Nutrition for training… not just running.

At the beginning of this marathon training cycle, a whole eight weeks ago, I was focused. I was determined. I was ready for an injury-free training plan, one where I didn’t have to skip too many runs or make stupid mistakes or basically “fail.” I knew that this type of plan needed not just a decent running schedule, but a plan for all of the other stuff – like sleep and nutrition and stretching. I set myself up with THESE nutrition goals so I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been focusing on and how they’ve gone so far!

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SLEEP. Based on my sleep on Sunday night, I would say I am doing amazing with this goal. I slept for TEN straight hours that night and it was the best thing in the entire world. Marathon training takes a lot of sacrifice, and in particular, if I am going to attain my sleep goals, I have to sacrifice more than I thought I would. If I find my body needing 7.5-9 hours of sleep a night, and I have a workout at 5:30 or 6am, I need to get to bed before 10, which means even when it’s light out in the summer months, I am turning off my lights to get to sleep EARLY. I get made fun of a lot for my “grandma bedtime” but in order to have the best workouts possible and the most energy throughout the day, it’s just a choice I’ve made and a habit I’ve formed. I love being a morning person, but in order to be that bubbly girl hitting the weights at 5:30am I need to get to sleep early! Obviously not all nights are perfect and some nights I get less-than-ideal rest, but for the most part, I am doing well!

VITAMINS. I’m dominating this one. I take a daily women’s multivitamin (for the extra iron and folate) and 2000IU of Vitamin D every day. I enter this multivitamin and Vitamin D in MyFitnessPal so I don’t forget to take it with my breakfast every morning. I used to set an alarm but that just got annoying!

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PROTEIN. While a marathon training diet is typically high in carbohydrates, I also lift weights and do a lot of activity that requires protein to rebuild my muscles. I like making sure my protein intake and carbohydrate intake are almost equal (gram for gram). I have been using MyFitnessPal religiously since I started marathon training, simply to make sure I am getting the macronutrients and micronutrients I need for training. I probably use about a scoop of protein powder a day, but the rest of my protein comes from tofu, tempeh, greek yogurt, milk, cheese, Quest bars, soy jerky, beans, and peanut butter.

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CARBOHYDRATES. It isn’t hard for me to hit my carbohydrates macros on the daily. I love fruits, vegetables, and breads too much for that to be a problem. I notice on days that I am super low in carbs my energy takes a dive and I don’t feel “right” so I make sure to get complex carbohydrates throughout my day like flax crackers, quinoa, vegetables, high-fiber fruit, no-sugar-added bread, and Quest bars. On long run days (or long cycling days) I up my carbohydrates to compensate for all of the activity.

In THIS “other half of my training plan” I wanted to reward my hard work with things other than food like massages, pedicures, or some new gear. I have definitely done that… maybe a little too much. 😉 I bought myself an Umoro shaker bottle for my glutamine supplements and my brother and I ordered some Alphalete gear that wasn’t cheap to lift weights in.

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Nutrition in general is a pretty difficult thing to master. Yes, I get it, just don’t eat crap, fill your cart with whole unprocessed foods, and don’t stuff your face, it really should be that simple, but of course in this ever evolving world, it’s not really that easy. I think I have been doing a fairly good job eating not just for marathon training but for strength training and cycling and teaching spin and double workouts and rest days and long runs, etc. I have had a few off days but I’ve managed to get back on track each and every time. Progress not perfection amirite? 😀

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Looking forward: Heading into the next 10 weeks of marathon training, which includes no less than a 160km bike tour and a 6-day hike along the West Coast Trail, I am keeping things pretty much the same, attempting to hit the same macros I am now, increasing the food I need on long run days, getting 7+ hours of sleep per night, and not even thinking about tracking while I’m on the WCT because… duh. 😉

Have you ever tracked your macros?

Those of you that have coaches, do you also have a nutrition coach?

6 Comments

  1. I’m currently training for my 1st marathon, Chicago….(yeah!) and have been using nutrition services by INPYN. She is amazing and so knowledgable. Mostly vegan meals which I wasn’t really doing before but so far so good!

  2. I find the whole task of counting macros to be so daunting. Although I’m not training for anything specifically other than overall health. Right now I’m following the 21 Day Fix meal guides for better portions and it’s really been a good way to keep my diet in check, make sure I’m not eating too many starchy carbs and getting lots of good protein. I sometimes would love to hire a nutrition coach just to help me reach my goals better but it’s too costly for me right now.

    1. Exactly, I was looking into hiring a macro coach simply to set me up on a program but it is so expensive and I am pretty sure I can handle creating a plan for myself – the real struggle is sticking to it and holding myself accountable!

  3. I don’t specifically track macros, or my calories, but I will “check in” every so often.
    I’m currently working toward eating 20-30g of protein at each meal and in one snack, since protein is where I struggle. Carbs and fat are delicious, so I have no problem with those!

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