Nutrition Tips for Marathoners From A Dietitian

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Marathon trainees have less than a month left before the ING New York City Marathon -- Loyola University Health System registered dietitian Brooke Schantz has the following tips for runners preparing for marathons.

1. Practice

Race day is not the time to experiment with new foods and beverages.

Maintain a nutrition and hydration schedule ahead of the marathon to know how your body will react on race day. Or your performance may suffer.

2. Stay Hydrated

The most important nutrient is water.

Athletic performance can decrease if as little as 2 percent body weight is lost.

To stay hydrated, follow these fluid-replacement strategies:

Before Exercise: Consume 16-20 ounces of water and two hours prior to exercise and 7-10 ounces of water 10-20 minutes prior to exercise.

During Exercise: Consume 6-8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes. If you exercise for more than an hour, consume a sports drink containing 4-8 percent of carbohydrates, which will energize working muscles.

After Exercise: 24 ounces of fluid should be consumed for every pound of water lost during exercise.

3. Maintain Carb Fix

Maximizes muscle glycogen stores before race day to improve performance and maintain a high-intensity performance.

Carbohydrate-loading plans can start one to six days before a race.

4. Ensure Protein Supply

Protein consumption increases lean muscle mass and aids in muscle repair.

Endurance athletes require between 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg/day. No more than 1 gram of protein per pound should be consumed per day.

5. Boost Carbs While Running

When exercising for an hour plus, 30-60 grams of carbohydrates should be consumed every hour.

Carbohydrates come in many forms such as jelly beans, sports drinks and sports bars.

For more tips by Schantz, please click here.

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