for those who love the outdoors

19 July, 2022

Getting sports nutrition right

Nutrition, particular;ly when looking at endurance events like the London Marathon can seem overwhelming. We speak to nutritionist Anita Bean and break it down from pre, at and post-event to help you get your nutrition right.

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Podcast with London Marathon Nutritionist Anita Bean

On this week’s episode of the Outside & Active Podcast, we talk to London Marathon nutritionist, Anita Bean.

At the time of recording, we were 18 weeks out for the marathon. Now with about 10 weeks to go, we talk to Anita about the different stages of training specifically around nutrition and diet on the lead up to a major event.

Not solely for marathon runners, we could all learn from Anita’s knowledge shared on what’s good and what’s not so good for us as you train for any type of physically demanding endurance event.

We break down the different stages of an event from what to eat (and what not to eat) pre-event, during the race and post event as well.


Pre-Event

Take an honest look at the amount of processed vs unprocessed foods in your diet and how you can minimize or limit the intake of these processed foods. Aim for a whole food diet and more plant-based foods for performance, energy levels and recovery whilst training.

We also talk about your gut – what’s good for your gut when you’re building up your longer runs. There isn’t a food you should or shouldn’t consumer, but consider simple means -ie no heavy spices that could upset you when on your long activity.

Whole food carbohydrates, something every athlete should be consuming as well as unsaturated fats in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.

Race Day Morning

On the day of the event, take the London Marathon as an example, you should aim to have your pre-run breakfast about 3-4 hours before start time. Biggest tip here – stick to what you’re used to – don’t try something new in case that triggers unexpected symptoms. About 60 minute before you begin, just top up with a Soreen for example to top up your glycogen levels.

Start Gun

Start fueling about 40 minutes after the start and continue your plan through the race. Don’t leave it too late to fuel – once you get past the point of no return, it could be very difficult to keep down carbs, food etc., and you could have completely empty fuel stores and may not be able to finish.

Don’t forget, on the day the conditions may be completely different. You’re running a different pace, maybe too fast, you don’t feel like eating with the crowds cheering. The sun is shining, maybe you’re sweating more than you planned through your run, so you need to be adaptable and be aware that the circumstances could be very different.

After the finish

Most marathon runners find they’re not that hungry straight away. For a lot of people it’s easier to consume a recovery drink when you may not be feeling that hungry, but give yourself a little treat that’s tempting, tasty and a little reward when you finish. Get carbs back in and consider adding some proteins as well to help with recovery. It’s crucial to add fluid and rehydrate regardless of how well you stuck to your plan.

Find out more about Anita Bean

Head over to Anita Beans’ website, anitabean.co.uk where you can find info on her latest book, the Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition as well as her other books such as The Runners Cookbook, Vegan Runners Cookbook and more.

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