Nutrition helps with marathon training
Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:04 p.m.
Gainesville dietitian Kathryn Parker shows runners two pictures during each of her lectures on nutrition during marathon training.
In the first photo, her husband is lying flat on his back after finishing a marathon, "with a look on his face that says, 'What was I thinking?'" Parker said.
In the second, he's running through the finish gates three years later, with the clock above him displaying a time 29 minutes faster than his previous marathon on the same course.
The difference? Proper nutrition, according to Parker.
Parker, who was the first staff dietitian for the University of Florida Athletic Association when she started working with UF athletes in 1981, counseled U.S. Olympic track and field athletes in 1992 and is providing advice for runners training for the Five Points of Life Marathon now.
She said during training and on race day, proper nutrition can make the difference between finishing fast or barely crawling over the finish line.
"In that first picture, my husband had the hottest new shoes, socks that were guaranteed not to blister and a brand-new running outfit," Parker said. "He had trained for months and he was extremely educated in what to do, but he did not hydrate himself and put glycogen back in his body. The point is, you can be knowledgeable, well-dressed and well-prepared, but if you aren't hydrating properly, none of the rest matters."
Parker offers the following tips to avoid becoming a cautionary tale in a marathon-nutrition lecture:
During long runs and on race day
Hydrate every 20 minutes during the run. If you're running for longer than an hour, drink something with sugar in it, like juice or a sports drink, to replace glycogen.
Replenish fluids after the run. The best way to tell how much you should drink: Weigh yourself without clothes before you run. Weigh yourself without clothes after you run. For every pound you've lost, drink 20 ounces of fluid.
Carbo load post-run. Divide your weight by two, and eat that many grams of carbohydrates within two to four hours of finishing your long run. So a 200-pound runner should eat 100 grams of carbohydrates - roughly the amount in a bagel and a glass of orange juice or a piece of fruit and a bowl of cereal, Parker said.
Hydrate. To determine whether you're drinking enough, use the pee test. When you wake up, Parker said, your urine should be "no darker than the Yellow Pages." The rest of the day, it should be clear.
Maintain proper nutrition throughout the whole training process by eating a balanced diet. Focus on getting four to six servings of whole grains, three to four servings of fruit and "as many vegetables as you can handle" per day, Parker said. "You can't keep up with the kind of endurance marathon training demands of the body if you're not taking care of your nutrition."
Don't blow it on Thanksgiving. You don't have to skip your great-aunt's candied yam recipe - just limit yourself to one portion, roughly the size of your palm. "If you don't have a big hand, that's not my fault," Parker said.
More questions? Parker will host a live Web chat from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, to answer questions about nutrition during marathon training.
Amy Reinink can be reached at 352-374-5088 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article