Running a marathon is nothing new to me. I have run the L.A. Marathon three times before, yet the training seems to get a bit more challenging every time. Perhaps I’m getting a little older?
While I love the marathon training process, it always takes me a moment to get used to my new feeding schedule. Since I am burning a lot more calories during the week with my training runs, I have to incorporate foods that can help sustain my body to prevent injury. For those of you avid runners, you know just how important this is. For those newbies, you will find how important what you eat is to your training.
1) Avocados: This nutrient packed produce is a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamins C, K, folate and B6, and amazing for your skin. Their fats are monounsaturated–the kind that can help lower bad cholesterol levels and are free of trans fat and cholesterol. Some runners avoid avocados due to the fat content, however most of the fat comes from the heart-healthy kinds called mono-and polyunsaturated fats, which, when eaten in place of saturated or trans fats, can actually help lower LDL (so-called "bad" cholesterol) levels. I have incorporated them every time I train, either in my morning omelet or in my dinner salad.
2) Bananas: These are a must at all our training runs. First of all, they are easy to eat and digest. One banana provides up to 31 grams of carbs and makes the perfect pre-run or post-run snack. Make sure to eat your banana with some form of protein after a run to help with muscle repair. I usually like to have it with a hard-boiled egg white or, if I want something more fun, I eat it with organic crunchy Peanut Butter.
3) Kale: If I were on a desert island I would want there to be an endless supply of Kale…and coconuts. Kale has been receiving notoriety recently as one of the latest health food trends. This king of cruciferous plants is packed with essential vitamins and antioxidants. Kale is high in fiber, and contains more iron per calorie than beef and more calcium per calorie than milk. While kale can be eaten raw lately I have been cooking it. Easy to mix into dishes like an egg white scramble, kale is a delicious addition.
4) Coconut Water: I enjoy drinking coconut water before and after training runs. Although I may sometimes opt to drink regular coconut milk, I like to keep it light pre and post run. A single size serving can contain 14 grams of sugar and 670 milligrams of potassium that in some cases are more than any sports drink would provide. Plus who needs all those chemicals? Coconut water has enough carbs for my hour training runs, and you can get them in different flavors.
5) Protein: My favorite protein to eat during this time is Albacore Tuna. There are only a few foods that provide as much protein as tuna. I get my tuna from Trader Joe’s. The white albacore packed tuna in water has about 41 grams of high-quality protein and is only 220 calories. Albacore tuna is also a good source of vitamin B12, which is highly important for runners because of its aid in cellular energy production. You could also choose to eat a boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Stayed tuned for more of my favorite foods and for other ways to train with success. Happy Running!