Uncool runnings: Nutrition advice for marathon runners
What’s On is training for the Dubai Marathon. Follow our progress and get marathon training tips. Here’s a recommended marathon diet from nutrition experts.
Pasta. Baguettes. Pasta on baguettes. When it comes to running distances, carbs seem to be the Holy Grail. But are they really that great for you? As part of our Uncool Runnings series, in which two members of Team What’s On document their training regime, we sat down with an expert nutritionist to ask about the craving for carbs and what runners ought to be doing.
Q&A with Gabriele Kurz, executive well-being chef at Talise Nutrition for Jumeirah Group.
Are carbs the secret to success? It’s true you need to have carbohydrates. Everyone currently blames carbs, saying that they’re bad. But they aren’t bad. Everywhere there are carbs, even in vegetables. It’s about choosing the right one.
Why carbs? If you’re running a marathon, you need a lot of energy that lasts. That’s why you should carb up, but in a good way.
Give me an example of a good carb. Sweet potatoes are great. Quinoa. Whole grains. Buckwheat, millet, and black rice.
Does this mean pasta parties are the way to succeed? If it’s wholesome pasta it’s fine. But pasta doesn’t last long. It vanishes quickly.
How much should I have? Runners do best with eating smaller portions rather than three big meals a day. That makes you feel very heavy, and that’s not good for running. But you need the energy. Have a nice combination with maybe 60 percent carbs. But don’t forget about the vitamins, raw vegetables, and protein. Runners don’t need a lot of protein, but 20 percent doesn’t do any harm, or up to 40 percent.
What should I eat before a big race? Have something like my Overnight Chia and Oats (recipe below). Or have an omelette with sweet potatoes. In general, you need good carbs, something that lasts.
What should I drink? Have a glass of beetroot juice. It has iron and it also helps you to absorb oxygen better. Recent studies have shown its’ quite good.
How about ending a race with a big steak? Not unless you want to be totally knocked out… Maybe try an omelette with spinach instead, some tomatoes, rocket leaves.
OVERNIGHT CHIA AND OATS RECIPE (makes two portions)
– 150 ml almond or coconut milk unsweetened
– 65 g mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
– 35g steel cut oats 10 g Chia seeds 1 Pinch vanilla or cinnamon powder
– Dash of agave syrup, stevia or honey
– Optional: 1 peach or nectarine
How to Make It
Pour the nut milk over the oats and chia seeds and leave for 10-15 minutes. Then put oat chia mix in the bottom of your container (glass or chia ware) Add the vanilla or cinnamon and agave syrup, honey or stevia. Mix together. Pile the berries and nectarines on the top, add a lid and leave in the fridge overnight or at least for 3 hours.
Chef Gabi’s Tip
This dish is something you can even prepare the night before and leave in the fridge overnight to ‘cook’. Great protein rich breakfast to take to the office on the go if you don’t have time to eat it in the morning. Excellent after workout refuel.