Marathon Training and Nutrition


I have just started an 18 wk training schedule for my first marathon. I've been running for about a year and made my way through 5k,10k, half and now am tackling the full.

I am wondering if there are any other runners out there who strategize what they eat for energy, performance, while training and also during a long race?

I'd like to lose 6-8lbs leading up to race day while still feeling good and maintaining energy.

I was thinking maybe a good strategy would be following my run schedule but not push it too hard and focus on keeping a calorie deficit until I reach my feel good weight, and then eat for energy and move into training harder after that?

Curious to know what other people do?



  • Running_and_Coffee
    Running_and_Coffee Posts: 811 Member
    YESSS! It's so hard to manage the "runger" that comes with those increased miles. What I do: I eat a normal breakfast that has carbs and protein, use those gel energy paks maybe every 5-6 miles, and then after I run, I have something immediately afterwards that has protein and carbs. Even if I am not hungry. Because otherwise I will be STARVING all day long!

    FWIW, when I train, I do tend to gain a few lbs. during my highest mileage. It always comes off right after the race. But it's not fun. I am not sure what that weight is about as I am definitely burning more than I eat (I track everything) and I don't actually look heavier.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,510 Member
    It's easier to lose weight in the early weeks of marathon training, before your mileage ramps up. Once you are nearing peak training, the hunger is constant and needs to be met or your training will not go well. I am eating at maintenance so I focus on trying to balance CICO, though on a weekly rather than daily basis. i.e. if I run 20 miles, I don't necessarily eat back the calories that day. I may spread them out. OTOH, one restaurant meal can use up all the calories, so I need to be careful, even at peak. I've learned from experience that I do better in training with a healthier diet. While I can get calories and carbs from donuts, I feel better if I get them from grains or sweet potatoes. (That said, I still eat donuts from time to time, I just try to limit them.)

    For me, the biggest weight gain comes around the race. When you cut back for taper and then recovery, your appetite doesn't go away. You need to eat to replenish glycogen and rebuild torn muscles. So I always gain a few pounds in the month or so around the race.
  • BrindleRun
    BrindleRun Posts: 28 Member
    I’ve lost 17 lbs (152 to 135lb.)while training for my marathon it’s in a few weeks and I am tapering now. I eat something like oatmeal or a bagel before long runs and use gu energy gels during long runs. I usually carry more than I need and eat them when I feel like I need it. And I drink a protein shake after the run, followed by a shower and usually lunch. :)
  • erickirb
    erickirb Posts: 12,289 Member
    If your goal is on a good time, maintenance until the race, if you are more of a runner for fitness/weight loss, you may want to eat at a slight deficit, 250 cals/day to lose the weight you want to, but without too large of a deficit to affect training negatively.