Imagine this - you've signed up for a marathon, you've got your training plan ready, you've bought new running shoes, and you're all set to take on the challenge...

But did you know that what you eat before, during, and after your marathon can make or break your performance?

Whether the London Marathon has inspired you, or you’re already a running enthusiast, read on to learn the importance of nutrition and some of the best foods for runners to eat!

marathon runners with their hands up

1. Fuelling your training

One of the main benefits of using nutrition to improve your endurance is when fuelling your training.

As a runner, you burn a lot of calories during training runs and races. Your body needs the right balance of nutrients to replenish those calories and to support your recovery after exercise.

Think of your body like a car - it needs fuel to keep going! Eating a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates such as pasta, proteins like grains and pulses, and healthy fats will give your body the energy it needs to power through those long training runs.

runner eating

2. Promoting recovery

After a tough training session or race, your body needs extra TLC in order to repair itself.

Eating protein after exercise can help repair damaged muscle tissue and reduce the risk of injury. Look for simple high-protein snacks as a quick way to refuel - protein shakes and protein bars may be your new go-to.

Nitrate-dense foods such as also beetroot encourage blood flow, which can help your muscles to recover faster after intense work. You'll need all the marginal gains when it comes to improving endurance. 


3. Boosting your immune system

Running can put a lot of stress on your body, which can sometimes weaken your immune system. Proper nutrition can help boost your immune system and reduce the risk of getting sick!

Vitamin C should be your go-to nutrient for keeping your immune system functioning as it should. Luckily, vitamin C can be found in a range of foods:

  • Bell peppers
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, kiwi, lemon and grapefruit)
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

If you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to get your vitamin C fix, supplements may be an easier option for you!

Make sure to choose top quality supplements when doing your research for the best vitamin c supplement – for example, just one Raw Turmeric Vitamin C & D3 shot from The Turmeric Co. provides a potent 1000mg of vitamin c per bottle!

citrus fruits

4. Improving performance

Eating complex carbohydrates - such as whole grains and starchy veg - can provide sustained energy during long runs and races.

Plus, consuming caffeine and carbohydrates during a race can help improve endurance and delay fatigue, helping you power through to the finish line!

Some nutrient-dense complex carbs to seek out for a healthy, balanced boost include:

  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes
  • Oats

So, next time you're looking for a pre-race snack, opt for a nourishing bowl of oats and you'll go for gold!

blueberry oats with yoghurt on top

So, there you have it - the importance of nutrition when preparing for a marathon or just easing into running.

By fuelling your body with the right nutrients, you'll be able to perform at your best, avoid injury, and recover faster.

Remember, a well-fuelled body is a happy body.

Thomas Robson-Kanu

The Hal Robson-Kanu Guide To Fitness & Nutrition

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