Official nutritionist for the Brighton Marathon Weekend, Nick Morgan, has put together some helpful advice on planning your meals to support your training. How, what and when you eat is an important part of your training, and if you get it right, can increase your efficiency and performance no end.
Focus: Reduced carbohydrate, increased protein
Due to your reduced energy expenditure, you can afford to cut back on the carb intake. For example, eat a smaller bowl of porridge at breakfast or swap a sandwich at lunch for a salad. Eat a portion of protein (animal or vegetable source) at every meal to support muscle growth and repair. Increase your vegetable intake to help reduce free radical damage.
Normal Training Days
Focus: Moderate carbohydrate and protein
If you’ve trained in the morning, you can afford to reduce your intake at dinner. However, if you’re training in the evening, it’s important to replenish muscle glycogen stores with carb-based foods at dinner. Focus on low-GI carbs for sustained energy release and a portion of protein with each meal for ongoing muscle growth and repair. Include a portion of healthy fats such as mackerel, avocado or olive oil to promote muscle function.
Heavy Training Days
Focus: Increase carbohydrate intake
Increase your intake of carbs. Include a portion with every meal and top up with snacks such as fruit, rice cakes, popcorn and fruit bread. Choose low-GI carbs away from training and high-GI snacks around training. Consider eating a protein based snack (e.g. Greek yoghurt with nuts, oatcakes with nut butter) in the evening to help your body recover, as this is when the majority of your muscle adaptations occur.