what to eat while training for a half marathon

What You Should Eat For A Half Marathon? We Have Answers

When it comes to training for and completing a running competition (especially longer-endurance ones like half and full marathons), it is not just a matter of doing workout after workout, but also taking care of your body through good food and rest. You might be surprised that many athletes do not take these two aspects into consideration, since they believe that running alone can help them improve their racing times, or “personal records,” as they are called.

That said, it is very important that you eat well before, during, and after competitions, in order to stay healthy and on top of your game for the next race to come. Perhaps you do not know where and how to get started, so we are here to help! Learn more in this article on what to eat while training for a half marathon, so that when it comes to the next one out there, you will be better prepared to take on any challenges that come your way.

Without further ado, let us get started!

More...

What to Eat for a Half Marathon

Depending on the difficulty of the race and your diet lifestyle, there can be variations in just what you can eat before, during, and after the half marathon. Generally speaking, however, there are a few food categories that are staples of what you should strive for to consume for maximum benefits. Here is the list:

1

1. Whole grains.

This particular food group is very broad, containing all sorts of different whole grains from bulgur wheat to quinoa to even couscous. People might get whole grains mixed up with the term “whole wheat,” but all the same both are equally nutritious to take in, for they are rich in plenty of fiber, iron, and other vitamins and minerals that fortify your strength training and make you feel fuller for longer, thereby reducing the possibility of overeating and feeling sluggish afterwards.

2

2. Lean protein.

Items such as fish, grilled white chicken, and turkey are all classified as lean protein, which makes for helping you build muscle when lifting weights and performing other strength-building exercises in conjunction with running. While you may not realize it, building muscle helps you gain more power when it comes to pushing off from the starting line, as well as pushing through the grueling miles ahead.

On the other hand, if you are vegetarian, all is not lost: instead of grilled chicken and fish, you can substitute those items with products such as eggs and legumes, the latter including beans and lentils. Just because you do not eat meat does not mean that you cannot get the same nutrients and energy from meat-eaters themselves.​

3

3. Carbohydrates.

If you are familiar with the idea of “carb loading” the day before racing, then it is the same idea here. In fact, many athletes like to get together the night before a competition to cook and eat lots of high-carbohydrate foods like pasta (a popular dish), and “spaghetti dinners” are no exception.

However, it might be better to carb load a couple of days prior to race day, for consuming too much the night before might upset your stomach, especially if you have the nervous jitters which can cause your insides to churn up and not properly digest the food. That said, consume a good amount of spaghetti, but do not go overboard!

4

4. Sports gels and drinks.

Right before a race, it might benefit you to take in some sports gels. Why consume them, you might ask?

In essence, sports gels contain a powerful dosage of carbohydrate in a single serving and, when taken with some water, it can lead to consistent glucose levels and overall give you energy to perform your best throughout the race. Our article on sports gels can help you get started in choosing the best one for you.

​After you finish running your race, it might also be a good idea to replenish your body with a sports drink, such as Gatorade or Powerade. Besides tasting sweet and good, these particular bottles contain electrolytes that can replace the ones that were lost in the racing process. Especially if you have been running a long-distance race such as the half marathon itself, it is encouraged to take in some sports drink to reduce the risk of cramping and other distressing symptoms that could otherwise arise.

5

5. Water.

Considered the “essence of life,” water is hugely important for keeping you hydrated, especially since you lose a lot of water in your body during long, high-impact competitions such as half marathons. By not taking in water, you risk becoming dehydrated, as well as allow lactic acid to build up in your legs and body, thereby leading to horrible cramping afterwards. It is definitely not pleasant, so it is better to be safe than sorry when doing so.

6

6. No junk food.

Considered the “essence of life,” water is hugely important for keeping you hydrated, especially since you lose a lot of water in your body during long, high-impact competitions such as half marathons. By not taking in water, you risk becoming dehydrated, as well as allow lactic acid to build up in your legs and body, thereby leading to horrible cramping afterwards. It is definitely not pleasant, so it is better to be safe than sorry when doing so.

From candy bars to French fries to pizza, all of these specific foods are delicious, but not good for you. You are well-aware that they do not add any nutrition to your body, but you might make the excuse that, since you exercise so much, treating yourself to these dishes should not be a problem.

However, you might not realize that consuming these junk foods not only make you gain weight, but also make you feel sluggish and unmotivated to run afterwards, which in the end hurts more than it helps. An occasional treat from time to time is fine, but a regular diet is a no-no for serious athletes out there.​

For more foods to help you run well, check out this informative video here: 

Take away message

All in all, there are a variety of foods out there which can help you improve your racing performance when it comes to the half marathon. Besides working out regularly, eating well supplements what you work for, and in the long run helps you remain healthy and strong. From carbohydrates to fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, it is all about balance and moderation for a good performance overall.

Happy running!

Reference

http://www.runnersworld.com/for-beginners-only/what-do-i-eat-before-my-race

http://hprc-online.org/dietary-supplements/dietary-supplement-classification-system-1/class-3-supplements/copy_of_branched-chain-amino-acids

Leave a Comment: