Eating the Burn: Marathon Training


Google the words “marathon” and “eating” and what bounces back is an astounding amount of websites, advice, plans, tips and “expertise”. You start clicking on a few of them and immediately start thinking how great this is and how you’ll be an expert yourself in no time. A few more clicks later and it all starts to become a little overwhelming.

What’s the problem? A lot of the information I’ve come across on the internet, in books, in magazines and via word of mouth is that it conflicts. The variation in what you should consume, how much you should consume and how accurate you should be about when you eat and drink is extensive. And frankly, a bit head-wrecking.

Another problem: a lot of the information I’ve come across is very general. Eat more. Lots of carbohydrates. Smoothies. Lots of vegetables for the anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Protein for repair. Porridge. But how does it all work together? What does an actual day look like? What should I ACTUALLY be eating and drinking?

Ammm… what? Confused and strangely scared.

So many times I have jumped on my laptop, grabbed my various running magazines, books and articles, aiming to piece together a solid marathon training eating plan. So many hours, after which so many times I have closed the laptop, still without something solid that I can actually follow the next morning. Yes, I’ve learned lots about carbs, muscle repair, the alleged golden eating window and that melon is an anti-inflammatory, but I still don’t know how many calories I should be taking in to deliver what I need a during marathon training day, to help me get stronger, to help me maintain my weight and to ultimately optimise my physical health and condition.

Am I asking a lot? Can you get specificShould you get that specific? That’s what I want to find out. It is asking a lot- most of us don’t have the time to work it all out down to the smallest detail. From a scientific perspective, I’d assume you can get that specific and if we’re aiming for optimum health, strength and return on our running, then yes, marathon runners probably should get that specific.

There’s far too much for one post (and I don’t want to bore you with an interminable blog post from hell that never seems to end…) so I’m hoping to run (no pun intended!) a series of posts building up to the Paris marathon, considering as much of the information out there as possible and hopefully culminating in providing answers to those 3 questions:

Am I asking a lot? Can you get specificShould you get that specific? 

Do you find the mass of marathon training information overwhelming? 


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