We go through the majority of our lives, believing that we should eat low-energy foods to keep our weight down. But if you’re preparing for a marathon, this approach will cause you to lose weight and feel weak and hungry all the time – the opposite of what you want.
Training for a marathon is an enormous physical undertaking. You burn between 500 and 1,000 calories per hour while jogging. So, theoretically, you could burn through your standard daily calorie allowance in as little as two hours of training.
It is crucial, therefore, to fill up on high-energy foods that will sustain you throughout your training and prevent you from feeling depleted.
But what are these foods? Let’s take a look.
Regular fruit contains a lot of high-energy sugar, but it is also packed with water. Eating a box of fresh apples gives you the calories you need, but it would also cause your stomach to expand massively. All that extra water is just unnecessary overhead.
Dried fruit, however, eliminates this problem. You get the same amount of nutrition but in a far less bulky format. Apple slices, raisins, currants, dates, dried mango pieces and dried pineapple are all excellent options. You could also try whole dried apricots for longer training sessions – or even prunes if your bowels can handle them.
When you’re training hard, though, you need something tasty that will encourage you to stick with your routine. Savoury baked goods, especially bread and pretzels, are ideal for when you need an energy boost fast. The starch in the food quickly breaks down in the stomach and goes straight to the muscle.
Companies like Eastern Standard Provisions also include salt in their baked products. This addition helps you to maintain hydration and restore electrolytes lost through sweating.
Nuts are one of nature’s highest-calorie foods. While the energy you get is primarily fat, not sugar, they are anti-inflammatory and help you recover from even the most gruelling of workouts. They put your body into repair mode, helping to make you stronger for the following day.
Their high energy content is also kind on your stomach. You don’t have to eat mountains of pasta when you have nuts to hand.
You might think that rice is just a grain, but it is actually a lot more than that, especially for people looking to get super fit. Unlike the vast majority of grains, rice is almost perfectly hypoallergenic. Practically everyone can eat mountains of the stuff, without any negative repercussions. It contains gentle fibre and starches that protect your stomach and provide calories without any of the usual overhead.
Rice is also a type of food that goes with practically any dish. You can have it with curries, chillies, soups and stews.
Oats provide carbs, but they’re also high in a compound called beta-glucan. This phytonutrient actively clears out the arteries and makes them healthier and more robust. Thus, they can indirectly improve your fitness, even outside training.