What to eat when running a marathon [By Munmun Ganeriwal]
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What to eat when running a marathon?

As Mumbai’s most-awaited annual sporting event is here, the city gears up to get, set, race this Sunday.

If you are taking on the challenge this year, have spent the last few months training in the plunging temperatures of winter, have probably got the gear too – then now don’t forget one last crucial part of your training plan: nutrition. Getting your diet spot on will not only help you shave minutes off your race time but will also help you recover better post run.

Day before the marathon (Pre-race day)

1. Top up your glycogen stores- ‘Hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking’ is every distance runner’s fear. Avoid the dreaded wall by ‘carb loading’ before the run to maximize your energy/ glycogen stores. Foods to include are aloo sandwich, peanut butter toast, fruits, fruit milkshakes, rawa idli, poha, chikki, fruit murraba etc.

2. Have a light dinner- Choose rice based options like curd rice, khichdi kadhi, pulao raita, varan bhaat etc.

3. Load up on fluids- Keep sipping on water especially towards the end of the day to make sure you are well hydrated for the early morning run the next day

4. No alcohol – From low blood sugars to poor performance to disturbed sleep, there’s too much cost of having alcohol a night before your run

5. Hit the bed early – Go to sleep an hour earlier than the usual bedtime the night (or a week) before the race

The Race day

The two main nutrition goals are to avoid dehydration and to avoid the mental and muscular fatigue that can be caused by inadequate fuel

Before the run

1. Make sure you don’t start your run without eating anything. Have a banana or few raisins on waking up and sip on some water

During the run

1. Take adequate fluids and NOT only when you are thirsty

2. Drinking too much and too fast is not comfortable for the stomach, slow down and sip patiently

3. Apart from water (sippers or pouches), keep nimbu sherbet with salt and sugar/glucose water/sports drinks/sports gels/electrolyte water. Have them only if it has suited you during your training. The race day is not the day to ‘try’ them

4. Keep high GI foods that will give instant energy like dates, raisins and bananas

After the run

Post your run, its important to recover well so that you bounce back to your normal training and work routine faster. Pay attention to the four Rs backed by exercise physiologists all over the world.

1. Refuel – Replenish your glycogen stores and make sure you eat within 30 mins of finishing your run. Options are aloo sandwich/ banana/ fruit

2. Repair- Take whey protein with your sandwich or fruit to aid muscle recovery/ repair. Two hours onwards post this, combinations like rice dal/ roti and egg/ cheese toast etc. work very well

3. Rehydrate- It is crucial to make up for the loss of fluids and electrolytes. Have nimbu sherbet/ nariyal paani/ buttermilk/ sugarcane juice/ fruit juice etc. liberally throughout the day

4. Revitalize- Make sure to incorporate key vitamins and minerals in your diet that will help to recover and repair faster. Have VitC and VitE post run and antioxidants towards the end of the day

Enjoy the run…All the best! #SCMM #MumbaiMarathon

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