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4/29 Preparing Your Body For The Marathon

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 10:41 AM

In these precious few preparation days before the race, you need all the nutritional help you can get! There are food and drinks that can help store energy and prevent muscle cramping. While most of these technicques are mainly for marathon runners, they can be applied to any endurance sport. If you plan on competing for more than 90 minutes, follow these steps to prepare your body.

1. Bananas

Eating a banana or 2 per day will help keep muscle cramps away. A potassium deficiency can cause additional cramping, so this potassium-packed snack may help protect your muscles.

2. Milk

Having adequate Calcium in your diet can help curtail your cramping. 3 glasses of milk per day should give you the calcium your body needs.

3. Water

Of course staying hydrated it important for any physical activity. Drink lots and lots before, during, and after the marathon. How do you know how much water to drink? Take your body weight, divide it in half. That is how many ounces of water you should be drinking per day to keep yourself fully hydrated, so on race day, you'll want to have even more...

4. Carbs

I’m sure you’ve heard that you should carbo-load before the big race, but there are more rules than just “stuff yourself with pasta and bread”. You will want to eat good carbs like whole grain pastas, breads, and potatoes. Skip the butter on your rolls, eat red sauce, not white or oil based sauces, and go easy on the sour cream. The goal is to fuel your muscles, not fill your fat cells. Try to avoid an exorbitant amount of fruit and juices, as they can upset the stomach. You do not need to increase your daily calorie intake by thousands the day or two before the race, as you are in a period of rest. You are not running, so you are not expending the 600 - 1,000 calories you normally would during your daily run. You will and should gain 2 – 3 pounds during your carb-loading period, but don’t worry…this is mostly water weight. For every ounce of carbohydrates your body stores, it also stores 3 ounces of water.

5. Don’t forget about the protein!

The focus of pre-marathon meals should be carbs, but adding low-fat proteins such as eggs, yogurt, bens, lentils, turkey and chicken will help fuel the body for longer periods.

6. Pre-Marathon Meal

What you eat the day of the Marathon is important. You will want to have a light breakfast consisting of some low GI foods and some fat, for energy. This will "top off your tank". Also have some energy gels, drinks, and bars along the way to give you a boost.

Good Luck! Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Post-Marathon Care tips.

Send your beauty questions to [email protected] and I'll answer them in my next blog.



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