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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

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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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