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The Plans

Sharon Madigan - Month One Plan

Marathon Eating and Drinking

Recent years have witnessed dramatic increases in the numbers participating in marathons. Myths and misconceptions about human physiology and how it can and should be improved through training strategies and nutrition are common talking points in both recreational and competitive athletes and marathon running is no different. Endurance running severely taxes carbohydrate stores which, unlike fat reserves, can be performance-limiting because they are small. Even the leanest athlete will have enough fat stores to run multiple marathons back-to-back whereas carbohydrate stores will be depleted probably after 90min max (maybe even less depending on intensity, environment and other factors). When the carbohydrate reserve is exhausted this is known as ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking,’ and athletes engage in a variety of practices, collectively known as ‘carbohydrate loading,’ designed to avoid such a problem.

Over these next few weeks your training may step up considerably or its continuing to stay the same but maybe a bit more focused with the Marathon Minds Program.

This is a time where people might double down on trying to achieve changes in weight. If you are able to train well, recover well and see consistency in your training then this can have a big impact on your body composition. Eating too little over the next few weeks will not help your overall objectives. Get a pen and paper and plot your training and then look at how and when you eat relative to that. Your eating habits need to fit around training rather than looking at the three meals a day way.

We hope to give you hints and tips to ensure you get the most from your training.

Main aims over next 4-5 weeks

  • Little and often using training as the main alarm for when to eat to ensure that you prepare for sessions and recover well for the next session.

  • Trial the breakfast of choice for morning training in this phase.

  • Work out what fluid losses are. A weight pre and post the long run and account for your fluid intake. So if your 70kg pre and 69kg after and you consumed 1l fluids your usual losses are 2litres. The weather will have an effect on this so you will see changes in this over the next few months and that will need to be adapted.

  • Make sure you are recovering well after sessions. This is not the time to skimp on carbohydrate intake. Some of you will be trying to lose a little weight but eating enough calories to replenish your stores will actually surprise you and often eating more around training will help with weight loss / body composition changes.

  • If you are training in the evening, try to have the main meal of the day earlier in the day and two smaller snacks either side of training in the evening.

Download the plan here

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