Years ago marathon running was for the dedicated few, elite athletes at the top of their game who awed and amazed bystanders with their stamina and endurance. Today, the bystanders have joined in the race, and we’re in the midst of what can only be described as a marathon craze. Millions of Americans now compete in countless running events across the nation—and in many cases the events fill up so rapidly that those who fail to sign up early often find themselves wait listed.
Why all the Hoopla?
It’s been suggested that the marathon is every person’s Everest. We can’t all travel to Nepal and spend tens of thousands of dollars on gear and hire a Sherpa to get us to the summit. Instead, the marathon is a way for the average person to perform a feat that is both accessible and herculean, right in their own backyards.
So get out there and Hit the Pavement!
If you want to run a marathon you likely know that no shortages of methods are out there to help you cross the finish line in record time. You can run long and slow to finish, or you can run long and fast. You can also walk, power-walk, sprint, or jog. Any combination can work!
Whatever your fancy, don’t forget that races are completed before your feet strike asphalt. It begins with good nutrition.
The New Science
When you start to run greater distances, your body craves more calories. This is known as the compensation effect. But if you think you can eat whatever you want, you’re setting yourself up for marathon failure. You can eat more, but you need to improve the quality of what you eat. Avoid baked potatoes or that extra slice of pizza and instead try fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Eat fats before a race? It sounds like a terrible suggestion, but in truth, fat calories are important for runners. Fats can help improve the muscle’s fat burning capacity, so make sure you eat the necessary doses of healthy fats. This includes items like avocados, eggs, salmon, and Greek yogurt.
Magic in a Bottle?
Runners mistakenly believe sports drinks will enhance their performance and give them that extra burst of energy to cross the finish line. Sports drinks tend to help with short-term athletic energy and are good for sports like soccer and football, but for runners, an over-reliance on these drinks actually blunts how your body reacts to carbohydrate boosts. It’s okay to drink sports drinks, just don’t replenish with them every time you hydrate. It’s equally as important to replenish with water, too.
Water, Water Everywhere
Speaking of water, don’t over-hydrate before a race. You heard that right. Many runners think they need to drink and drink and drink right before the race starts. If you do this, you will only end up waiting in a very long line at the Porta-Potty before the race begins. Instead, it’s recommended that on the morning of the race, limit your water intake to only 24 ounces, and avoid drinking anything one hour before the race starts.
Image Source: www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4460997428