Whether your marathon is on road or over trails, your nutrition needs to be targeted towards the kind of training you're undertaking. That means it needs to provide the perfect balance of macronutrients - protein, carbohydrates and fat - while flooding your system with micronutrients to bolster your immunity. And that can be a tricky balance to find while retaining taste at the same time.
Nutritionist Diana Green says, “The key to success for a runner is the ability to maintain a constant and high rate of energy output over a prolonged period. A diet that balances blood sugar levels is needed to achieve this. The Eatwell Plate is a visual representation of how to balance your food groups. Remember, it does not equate to calories. As a runner, for training you need to make sure that you are getting enough protein to build muscle. For the race itself you will need some quick-releasing carbs, but for the build-up, it’s vital to concentrate on slow-release.”
BREAKFAST: Porridge with fruit & seeds & coffee
Oats, pear and apple all provide slow-releasing carbs, while the protein and essential fats come from flaxseed and yogurt. Yogurt also supplies calcium, and the blueberries add betacarotene. The coffee quick-starts you for the day.
Simmer oats with water until desired consistency. Stir in flaxseed, and serve topped with fruit and yoghurt. Stew apple and pear in water the night before for speed.
- 60g oats
- 2tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 pear
- 1 apple
- 50g fresh blueberries
- 2tbsp yoghurt
- Cup of fresh coffee
LUNCH: QUINOA WITH SMOKED MACKEREL & MINERAL WATER
This dish is high in protein and essential fats (in the mackerel and seeds), as well as slow-release carbs with the chickpeas and quinoa. It is rich in nutrients: magnesium in the quinoa, iron in the chickpeas and asparagus and vitamin C in the citrus and pepper.
Cook quinoa according to instructions and set aside. Combine citrus juices, vinegar and black pepper. Par-boil beans and asparagus until tender. Combine with remaining ingredients, and add dressing. Serve on top of quinoa.
- 30g quinoa
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- Juice of ¼ orange
- 5ml red wine vinegar
- ¼tsp ground black pepper
- 40g green beans, chopped
- 40g fresh asparagus, chopped
- ¼ red pepper, chopped
- 20g cooked chickpeas
- 50g smoked mackerel (or toasted seeds)
DINNER: THAI RED CURRY & ROOIBOS TEA
Dinner is high in protein and includes some starchy carbs. There is plenty of green, leafy veg for antioxidants and iron, and some medium-chain fatty acids with the coconut. Rooibos is great for antioxidants and is naturally decaffeinated.
Cook rice until tender. Put curry paste in pan with ginger, garlic, lime leaf, lemongrass, and milks. Add chicken, pepper and baby corn, and simmer until chicken is cooked. Stir in remaining veg and continue to simmer until tender. Add coriander and serve with brown rice.
- 50g brown rice
- 25g red curry paste
- 1cm cube fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 lime leaf
- ½ sticks lemongrass, chopped
- 25ml coconut milk
- 100ml almond milk
- 100g chicken breast (or tofu)
- 30g red pepper, sliced
- 50g fresh baby corn
- 40g broccoli, broken up
- 50g spinach
- 40g sugar snap peas
- ½tbsp fresh coriander, chopped