Becoming More Active

Nutrition Tips for Runners Training for a Marathon

All people should consume a healthy and balanced diet, but when you're a runner training for a marathon, your nutritional needs can change. Working with a coach, personal trainer, or sports dietitian to develop a complete nutrition plan can be very beneficial when training for your first full marathon. If you're training for a marathon, use the following tips:


One of the keys to successful marathon training is proper hydration. Your body will likely need much more water than normal, so it is important to pay close attention to how much you are consuming, not just during your training but also throughout the rest of the day. Continual good hydration will help give you the endurance that you need to run long distances without suffering muscle cramps or nausea.

No Empty Calories

When training for a marathon, you need to think of every thing that you eat as a source of fuel. The goal is to each foods that are very nutrient dense and provide the most nutrients per calorie. This means avoiding foods high in processed sugar, refined carbs like white bread, and any type of food that is highly processed and contains unnatural ingredients. 

Choose the Right Foods

A runner training for a marathon needs to consume carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. You may need to make changes to your diet and follow a specific nutrition plan. Focus on consuming healthy grains and starches, such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, barley, millet, and oatmeal. For protein, incorporate chicken, turkey, fish high in nutrients, such as wild salmon and tuna, beans, and eggs. When it comes to fat in your diet, make sure it comes from healthy sources, like avocados, nuts, or olive oil.

As you train for your marathon, you should eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients; fruit makes a great snack, and it is in your best interest to consume as many vegetables as possible with each meal in order to reap their nutritional benefits.

Re-Fuel Properly

A three meals a day diet plan doesn't work when your training for a marathon. Since your body will be expending so much energy, you will need to eat throughout the day. You should plan on eating a small meal every couple of hours to keep your blood sugar level and your energy up. Always have a light meal a couple of hours before you do your training—just make sure your meal doesn't make you feel overly full.