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Melissa's Nutrition Tips - October 2014

Marathon nutrition

For the many Kiwis pounding the pavements in preparation for this year’s Auckland Marathon, go-time is approaching. When training for an endurance event, it’s important to properly fuel your body so you can make it to the start line and get the most out of race day.

I’ve seen many marathon runners as clients and the stress they put their bodies through is mind-boggling. The majority of these people don’t eat to fuel their body, which is why they endure injury after injury – as well as extreme exhaustion and muscle catabolism (break down). When running, swimming or cycling in a 5/10/20km+ marathon, you need enough in the ‘tank’ to get you all the way to the finish line.

Here is a sample of what to eat when training for a marathon:

Three weeks prior to a long run
Start introducing complex carbohydrates a few weeks before a marathon to build up your energy stores for the big day – ie. brown rice, brown pasta, sweet potato, rye bread, etc. Team these slow-releasing carbs with lean protein to fuel muscles – try lean lamb, beef, chicken, or turkey.

Three to four hours before a long run
Eat a meal that’s high in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat:
• Porridge with fruit and natural protein powder
• Lean chicken and sweet potato
• Brown rice with chicken rissoles
• Lean meat and salad on a rye bread sandwich or wrap.


One to two hours before a long run
Have a lighter meal:
• Natural protein shake / smoothie with fruit
• Natural sports bar (not containing nuts, as they have a high fat content)
• Greek yoghurt with fruit
• Grilled chicken breast and sweet potato.

During a long run
Take quick-releasing, high carbohydrate sources during a long run to replenish glycogen stores:
• Sports hydration gels (Endura)
• Sports drinks
• Bananas
• Oranges
• Honey.

At least 30 minutes after a run
Eat a good-quality protein and high carbohydrate source for optimal recovery:
• Organic low-fat chocolate milk (or home-made chocolate milk with cocoa/cacao and honey as it has a good balance of protein and carbohydrates)
• Protein smoothie with fruit
• Cottage cheese and baked potato
• Cooked chicken with vegetables – baked in oven
• Protein pancakes.


At least one to two hours after a run
• Lean meat (beef, lamb, chicken or turkey) with salad
• Wholegrain pasta with veggies and tuna
• Lean meat (beef, lamb, chicken, pork or turkey) with steamed veggies.

Take electrolytes immediately after the run and every three to four hours for about 24 hours afterwards to help restore fluid loss from the marathon/long run.

Melissa Hartshorn
BHSc Nut. Med.

3/10 & 9/10 Wellington Street, Howick, Auckland
T 09 950 6801 F 09 950 6802
Melissa's Nutrition Tips - October 2014