The Key Elements Of A Nutrition Plan For Marathon Runners

Posted on: 14 September 2020

Training for a marathon is not easy. It's an all-encompassing endeavor as in addition to running, you really need to focus on getting plenty of sleep and eating well. A nutrition plan for marathon runners is quite different from a nutrition plan for weightlifters or even soccer players. Here are the key elements you should look for in a good nutrition plan for marathon runners.

Adequate Calorie Intake

When you're running 40, 50, or even 80 miles a week, your calorie needs will be very high. Under-eating can slow down your recovery, increase your risk of injuries, and also leave you feeling lethargic. Remember that the average person burns about 100 calories per mile while running. So if you normally need 2,000 calories per day and are running an average of 7 miles per day, your plan should contain at least 2,700 calories per day. Be wary of low-calorie plans; these are not really meant for marathon runners and are probably instead intended for more casual runners whose primary goal is to lose weight.

Plenty of Carbohydrates

There has been a recent trend towards low-carb diets, which can work well for the average person and even for some athletes. As a marathon runner, however, you really need your carbs. Look for a plan that provides at least 50% of calories from carbohydrates. A plan that offers 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat is pretty standard for long-distance runners.

Lots of Fresh Fruits and Veggies

You'll be putting your body under a lot of stress with your high-intensity training. It needs to be able to heal tired muscles and also fight off infectious pathogens that try to invade when you're in this weakened state. Antioxidants from fruits and veggies will help with this. A good diet plan should call for several servings of different fruits and veggies with every meal. The mantra "eat the rainbow" really applies here.


While you are looking for a diet that is high in carbs, you don't want one that is devoid of protein, either. You should be eating at least two or three servings of protein-rich foods like chicken breast, tofu, beans, and lean steak each day. Your body will need the protein to rebuild the muscle damage caused by your workouts.

You should now have a better idea of what to look for in a marathon training plan. Talk to a personal trainer or dietitian for more personalized advice.