What are the best things to eat and drink when you’re preparing for a marathon?
You may be surprised, because the answer to that is fast-absorbing carbs, food that’s rich in simple sugars to fuel the muscles for running. It also has to be easy to digest so your running won’t be impeded.
At 30-60 minutes in, here are the food and drinks that’s best to eat mid-run:
- Coconut water
Although coconut water isn’t some magical beverage that people claim it to be, it does have its merits.
It’s a great source of electrolytes: phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium; it also provides your body with carbohydrates. Your stomach digests it well so if you’re the type who can’t hold food and liquids in after a run, this is good for you.
To give coconut water an interesting twist, incorporate it in a recovery smoothie.
Blend coconut water, fruits, greens, and inject with protein with greek yogurt, nut butter or protein powder. It’s a quick, easy, nutritious drink packed with nutrition.
- Salt and water
It sounds weird considering drinking salt and water conjures the image of shipwrecked sailors drinking seawater… but there’s a reasoning behind it.
The concept behind it “hyperhydration”, a trick used by athletes to store as much as 1 liter of extra fluid for exercising.
When drinking salt with water, your body will try to balance the sodium and water levels. Extra sodium suppresses the signals that would tell your body when to pee.
A study recommends that a teaspoon of salt in a liter of water before running is enough to keep you hydrated. It’s not recommended for those with elevated blood pressure though.
A pinch of salt
- Infused water
Infused water is the best compromise between plain water and sugary drinks – no sugar, but with a cool, refreshing splash of flavor.
Choose what fruits you like (a conservative choice is strawberry, lime and cucumber), put them in a jar, and lightly mix them up using a wooden spoon. Fill the jar with water (or seltzer water for a bit of fizz).
Add a bit of agave if you’d like it a bit sweet then refrigerate.
Need we say more?
Fruits are your best bet for mid-run snacks: they’re easy to prepare, high in sugar to inject energy to finish your run.
Go for fruits higher in simple sugars and carbs like dates and bananas. With 30g of carbs a banana is just as effective as a carbohydrate drink when talking about performance and blood sugar. Grapes are high in sugar as well as Vitamin C that’s helpful in reducing the damage exercise does to the cells.
You might want to consider munching on raisins next time – they’re very high in calories. Dried cherries are good post-run because thy reduce leg muscle sores an
Pack these fruits in Ziplock bags for your post-run pick-me-up.
Lots of sugar and no fat and fiber is the criteria for a post-run snack. Gummy bears tick off all the boxes, but marshmallows are better because its package makes for easy packing.
A plain, white bread pretzel with no peanut butter is good. It’s rick in simple sugars that ease the ache in your calves.