Nutrition changes made today can help create a stronger, leaner body for a better race time. How much you eat during training depends on the intensity of your workouts, the number of miles you are running and how much experience you have with training for a marathon.
Start by aiming for a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and trans-fat. The diet should be adequate in carbohydrates, dietary fiber and protein. It is important to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins.
Start by creating a daily list for each of the food groups, aiming to take in 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits per day. Add in a variety of grain products. Try to make half of these servings whole grain products, such as whole grain bread, ready-to-eat cereals, oatmeal, pasta and brown rice.
Next, look to add lean protein to your well-balanced diet. Your guide is to consume the equivalent of 5 to 6 oz. of lean meat, skinless poultry or fish each day. As part of this protein portion, choose plant-based proteins like peanut butter, legumes (dried beans, dried peas, lentils and hummus), soy products, nuts and seeds.
Here are some foods to limit:
- Baked goods made with butter and/or trans-fats
- High-fat processed meats like sausage, bologna, salami and hot dogs
- Butter, egg yolks and full-fat cheeses
- Whole milk, cream and ice cream
Here are some cooking and serving tips to deliver healthier meals:
- Serve larger portions of lower-fat options like brown rice, legumes and vegetables.
- Serve small portions of higher-fat dishes like cheese and fatty meats.
- Instead of butter, use extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil spray when browning and sautéing food.
- Remove the skin from poultry and cut off visible fat from meat before cooking.
- Learn to broil or grill your meats instead of sautéing in a pan or frying in a deep fryer. Use a rack when you broil, roast or bake so the fat is removed from the meat before you eat it.
- Do not place (baste) the drippings back onto the meat. Instead use wine, fruit juice or marinade.