A marathon is an endurance race. To prepare, it is important to pay attention to nutrition. Athletes who compete in this discipline must follow a diet that allows them to achieve good body composition and increase metabolic efficiency.
Only through proper nutrition is it possible to achieve both goals. However, a number of dietary strategies and protocols can also be followed to optimize energy production and maximize fat loss.
Nutrition before a marathon: intermittent fasting
The effectiveness of fasting on weight loss has been demonstrated, and is described, for example, in an article published in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN . Respecting the hormonal circadian cycles during feeding stimulates the production of growth hormone. This produces an increase in lipolysis and a reduction in adipose tissue.
Skipping meals also reduces the likelihood of unbalancing the energy balance. This has a positive effect on the reduction of body mass.
For this reason, fasting is one of the preferred protocols for athletes who want to improve their body composition. In the case of long distance runners, fasting has added value.
During these times without eating, training can increase organic and metabolic adaptations to exercise. This stimulates mitochondrial reproduction and the efficiency of lipid oxidation for energy production. All of this has a positive impact on the athlete’s performance.
Protein intake before a marathon
To improve body composition, excessively low calorie diets are often used. Protein, on the other hand, is needed to improve the athlete’s recovery and prevent the loss of muscle tissue, which can affect performance.
Consuming up to 2 grams of calories per kilogram of body weight per day is useful for improving the rebuilding of damaged tissues, as indicated in an article published in the journal Nutrients. A post-workout protein intake of at least 25 grams of high biological value protein is also recommended to aid in muscle repair after exercise.
Beware of iron
One of the most common ailments affecting the endurance athlete is called runner’s anemia. This is caused by a constant impact on the heart, which causes the red blood cells to break down.
To reduce the impact of this disorder and prevent chronic tiredness and fatigue caused by anemia, you need to pay attention to your iron intake. It is important to take foods of animal origin and of vegetable origin, together with fruits rich in vitamin C, which stimulate the absorption of the mineral.
It may be advisable to supplement or monitor the doses of vitamin B12 ingested during feeding. This reduces the risk of muscle oxygen deficiency.
If you suspect that you suffer from this syndrome, consult a specialist immediately. He will be able to give you the necessary recommendations to get out of this situation as soon as possible.
Eating right before a marathon is essential
The marathon is a very demanding endurance event. To compete in this type of discipline with good results, it is necessary to take care of the diet in a meticulous way. There are some protocols, such as intermittent fasting, that can be helpful in improving performance and body composition.
In addition to this, it is essential to monitor your protein intake to avoid a low calorie diet resulting in loss of muscle tissue. A good amount of protein reduces the effect of catabolism on muscle mass, which could increase the risk of injury.
Finally, special care must be taken to prevent runner anemia. To do this, it is necessary to ensure a sufficient supply of iron.
This is possible by eating meat regularly, as well as vegetables with a high content of this mineral. It is recommended to consume these foods together with foods that are a source of vitamin C, in order to stimulate the absorption of iron.