of those people you previously perhaps laughed at (they’re crazy! They’re running how far?!), envied (I could never do that!) or simply were unaware of (half of what again?). Welcome.
The food plan for running a distance such as a half, which likely takes between 2-3 hours on average, will undoubtedly differ from the food plan you used for weight loss. That’s a no-brainer! But how you may wonder?
Before we begin, for all intents and purposes in this blog remember that: long runs = any run >60 mins in length, continuous. Runs that get into this timeframe or longer require you to take in carbohydrate and electrolytes, in addition to the usual water.
This blog will cover the basics for what to eat during your long runs. Refer to Marissa’s blog post on Eating for Exercise for more information on what to eat before and after you exercise.
General Diet Guidelines
For this type of training, roughly half of your calories should be from carbohydrates. For many people, this means having 2-3 servings of carbohydrate per meal and 1-2 during snacks. Remember that for most carbohydrates, 1 serving = ½ cup. Mix and match types of carbs, and remember that ‘whole foods’ options such as fruits, beans, veggies and whole grains are highest in their nutrition value, so use them most. Tracking your food can be helpful during the training process to
During Long Runs
The rule of thumb is to have 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per 60 minutes of training.
Ex: for a 90-minute run = take in 45-60g carbohydrate to start
or for a 120-minute run = take in 60-75g carbohydrate to start
So what is does ~45g and ~60g carb look like?
- 2 packets GU brand energy gel
- 2 oz. hard pretzels
- 24 oz. Gatorade brand drink (G series)
- 8 Clif brand shot bloks
- 2 packets Jelly Belly brand Sport Beans + 16 oz. Gatorade brand drink (G series)
- 3 Honey Stinger brand honey waffles
It can be helpful to start at the low end of this range (30g carb/ hr.) and see how your body tolerates this. If your energy is waning, increase for the next long run and reassess.
You can spread your carb out through your run at different time intervals, starting around 30-45 minutes, which may help ease gut tolerance.
Ex: if you are using the Clif Shot Bloks brand of supplement, you could do 2 shot bloks at 30 minutes, 2-3 at 50 minutes and the last 2 at 70 minutes of the 90-minute run.
Remember to drink water with supplements such as gels, gummies, jelly beans, dried fruits or bars.
The rule of thumb here is to sip continuously throughout the run to avoid getting dehydrated or having an upset stomach. The best way to tell if you are hydrating properly is to weigh yourself right before and right after a long run. Know that losing 2% of your body weight is considered dehydration, so aim to avoid that level of change.
Remember that you do not want to try anything new on race day! So use your training long runs as opportunities to experiment with the best nutrition and hydration plan for you.
Looking for more guidance? Contact one of our dietitians for help to tailor an individual and specialized plan for you.
And also remember, odds are you are not the only one from PRO Club’s community that is running the race, so feel free to reach out on our Facebook page if you want a training or day-of race buddy. It never hurts to have a support system!
Good luck and have FUN!
And for those who aren't running it this time, I am sure you can find members and cast to cheer for there! Check in with your support team and on our Facebook group. For more details on the run itself, check out http://www.runrocknroll.com/seattle/