Nutrients from good food are scientifically proven to be more beneficial to marathon athletes than the equivalent replicas from supplements. This is often forgotten. On a website dedicated to mini-marathon participants www.WomensMiniMarathonGalway.ie there is a full weekly schedule of what distance competitors should eat.
Growth, tissue damage repair, and stressful environments can increase nutritional needs. Symptoms of not eating enough food to meet basic diet requirements include chronic tiredness, frequent illness, poor concentration, poor performance, and poor recovery.
What are the nutrients a marathon runner needs and what do they do?
Carbohydrate is the fuel source for muscles.
Fibre can help reduce blood cholesterol. Marathon runners may need to decrease fibre pre-competition to prevent gut problems.
Protein is needed for the growth and repair of all body tissues, including muscle and bone.
Fat provides most of the energy for daily activity.
Water helps cool the body and acts as a transport medium.
Vitamin B complex enables red blood cell production.
Vitamin C enhances iron absorption and is necessary for the formation of connective tissue and bone.
Vitamin E helps prevent cell damage.
Iron is required for oxygen-carrying components of red blood and muscle cells.
Calcium maintains strong bones and teeth and is needed for muscle function as well as blood clotting.
Zinc is key to energy production in muscle cells.
You should eat a wide variety from each of the food groups to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs.
If you have not met the recommended servings you need to begin by trying to meet these basic diet requirements.
Write down one goal for the next week to improve your baseline nutrition. For example: ‘My goal this week is to increase my daily servings of fruit from one to three.’
Prepare your meals with minimal added fat (especially saturated fat ) and salt. Maintain a healthy body weight by regular physical activity and by healthy eating. Drink plenty of fluids each day. If drinking alcohol do so in moderation.
Your nutrition on competition day is just fine-tuning of your training nutrition.
For full details on this article contact Tina at NRG Health & Fitness or click on www.WomensMini MarathonGalway.ie