Training & Eating Right: A Winning Combination

Winning Diet - Get filled with Energy to Win the Race
By : Purple Kaddu Posted on :

Roads get busy with the traffic of runners instead of cars, a random Sunday morning just gets lively, you can hear cheers and whistles, it’s a win or lose situation, all eyes on the road, on your mark….get set go ! Imagining the above scene brings butterflies in my stomach. Marathon happens once in a year, but the excitement and preparations start long back. Runner or non-runner, everyone trains hard. But, will only training suffice? Not really. A car needs to be fuelled adequately for it to win the race , horses need to be fed properly for them to run faster  no matter how strong the rider is , similarly our bodies need to be nourished to improve performance. A few tips will surely help you prepare for the D-day.

All of a sudden, you will not become a superman on the Marathon day.You need to build up to the day, store enough energy and take rest so that you can perform well on the D-day. Few days before the run, monitor your urine colour. Light pale yellow colour suggests that your body is well hydrated. Eat balanced meals with adequate amounts of energizing carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Some fibre will ensure you do not get constipated. Remember to eat your colourful fruits and veggies. This is not the right time to innovate with new foods, so please don't experiment. Late night munching is also a no-no, mainly to avoid acidity. Don’t forget to have an extra dose of carbohydrates in your dinner the previous night. The most important, have a good sleep.

The Marathon Day

On the day of the marathon, complete your routine bowel movements, freshen up and sit down to eat. During the run, the stomach needs to be empty. Instead of digesting food, your blood supply needs to be focused on the exercising muscles. So, eat well in advance. Your pre-run meal, eaten 3 hours prior to the event, must comprise of high amount of carbohydrates (1g/kg body weight) and healthy fats such as MCT (medium chain triglycerides). Why so ? Because, carbohydrates are digested quickly and MCT will be your instant fuel while running. MCT is usually taken as supplement as very few natural foods have MCT in small amount. For amateur marathon runner carbohydrate reach food is sufficient. A bowl of cereal and milk, cooked pasta, toast sandwich with jam or potato sandwich, a fruit like banana, chikoo and muesli smoothie could be good options. The pre-game meal will help you sustain energy and prevent hunger before and during the run.At least two glasses (500 ml) of fluid with your pre-event meal is recommended to maintain hydration and, then continue to drink up to start time. 20 minutes prior to the start of the run, you could gulp down a full glass of water or coconut water.

During the run, energizing drinks and water are available at water-stations. These oral rehydration solutions contain instant energy source-glucose and electrolytes such as sodium,potassium,chloride,magnesium which are lost in the form of sweat. Remember do not drink but sip, ideally, one must sip 150-200 ml every 15-20 minutes. But follow your gut, don’t drink amounts that will cause you any discomfort. In an endurance event like a marathon you may want to consume solid foods. You may keep some resins in your pocket to put a few in your mouth. Small pieces of sports bar/ cereal bars are also an option. To avoid dryness around the mouth, you can try a combination of both water and commercial drinks. If you feel absolutely dehydrated, water works better but when you need energy as well, sports drink tickle through some energy to maintain the blood sugar level.

Post the run:

The body has done its best, used all possible sources of energy and exhibited good performance. It’s now time to re-fuel body reserves. Immediately after exhaustive exercise body cannot take heavy meal to replenish the loss. Usually tapering out with liquid, semi solid and then solid food is suggested. An ideal post-run solution would include simple carbohydrates such as glucose (2-3tbsp) or 2 bananas or a big glass of home-made fruit juice or coconut water or the commercial sport drinks. Drink atleast 1-1.5 litres , sip by sip, taking your time. When your done with hydrating your body, search for a resto nearby and have a good breakfast- may be idli, lassi, chocolate shake or egg omelette. If at all you do not have the time, get a few dried fruits, dates,fruits and tetra packs of milk along with you. Also, during the run your body has produced free radicals which are unstable and can damage your muscles. Anti-oxidants will help scavenge these free radicals. So, do include enough fruits and vegetables, preferably within 45 minutes of completion of run and in your day that follows.

Treat yourself with your favourite dish for lunch. You deserve it. Take sufficient rest. In the evening you could have a smoothie, hydrate adequately, have a light dinner followed by a sweet treat- the rosgulla. Rosgulla contains casein, a slow release protein which will heal your muscles while you sleep!

People run to lose a few inches, build stamina, to impress someone or for a noble cause. Whatever be the reason, let enjoyment be your ultimate goal. It does not matter whether you win or lose, it’s the journey that will linger in your memories.


Marathon, Rehydration, High Carbohydrates, AntiOxidants