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Monday, January 19, 2015

Marathon Meal Planning... Cue the Carbs

3M Half Marathon and the Austin Marathon are right around the corner. And thousands of Central Texans have been training for the big days, but experts say what you eat before a marathon (or half-marathon) is just as important as your physical training. Sure you need to have stamina to endure 26.2 miles, but food is the fuel your body needs to make that happen.

You can plan menus to get the most benefit out of your daily meals. 

          Eight to 16 weeks out:
  • focus on lots of liquids and high amounts of carbohydrates (runner's favorites include pastas, brown rice, and oatmeal)
  • find out what fuel is available along the race route, then decide if you'll bring your own - aim for energy gels, energy bars, or sports drinks with more than one type of sugar (such as glucose and fructose)

    Five to seven days out:
  • consume at least three grams of carbs per pound of body weight as you ease up on your physical training
  • drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated (water, 100% fruit juices, or low-sugar sports drinks)

    Three to four days out :
  • boost carb intake to 3.5 to four grams for every pound of body weight
  • decrease fat, protein, and excessive fruits and vegetables to balance calorie intake and avoid bloating

    Two to three days out:
  • limit high-fiber foods such as bran cereals and whole grains to help lighten the weight of your intestines
  • continue to hydrate

    Race Day:
  • eat a meal high in carbs, no less than four hours from start time, to keep blood sugar levels steady- pasta is an excellent option

  • fuel up as planned, a good guideline is at least 30 to 60 grams of digestible carbs per hour
  • drink fluitds as needed, but not so much that you make frequent pit stops potentially affecting your time

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