How to Eat Right While Training for Your Next Race

Fueling your body with good food is an essential part of training for any race but especially for marathons. Getting the right nutrients will give you the energy you need to sustain the long weekly runs leading up to the big race. A nutrition plan is as important as a mileage plan.

My eating habits are far from perfect. I’ll admit right away. I love to indulge in burgers, brownies, pizza, and beer (on occasion). But, training for a race isn’t just about putting in the miles. It requires some re-vamping in the kitchen too.

Shop smart and ditch the junk

The first step in eating healthy while training is becoming a smart, disciplined grocery shopper. It’s important to take the time to make a list before heading out to the store. Make sure to include foods that you need, like those rich in nutrients, and avoid those that you “want” like cheese, chocolate, and pizza! When you walk through those aisles, stick to the list!

Protein packs a powerful punch

Protein is a great source of energy for endurance running. Healthy proteins to incorporate into your diet includes:lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, avocados, and nuts.

Choose complex carbs

Carbohydrates are easy to consume right? Just be cautious of those high in saturated fats (usually processed foods) with too much sugar and sodium. The best sources of carbohydrates to provide energy for our bodies are complex carbs like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These are excellent sources of fiber which helps keep our stomachs satisfied longer.

Fat keeps you fit

Your body needs fat to function! In fact, marathon training runners need to obtain about 20 percent of their daily calories from fat*. But, don’t get too excited, we’re not talking about hot dogs and ice cream! Examples of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, fatty seafood, vegetable oil, and lean meats.


One of my main concerns in the past, which has prevented me from running a half marathon to date, is the aches and pains my body endures after too many miles on the pavement. So I’m doing two things different now. First, I’m only running 3 days a week, and secondly I’m drinking a lot more water.

Water helps flush out toxins, cushions your joints, and repairs muscles after long runs. Try to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. A general rule of thumb for endurance training is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day.

Don’t forget to cut back on soda and alcohol (1-2 times a week), and fill up on small servings of V8 juice, milk, and the occasional hearty glass of red wine on the weekend!

My favorite power foods

Below is a list of some of my favorite foods. I usually have a morning, afternoon, and occasionally an evening snack depending on what time of the day I exercise. I try to keep them around 150 calories.

What are your favorite power foods?

I’d love to hear what you’re snacking on or any awesome healthy dinner recipes. I’m always looking for produce packed dinners so please send my way if you have any!

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*Source: Marathon Training Guides

photo credit: foodswings

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Shelly works for Anytime Health as a Support and Communication Specialist. She has a passion for health and wellness, is a firm believer in leading by example, working hard and playing hard. In her free time, she loves to be with friends and family, shop, cook, clean, and exercise.