Tata Steel Kolkata 25K - 18th December 2022

Running the race can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re planning to take on the entire marathon for the first time. Long-distance running not only demands a strong commitment to training but also a full diet renovation to ensure that you are fuelling your body with all the nutrition it needs to help peak your performance. At this point of time, your body roars for nutrition to optimise your training as well as for preparing you for the big day.1,2

Why do I need a strategised nutrition plan?

As a marathon runner, you need to plan your nutrition to give your best shot. It is very important to strategize your nutrition plan to accomplish the following needs.1,2

  • Achieve and maintain ideal body mass
  • Reduce the possibility of tiredness
  • Maintain proper hydration
  • Promote recovery
  • Sustain performance

You need them all!1-3

Carbohydrates: They are the primary fuel utilised for the working of the muscles. Adequate intake is essential for preventing muscle fatigue. Recommendations range from 6 to 10 g/kg body weight per day.

Protein: They help in repairing the fatigued muscle tissues. The protein requirement for adults is about 1 g/kg body weight per day. However, for runners, this value increases to 1.2 to 1.7 g/kg body weight per day.

Fats: Although you should monitor your fat intake, you should not remove it from your diet completely. Fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids act as a supporting energy fuel, especially if your exercise sessions are long in duration.

Micronutrients: You should strive to consume a diet that provides for all vitamins and minerals in optimum amounts as they look after the ongoing body functions.

Water: Fluid intake is essential for health and optimal performance. You should drink enough water to balance the amount you lose through sweat and exercise

Making smart choices about the type, timing and quantity of food to eat can all play a role in realising and delivering your best1,2

Your nutrient requirements: a snapshot

It is important to understand that your nutritional needs are based on the duration of your activity. The details are mentioned in the table below.4

  1. American College of Sports Medicine, the American Dietetic Association, and the Dietitians of Canada. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000:2130-45.

  2. Colorado State University. Food and Nutrition Series. Nutrition for athletes. Colorado, USA: Colorado State University Extension; 2015.

  3. Expert Group of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Nutrient Requirements and Recommended Dietary Allowances for Indians. Hyderabad, India: National Institute of Nutrition; 2010.

  4. Weatherwax-Fall D. Different nutritional plans for different athletes. NSCA’s Performance Training J. 2016;5(6):12-14.