17 gram fiber lunch
"I remember lunch at school, trying to save lunch money and I'd eat two ice cream sandwiches and then I'd go out and run track practice. I would be starving by the time I got home" - Bill Rodgers interview, 7hills.us
Rodgers, a 4-time winner of Boston and New York Marathons, admittedly did not have the best eating habits, but it didn't seem to slow him down any. Perhaps the most famous American distance runner ever, Steve Prefontaine, was a legendary beer drinker.
Training for a marathon significantly increases your need for energy. You'll probably notice increased hunger and cravings for certain foods. Don't worry, this is normal.
Instead of recommending guidelines for eating, I'll give you my eating routine.
Dave's Diet While Marathon Training
1. Eat when I am hungry. As a runner, I find myself "grazing" most of the day, especially after a morning run of any significance. I probably do not go more than an hour in any given day without eating or drinking calories.
I focus on high fiber foods like whole wheat crackers, nuts, sandwich with whole wheat bread, fruit, vegetables, and popcorn. I'll rarely binge on cookies or chips unless it's laying around. I learned a long time ago not to shop hungry and not to buy the stuff I know I shouldn't be eating. Being hungry all of the time can be annoying, so I usually do not go anywhere without carrying a protein bar so something to curb my appetite.
2. Breakfast. Coffee jump starts every day. Then something to eat. Sometimes I eat breakfast twice- one before running and one after. Whole wheat cereal, oatmeal, 1 egg, and fruit.
3. Lunch. Usually a sandwich or soup with extra vegetables, kidney beans, and whole wheat noodles thrown in.
4. Dinner. I am pretty consistent: Fish 2x week, steak 1 x week, pizza 1 x week, spaghetti or other pasta 1 x wk, chicken 1 x wk. I usually get at least 1 meal a week out of leftovers. Frozen vegetables or a salad, with every meal. Unless it's pizza or pasta, I'll have a potato or rice at every meal. I never eat dessert.
5. Beer- 3 per day (THAT IS PROBABLY 1 TOO MANY!)
6. Timing. I try to eat a light snack before running, and within 30 minutes after. I've noticed that if I wait too long to run after eating (45 minutes or so), occasionally I will notice a drop in blood sugar, which ruins the workout in a hurry.
7. Post long run. I like Slimfast as a recovery drink. It has the ideal 4:1 ratio of carbs.to protein. Then I'll get a full meal within an hour.
8. Water. Only when I am thirsty. Obviously I drink more during the warm summer months.
If you want specifics, ideally your diet should be around 60% carbohydrates, 15%-20%protein, and 20%-25% fat. I like using Harvard's Healthy Eating Pyramid as a general guide for healthy eating.
(c) Dave Elger 2008 All rights reserved