If you’re preparing for the NY Marathon, there’s not much time left to get in top shape. Hopefully you have been keeping up with your regular training along with stretching to avoid injury. Your nutrition from now going forward is very important to keep your energy levels and immune system strong. As someone who’s been seriously running for almost 50 years, I know the wonderful benefits as well as the injuries associated with this kind of intense activity.
Below are my suggestions for how to properly prepare your body for the New York marathon in the weeks leading up to it, and even on the big day.
Preparing for the NY Marathon: Pre – Marathon Week
A week leading up to the marathon – the focus needs to be on clean eating. You want to optimize your digestion, feel energized and strong. Foods that can cause sensitivities like sugar, alcohol, breads, pastries etc. (even if you are burning the extra calories) should be avoided. It’s not about how these foods will affect your weight, it’s a matter of performance. When you make your grocery list, look for the following selections…
Protein sources: Organic poultry, grass fed beef, organic eggs, legumes, nuts and high quality protein powders (pea and rice are optimal)
Healthy fats: Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, chia seeds, hemp, and flax seeds (these all go great in smoothies too)
Healthy carbohydrates: I would prefer that you focus on gluten free carbohydrates such as quinoa, rice, millet, amaranth, sweet potatoes, yams, as well as organic fruits and vegetables.
Preparing for the NY Marathon: Marathon Day
The night before the marathon don’t try anything new or too exotic. Stick with foods that you know are safe for you to digest so you don’t regret what caused your upset stomach the following morning. Ideally, you should be eating a high carbohydrate meal with any of the choices listed above along with adequate protein chicken such as chicken or fish. Don’t be afraid to cook with healthy oils or add in some extra avocado as these fats will help to burn less carbohydrates as you run.
The morning of the marathon should be a substantial breakfast – although you don’t want to overdo it! One healthy meal option can be organic oatmeal with shaved almonds, blueberries and banana (a little grass fed butter optional). My personal choice is a power smoothie with very high quality protein powder. I like to include organic fruit such as banana slices or berries. With this I also find benefit in adding some healthy fat (tbsp of coconut oil or almond butter) along with Superfoods (chia, flax seed and cacao).
If you are a regular coffee drinker, having just one cup may help you, but don’t use it as a way to attain caffeine if you’re not accustomed to it. It may trigger anxiety or an upset stomach and that’s the last thing you need on race day! Instead opt for Green tea or Matcha to leave you with a calm alert feeling. These contain l-theanine (a nutrient that will help to offset the negative effects of caffeine).
To supplement or not
Supplements in my opinion are a must to ensure extra endurance and recovery. Here is a sample of my supplement schedule during marathon training.
Morning: One packet of ATP Boost in my smoothie as a coffee alternative for caffeine and antioxidants without the crash. (You can take a packet with you and add to water on the day of the marathon)
Mid-day: 2 capsules of Collagen Enhancer to help joints, muscles, and improve collagen repair.
Evening: 300-500 mg of magnesium to relax muscles and induce a more restful sleep. As much as training and proper diet count, proper sleep is critical to your running performance!