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In one of the blog posts for new runners, a frustrated woman commented "And everyone said the weight would “fall off” when I started to run. Not true!"


I agree. Most novice runners start their exercise program believing undesired body fat will melt away. Not the case. If running contributes to a calorie deficit, body fat does dwindle away. But all too often, new runners eat a little bit more than usual, either because they are hungrierexercise can stimulate the appetite for women (more so than for men)or because they believe they deserve a reward of a cookie or two. The combination of hunger + desire for a reward = no fat loss, and often fat gain.


The other thing you have to look at is 24-hour energy expenditure. That is, some new runners become less active in the other parts of their day ("I ran today, so I'll sit and read instead of clean the house.”) A study with middle-aged people who added on an hour of brisk walking each day indicated they did they eat more, nor did they lose weight. They simply napped and slept more… In 24-hours, they did not burn additional calories.


I recommend you run for health and fitness, and pay attention to eating smaller portions at dinner to lose undesired body fat. Just chip off 100 to 200 fewer calories at night. For information on how to lose fat and maintain energy to exercise, you might want to read my Food Guide for New Runners: Getting It Right From the Start.


Regardless of weight, enjoy feeling proud of your running accomplishments!

Nancy Clark MS RD

Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD)

1,481 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: weight, body_fat, new_runner, food_guide_for_new_runners

This is an exciting week in Boston! Thousands of runners are making their final preparations for the Boston Marathon. If you are one of those anxious marathon runners, here are a few words of nutrition wisdom.


--Don’t make any drastic dietary changes that might upset your intestinal tract. The biggest change should be in your training—train less, so your muscles have time to refuel.


--No last-minute efforts to lose body fat. That will result in poorly fueled muscles. You may actually gain two to four pounds of water weight! For each one ounce of carbs you store in your muscles as glycogen, you store about three ounces of water. Thisis a sign you are well fueled.


--Eat wisely and well this week. Focus each meal on carbs (grains, fruits, veggies) with a little protein (meat, nuts, eggs, beans, milk, yogurt) as the accompaniment to each meal.


--Eat breakfast on marathon morning … this food will help maintain a normal blood sugar level so your brain is adequately fed. If your blood sugar drops, you’ll have trouble concentrating and enjoying the event.


During the marathon, your nutrition job is to:

-- prevent dehydration (by drinking 8 ounces of sports drink and/or water every 15-20 minutes during the marathon)

-- maintain a normal blood sugar level (by consuming 150 to 300 calories of carbohydrates every hour after the first 60 to 90 minutes of running).

Some popular energizers for during the marathon include sports drinks, gummi bears, raisins, hard candies, gels, Tootsi rolls, defizzed cola, diluted juice, bites of a sports bar--all of which you should have experimented with during your long training runs.  


Here are some high carbohydrate meal suggestions that will cummulate into a high carbohdyrate diet that will help fuel you to the finishline!


Breakfast ideas:

cold cereals--with banana and lowfat or skim milk

oatmeal and other hot cereals--with raisins and brown sugar

Bagels and english muffins--with jam or honey

Pancakes or french toast--with maple syrup

Fruits and juices


Lunch ideas:

Sandwiches--with the bread being the "meat" of the sandwich

Hearty broth-based or beany soups--minestrone, split pea, lentil, noodle

Thick-crust pizza


Dinner ideas:

Pasta--with tomato-based sauce

Potatoes and rice--double portions

Vegetables--double portions

Breads, rolls


Snack ideas:

flavored yogurt

pretzels, crackers,

fig bars, zweiback, lowfat cookies, animal crackers

frozen yogurt

dry cereal

leftover pasta

canned and fresh fruits and juices, applesauce


For more complete information about fueling before, during and after a marathon, refer to .


Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners; Tips for Everyday Champions


Have fun!


Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

1,311 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marathon, boston_marathon, carbo_load, carbohdyrate_load, hit_the_wall

Question: Should I use L-glutamine to reduce muscle soreness after a hard workout?

Answer: Supplementing with L-glutamine is an expensive way to get an amino acid .... you can get it in any protein-rich food. While L-glutamine might enhance recovery of patients in the hospital who have cancer, AIDS, or bowel problems and are not eating, the chances are that you, as a healthy athlete, can consume a  multitude of amino acids (not just L-glutamine) through your diet.


Certainly, the best way to enhance recovery is to fuel up before exercise with a carb-protein snack (recovery can actually start pre-exercise, so the "tools" to recover are already in your system) and then to refuel afterwards, again with some carbs + protein. The carbs provide fuel and the protein heals and builds.


Some popular pre- and/or post-exercise options include yogurt, a little cereal/milk, half a sandwich, or lowfat chocolate milk--all in portions that settles well. You really don't need to buy engineered foods. Simply pay more attention to having the right foods readily available; don't let nutrition be your missing link.


What you eat pre-exercise should last you about 60 to 90 minutes, and then you want to target about 200 to 300 calories per hour. Some athletes choose gels because they are convenient, but you need not spend your money on engineered foods. They are more about convenience than necessity. Other athletes enjoy banana, gummy candy, dried fruit, rice crispie treats, twizzlers ... and carb-based food that tastes good and settles well. Experiment to figure out what foods and fluids work best for your body. By staying well fueled, you will be able to recover more easily.


My Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers abundant information and food tips about how to best fuel before, during and after exercise, so you can get the most from your workouts.


Eat wisely and well, and enjoy less muscle soreness and better workouts.


Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

1,863 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: carbs, recovery, protein, muscle_soreness
Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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