How to fuel your Marathon Training
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A marathon - 26.2 miles or 42km – should not be feared but respected. A marathon is a test of endurance, and it is key to get your training and nutrition strategy spot on in order to be the very best version of yourself, whether that’s achieving a PB or finishing your first marathon. TRIBE Team Ambassador Jodie takes us through her marathon fuelling strategy.
SHOULD I EAT BEFORE LONG TRAINING RUNS
You will be training around 4 - 5 times per week, so fuelling correctly before longer training runs will help you perform better. I always have a snack one hour before longer training runs, whether I'm hitting the trails for 10 miles or heading out for a quick 5km. TRIBE Infinity Bars are my go-to pre-run energy snack. My favourite is the new Infinity Apple + Cinnamon bar. TRIBE Infinity bars have a high carbohydrate and low sugar content, giving a slow-release energy that can power me through longer training runs.
HOW DO I HYDRATE PROPERLY DURING MARATHON TRAINING SESSIONS?
Keeping properly hydrated during training is key and it is essential to stay properly hydrated before and after sessions too. During intense training, it's good to drink 4 - 5 sips of water/electrolyte drink every 20 minutes. As you sweat, you'll be losing salts, so it's good to introduce a natural electrolyte mix to help replace lost sodium. During your longer runs, it is easy to burn through your natural supply of electrolytes pretty quickly, so I'd recommend adding TRIBE Hydrate sachets to your water bottle. TRIBE Hydrate is a mix of real fruit, botanicals and natural electrolytes - Strawberry is my favourite.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?
It is important to increase your protein intake during marathon training. As you will be training regularly, it's recommended to take on 1.2g of protein per kilo of body weight per day a day. For example, you weigh 70kg, you should be aiming for 80g of protein each day. Putting that into perspective:
- TRIBE Shake: 20g protein
- Chicken breast or salmon fillet: 20g protein
- TRIBE protein bar: 10g
- Boiled egg: 7g protein
Of the 3 macros, protein provides the body’s building blocks: amino acids that support muscle growth and recovery. Everyone needs protein, but if you’re training regularly, you need a good supply to keep muscle in tact, your metabolism working well, and your body recovering after each marathon training session.
SHOULD I INCREASE MY CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE?
When it comes to marathon nutrition, carbohydrate is a vital macronutrient. It’s essential to increase your carbohydrate intake around 3-5 days prior to race day, to top up your body's glycogen supply, which is the energy source you'll be predominantly using during the race. Adequate stores of muscle glycogen are essential for endurance exercise lasting over 30 minutes and depletion of these stores will lead to loss of energy and subsequently fatigue. On race day, give your body a complex carbohydrate rich breakfast to allow a slow release of energy to help you endure those 26.2 miles! Porridge is a great choice for breakfast, as oats are packed with high complex carbs.
WHAT DOES "HITTING THE WALL MEAN"?
The struggle that runners describe as “hitting the wall” is the result of their glycogen reserves being used up. We can generally store enough energy in our muscles for about 20 miles. This is why I find fuelling on carbohydrates early on in the race is important. I aim to take on 30-60g/hour of carbohydrates in the form of something easy to chew and digest. For a marathon, I always carry a TRIBE Energy Bar with me, which I break in to smaller chunks, and eat one piece every half and hour or so. They contain dates and other dried fruits and contain 22g carbohydrates per bar, giving you a quick energy boost mid-run. I’d recommend practicing consuming these during your longer training runs, to make sure you can digest these properly. Don’t leave fuelling until you start to run out of energy – it’ll be too late!