While preparing for the marathon, not only the kilometers are important, but the proper rest and a balanced diet are the keys to success. Unfortunately, sometimes the body reaction is negative as the load is too heavy. A common cause of such weakness is that it is not easy to get all the nutrients you need with food, so we lose strength quickly after increasing the load of exercises and without changing the eating habits.
Food supplements could help us at this point. However, here we face another dilemma that we do not know what supplements we need and when they must be taken. We will try to provide clear and understandable information on what to look for when choosing food supplements during the preparation period and during the marathon.
Before (preparation period)
It is recommended to drink 450-600 ml of fluids one hour before the workout. By drinking the recommended amount of fluids one hour before your workout, you will not only provide your body with the right amount of fluids, but you will also be able to eliminate some of these fluids before the workout begins. If you want to make sure that your body is properly hydrated, you can drink an additional 200 – 250 ml of water or sports drink before your workout. It is advisable to consume beverages that do not contain caffeine (especially if it is a hot day). If you are going to have an intense workout, you can use special sports drinks that provide the body with the right amount of carbohydrates and gradually provide energy during the workout.
During the Marathon
During a marathon, it is important to maintain the same level of fluids and nutrients. Various studies have shown that marathon runners who cover the distance in 2:45 – 3:45 got the 71% of their energy from stored carbohydrates and only 29% from body fat. Therefore, when we usually reach 25 to 27 kilometers, our body begins to use fat as the main source of energy. A common mistake is to start eating only when the first signs of tiredness are felt. Therefore, it is recommended to consume about 60 g of carbohydrates per hour. The best food while running could be various protein bars, energy gels, sports drinks, and some fruits. It is recommended to test each product that you are going to use during the competition before. Also try to mix the products.
Remember that without restoring fluids and minerals, you will feel weak and that might cause injuries. After training, it is recommended to drink about 500 – 700 ml of fluids immediately. Also, you need to pay attention to proper nutrient recovery after your workout. Various studies have shown that the best recovery of muscles is when we replenish the body with nutrients in the first 30 minutes after exercise. The body recovers best when we consume 25% protein and 75% carbohydrate food after a workout. 30 minutes is a short time to prepare food unless you took care of it before your workout, so protein bars could be a great solution. If you do not want to eat after a long or intense workout during the first 30 minutes, you can make a protein and carbs cocktail.