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As people from all over the world gear up to run the infamous 26.2-mile London Marathon, a leading nutritionist has unveiled some secrets for those participating in the 26.2 mile course from Greenwich to The Mall.
Signe Svanfeldt, a nutritionist at healthy eating app Lifesum, revealed: “How you run and recover is highly impacted by your nutritional strategy.
“Nutrition provides carbohydrates for quick release energy, protein for vital maintenance and muscle nourishment and fat as an energy source.”
He explained by having a science-backed nutritional strategy in place such as what to eat pre- and post-run, can “maximise performance and recovery”.
Before the race
On marathon day, Mr Svanfeldt recommends runners focus on eating a larger breakfast rich in energy, carbohydrates, protein and fats at least two hours prior to the race.
This could include oatmeal with banana, peanut butter and Greek yoghurt or scrambled eggs on toast and a banana berry smoothie.
Closer to the race, he noted smaller and more “easily digested” snacks should be consumed.
He explained: “These should be rich in protein to nourish muscles and carbohydrates for quick release energy.
For example, people could opt for banana pancakes or a smoothie with low-fat Greek yoghurt and fruit.
He advised avoiding large meals close to the race as this could lead to digestive issues and stomach aches.
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During the race
Everyone knows the importance of keeping hydrated and when people are engaging in exercise, drinking water is key for performance.
“As you sweat you lose salt, so it’s important to replace electrolytes as well as water,” Mr Svanfeldt said.
He noted how much fluid a person should drink is all dependent on the individual.
“If your urine is dark, drink more liquids, if it’s light you’re probably hydrated,” he said.
“It can be challenging to drink water during a race so aim for two sips every 15 minutes.”
When it comes to eating during the marathon, Mr Svanfeldt stressed the importance of maintaining blood glucose levels.
He suggested participants do this by eating carbohydrates and replacing fluids.
The nutritionist recommended: “Simple carbohydrates, such as a banana, a sports drink or a sports gel, should be consumed.
“They’re easily digested and quickly release glucose (energy) into the bloodstream.”
But he warned a good nutritional strategy should not end at the finishing line.
Mr Svanfeldt suggested the best foods to eat post-run for recovery would be high-protein foods that nourish the muscles.
He said: “As soon as the race is over, replace lost fluids and eat easily digestible carbohydrates.
For example, eat a banana or rice cracker and fill up on glycogen as well as protein.
This could include a boiled egg or tofu that will “nourish muscles and prevent muscle breakdown”.
After the race
For recovery post-run, people should eat a larger meal rich in carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
The Lifesum nutritionist advised eating foods such as tofu with rice noodles, chicken with roasted vegetables and salmon and potato salad.
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