Well, hey there!!
I’m still up in Boston overloading my brain with FNCE nutrition stuff, networking and trying allll the new foods. I’m amazed at how many cool people are here! And Boston is ah-mazing. I’m looking forward to soaking up the next few days!
So, in reference to today’s title, a lot of it is actually just a reiteration of a balanced diet. But, I guess it’s safe to say I have put a larger focus on certain things since marathon training. I’ve changed up my nutrition plan a little bit. Despite what some may think, dietitians don’t eat perfectly all the time. There really is no such thing as eating perfectly, anyway. There, I said it.
Like anyone, I can sometimes eat too much, choose the wrong snacks, and forget to drink water. And believe me, I have done all of these, and I will do them again. And again. However, I can’t get away with as much as I used to when I wasn’t marathon training. By that I mean if I’m not eating right, I feel it on my runs. I have lacked the energy for those long runs and have had runs where I felt bloated the whole time.
Here are some things I’ve really focused on and learned in my day to day nutrition plan. I’m actually planning on doing a post soon about the best recovery foods for after a long run, or at least, discussing what’s worked for me and the science behind what foods are best for recovery.
Marathon training takes a toll on the body. Not only does the body need more calories and carbohydrates, but also vitamins and minerals. The reason for this is because we are depleting them much quicker to fuel our exercise.
I crave more complex carbs.
I’ve always been a carb girl. I’d estimate carbs are probably 60% of my diet. But, my intake of the starchier carbs has increased. I’m having quinoa, sweet potatoes,beans, squash and bananas on the reg. Yes, I have a huge sweet tooth, and it’s so much easier to grab crackers or dry cereal and munch on it. But, these snacks don’t satisfy me as much. So, I’ve learned to snack on more complex carbs (sweet potato with nut butter, anyone?) and focus on extra vegetables to sustain my energy.
Sweet Potato Nachos are a reg in our house.
I’ve learned to modify my portion sizes.
I’ve actually had to learn to eat a little bit less for dinner. This sounds silly but I normally eat a lot. There were nights, especially after a tough workout, where I would go to bed super full because I felt I needed to fit in all of my nutrition at that one dinner. Obviously, that’s not the case. I’m the type of person who can’t go to bed hungry, but I also can’t go to bed uncomfortably full either. I can’t go without ice cream, so I’ve learned to actually stick to the serving size…sometimes…
Eating Two Lunches
In saying that, I’ve sort of gravitated towards having two lunches most days. I’ve sort of shifted from three larger meals to four moderate sized meals with lots of snacks, and I’m A-Okay with it. I don’t like feeling uncomfortably full.
I try to get something green everyday (Duh, right?)
All the more important though, while marathon training. That’s where the antioxidants are. There have been many work lunches where I have had no control over what was being served. So, while I’m not able to eat as many veggies as I may like at those lunches, I’ll just make sure to add extra at dinner. Or as a snack. This takes a little bit of preparation and forecasting on my part, and making sure I have carrots/celery/peppers on hand for snacking, but it definitely helps.
I’ve started taking Vitamin D more consistently.
I actually went to the doctor’s to get tested to make sure I wasn’t deficient. I’m not deficient, but my levels are on the lower end. So, that means rather than taking a supplement whenever I remember, my doctor recommended taking one regularly. I’m taking this one. This is the amount my doctor recommended I take. Note that you want to take D3, not D2, because D3 is the form of Vitamin D that we absorb. I’ve also read that soft gels may be better absorbed by the body.
While research on Vitamin D and athletics is still inconclusive, there is some research linking deficiency to increased stress fractures, decreased immunity, and poorer physical performance.
We’re actually getting into the season where it’s harder to get it from the sun (depending on where you live) because the sun’s UV rays will be weaker. Just something to beware of, since it’s tough to get adequate Vitamin D from our foods!
Overall, I’m more aware about vitamins and minerals. Intense exercise depletes our stores moreso, so marathon training also requires more nutrients and vitamins, as well as calories.
I go to bed much earlier.
I’ve always been a night hawk and not an early riser. I’m slowly trying to transition that, but I have put a large emphasis on getting more sleep. While I love the idea of waking up early to get a start on blog and freelance work, I know that the extra sleep is what my body needs during this time.
I’m trying my best to prioritize sleep, and alcohol before bed definitely doesn’t help!
If I don’t have one daily, it’s got to be every other day. Cold liquid bowls are what I crave after a run, and nothing more. I am in love with Vega’s endurance protein powder, which also has tart cherry juice and turmeric, which are great for recovery and reducing inflammation. It also has probiotics added as a bonus. I got turned on to Vega from Robyn’s blog because she raves about it and I have to agree. The ingredients are clean and the taste is pure, not chalky. Many of their protein powders also have a couple servings of greens in them!
I’ve been drinking more water and less coffee. My overall focus has been on water, especially after the hot summer we had, and I have definitely increased my intake from before training. I have a NUUN everyday, which makes drinking water really easy.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a recipe, and hopefully Friday with a FNCE recap!
How does your eating change before/during/after marathon training?
Disclaimer: Some links above may be affiliate links, which means I get a small kick back if you make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me continue to run the blog.