Don’t relegate your half marathon nutrition to race day! Practice fuelling early in training. If you pay attention to nutrition during training you’ll be energised, recover well and also prevent injuries.
Today we are going to talk about the key nutritional milestones to support half marathon training.
- Milestone 1 – up to 90 minutes easy running
- Milestone 2 – Beyond 90 minutes – pre/during and post fuelling
- Milestone 3 – What to eat on a day when you have a long training run when you are getting up to half marathon distance
Milestone 1- up to 90 minutes easy running
The guidelines are simple … running distances up to 90 minutes in duration for most runners there is no need to add in sports nutrition by that I mean pre/during/post nutrition to support your running and recovery. However good foundational everyday nutrition for easy running is important.
A reminder of the key things to consider for foundational nutrition
A reminder of foundational hydration.
Running in a FASTED STATE. This means going out for your run following an overnight fast, so no food after your evening meal and before eating breakfast.
The benefit of running in a fasted state allows for higher levels of fat oxidation (so using fat as fuel) BUT this is only beneficial during exercise performed at low-to-moderate intensity … and should only be done 2-3 times a week. So, it’s for easy run days.
Also, overtime, exercising in the fasted state can help increase the relative intensity at which maximal fat oxidation occurs and as we know, efficient use of fat as fuel could help support optimal body composition, but could also help preserve glycogen stores, which is especially important in endurance running.
Tips for planning food around running at different times of day.
Schedule your pre run meal, whether that is breakfast, lunch, or evening meal to be 2 hours before your run to allow plenty of time for digestion. If you are planning to eat your meal/snack 2 hours before your run your food should be a combination of protein and complex/slow-release carbohydrates. Some runners choose to split their meal around running so eating half before their run and half after their run.
Examples of protein/carbohydrate snacks are:
· Protein smoothie – I like to mix a scoop of protein powder with almond milk and frozen mango
· Whole meal toast with nut butter and banana slices OR an egg
· Porridge or overnight oats with seeds and berries
· Homemade flapjack with nuts and dried fruit
If you are eating less than 1hr before starting your run have a quick release carbohydrate (CHO) food to ensure speedy digestion/absorption.
Examples of quick release carbohydrate snacks are:
· Fresh Fruit – Banana/Pineapple/Mango
· Dried Fruit – 2 medjool dates (or 40g raisins will provide 30g CHO)
· Bars and Gels – the brands we like are the most natural ones available on the market e.g. Honey Stinger, Veloforte, Huma, Tribe and we also like Ella Kitchen Fruit Pouches, they also do savoury ones too so you may wish to try them out.
Milestone Two – Beyond 90 minutes – pre/during and post fuelling. Why it’s vital to focus on pre/during and post fuelling and the benefits of practising in training.
Tips for Pre-Run Fuelling.
Tips for During Run Fuelling.
How much carbohydrate should you consume during a training run or race?
Why do we suggest real food rather than commercial sports gels and bars?
If you’ve never tried fuelling/eating during a training run we have some tips on how to get started.
Using electrolytes as part of your nutrition and hydration plan. We recommend ELETE Drops – you can get various sizes including a pocket size which is great if you need to add some electrolytes to water whilst you are out on a training run.
https://eletewater.co.uk/ use discount code RHH15 to get 15% discount on all purchases we hope you like them as much as we do.
Tips for Post Run Fuelling FOR RECOVERY
The lesson consolidates all the nutritional information we’ve be sharing today with a focus on how you should adjust the macronutrient balance for moderate and heavy training and gives an example of a 1-day food plan and pdf download of athlete plate graphics.
Milestone Three – Fuelling for a long run.
When you get into running half marathon and longer distances it’s time to adapt the amount of food you eat on heavy training days to ensure you are fuelling your training and racing.
On those days we suggest you focus your food portions and macro ratios around a moderate training plate. Eating enough is important. Adjust CHO content up to reflect the energy expenditure of the run – so roughly moving from ¼ plate to 1/3 plate of CHO . There is no change to protein or fat intake as they are required for fuel as well as muscle strength, recovery and repair following the run. Remember to adjust hydration – depending on temperatures and sweat rate and electrolyte drops may need to be added.
1. Focus on Nutrition Foundations and Hydration for everyday meal plans and easy training.
2. If you are an early morning runner you may try out FASTED STATE running for easy runs under 90 minutes.
3. For all runs over 90 minutes we recommend you eat your pre-run meal or snack 2 hours before you run.
4. If you can’t fit in a pre-run meal then have a Quick Release CHO snack 30-60 minutes before your run.
5. For runs over 90 minutes practice pre/during and post fuelling
6. On long runs use the moderate training plate and increase your carbohydrate portion to 1/3rd plate.
Download our FREE E book TOP Running Snacks and Nutrient Timing to Fuel Peak Performance
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
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Best Wishes and Happy Running!
Karen and Aileen