Ask the Experts: Half-Marathon Nutrition Q+A with Ruth McKean

Find your winning nutrition strategy

21 to 40 of 44 messages
10/08/2012 at 13:38
Mike Rutland wrote (see)
Hello Ruth,

I have torn my calf muscle and was wondering if there are any foods to eat that can help me heal faster? I only have 5 weeks ish until the great north run!

No! Do exactly what a physio has told you to you! At this point and time nothing with any evidence other than a good diet with sufficent range of vitaims and minerals will help. Best of luck and really hope you have a speedy recovery.


 

10/08/2012 at 13:38
Hi i am always wondering whats best after a long run, and when is the best timing. Read in the asap after and/or within an hour. Suggestions welcomed. thanks
10/08/2012 at 13:39

Hi Ruth

I am preparing the New Forest Marathon brochure for our event on Sunday 23rd September and would welcome a cut down Q&A from you to feature in it?  Would that be possible?

thanks

Martina (martina@rocketfuelsports.co.uk)

 

10/08/2012 at 13:40

Hi Ruth!

 I’m currently trying a low carb diet as I’m trying to shift some weight before my next half marathon in an attempt to improve my time, obviously I need carbs for long runs but what would you say are the top 3 sources to get good carbs from and continue the weight loss?

 Also is mackerel good for a diet, i've been eating ir more but it seems to be very high in fat but I keep reading it’s good? I was hoping you could put it into English for me!

 Thanks,

 Jonathan 

10/08/2012 at 13:44

Hi There Skinny!

There is a lot of interest at the moment of training in a fasted state to help oxidative pathways and hence you should make physiologic adaptations which help your running 9ad part of that is using more fat) so I actually thinking doing 13 miles before  breakfast is fine if it is a steady run but if are after a intense/ quality session and the pace drops for the last few miles then I argue you are losing out HOWEVER it depends if you are doing this for all your session, if this is only 1-2 sessions per week then I think there could be some benefit to this, even if doing this for a  few weeks on lots of your runs to help gain make these  adaptations then this may be useful but you need to consider if  you knackered for the rest of the day because recovery will be longer, you will feel more tired and immunity may be compromised and injuries (running fatigued stresses muscles) so I guess to sum up: do it for a couple of runs but you should have a few quality well fuelled runs also because if you are not putting in the pace because of lack of fuel then quality decreases and this shows in races.  One other point if you are very lean I suspect you are breaking down protein and hence may be losing some strength in certain aspects of your running.

Ruth

10/08/2012 at 13:46

Temp Tom,

Thanks for this email but I really don’t have enough information to help. Is your training right? Is your recovery over the 24 hours picture enough I mean running and nutrition? Are you getting sufficient sleep? If you can become leaner without injury risk and compromising on getting what you need from diet (alcohol not needed at this stage although some amount is a good think but I would cut it out before the half) you may well run faster. It would be interesting if you could get a good coach to look at your training as well.

Feel I have been little help here but best of luck.

10/08/2012 at 13:46

Hi Ruth,

Sports drinks and protein drinks have been in the news recently as to their effectiveness and whether average people actually gain any help or advantage from using them. I wondered what your take on them was.

Thanks

Adam

10/08/2012 at 13:46

HI Emily, Stick to the sweets and gels! No wine and even fruit may not agree. During a half often people will not take anything if running under 90 minutes. If you are using food (gels, sweets) you must practice this and even drinking out of plastic cups if that is what they will be handing out!

 Good luck and have the wine after you have hydrated and eaten something post race!

10/08/2012 at 13:52

 

Melissa Butcher wrote (see)

 

Hi Ruth,

Towards the end of a Half or Full marathon I tend to completely tank (especially in the Full marathon) as i get to a point in a race where i can't keep any carbs down ... i usually manage 2-3 gel shots but then can't stomach any more. I've done cross-country ultra-marathons when i'm doing more walking/jogging i can eat protein (especially boiled eggs!) and that works but obviously can't do that on the run. Are there any protein shots available or something you'd suggest to get me to the end?

thanks

Meilssa

 

Melissa Butcher wrote (see)

 

Hi Ruth,

Towards the end of a Half or Full marathon I tend to completely tank (especially in the Full marathon) as i get to a point in a race where i can't keep any carbs down ... i usually manage 2-3 gel shots but then can't stomach any more. I've done cross-country ultra-marathons when i'm doing more walking/jogging i can eat protein (especially boiled eggs!) and that works but obviously can't do that on the run. Are there any protein shots available or something you'd suggest to get me to the end?

thanks

Meilssa

Meilssa

Are you eating soon enough and are you starting sufficently hydarted? If you have little fluid in your stomach,digestion becomes harder and if you wait to eat until too late this also can cause problems. Have you tried a gel shot (do you mean like a shot blok jelly cube?) and have one sweet every 15minutes starting at 15minutes, 30 minutes, 45minutes etc I really don't think protein will help in distances less than 26miles. I think little and often may work for you and a very planned approach and sip little and often on some water and start well hydarted.

I really hope this will help.

Ruth

10/08/2012 at 13:56

Hi Ruth,

I'm reasonably new to long-distance running: I'm currently working towards a half-marathon in October and hoping for a full marathon after that. So far the furthest I've run is 11 miles.

I find I often start to get stomach cramps around 10k, sometimes they remain in the background and I keep running the full distance, sometimes they get really bad and I have to walk or even stop. I've tailored what and when I eat on the days of my long run - usually a bagel with jam and fruit in the morning, pasta at lunch, I avoid dairy altogether, and stop eating altogether at 2.30 for a 7pm run - and while it's helped a bit, I do still get them. Do you have any other thoughts on how I can stop this from happening? Especially as I'm trying to build up my distances...

Thanks very much!

 

10/08/2012 at 14:01
Anna Williams 13 wrote (see)
Hi Ruth
I'd like some advice on how to fuel my half/marathon training. I'm finding it really hard to keep up with the calorie deficit running makes. Also should I be completely cutting out junk and processed food in order to improve my running or will it not make a difference? Thanks

This is a actually a hard question ot answer because if you are not getting the calories you need then running will suffer but if you then eat too much processed food high in fat or even protein this could displace where the carbs should be going and you fatigue early. Have you tried specfic recovery stategies like a 500ml fruit milkshake post every run this is around 350calories or more but has lots of carbs and protein, calcium then eat again in 2 hours and then again in 2 hours so you are eating 3 meals and 3-4 snacks per day and use useful calories such as a snack size pasta pot as a snack (left over form night before/lunch/), have high calorie cereal such as museli and add nuts and dried fruit (nuts have lots of calories and dried fruit more calories than fresh as you eat more as smalle although you can still eat fresh as well) so organise your food and eat little ad often and this should help. You may also get away with some dark chocolate each day, don't be afraid of this but look at you diet as a whole and make sure you eat lots of good foods: fatty oily fish twice a week (at least once), small amounts of oil in cooking, eating often & enough and with some carbs in all meals and snacks but you need to be organised.

Good luck

10/08/2012 at 14:08
Timi wrote (see)

Hi Ruth

I am currently training for the Budapest Marathon in October. I am in the process of building up my long distance runs and therefore need to think about fuelling during my runs.

I am all for going "natural" so my questions are:

Do you have a recipe for a home made sports drink that can help you keep going during long runs?

In your opinion, what are the best natural snacks during a long run (snacks that I can easily carry as well)?

Thank you for your replies in advance

Timi

  • Fruit juice such as orange juice (breakfast type) diluted 50:50 with water will give you an istonic sports drink if you think you need the salt (you may not) then a picth of this.
  • Natural snacks, depends on your stomach but you could make your own sports bars  or use a product such as clif bars who have  a natural approach to their products.
  • Sorry this is so short, running out of time!!
10/08/2012 at 14:11
MDZ wrote (see)

Hi Ruth - are there any running 'super foods' that you would recommend introducing to a runner's diet? (I'm currently training for the GNR)

Thanks, Matthew.

Hi Matthew

There is no one super food or foods it is a combination of a variety in the diet, the trianing and lifestyle factors that will make the real different. There is a vast amount of products promising this but current popular ones are beet juice/shots with some evidence for helping the non-elite athlete.

I am sorry this is so short trying to answer a couple more before I need to finish.

Ruth

10/08/2012 at 14:19
mike gregory 7 wrote (see)

Hi i am always wondering whats best after a long run, and when is the best timing. Read in the asap after and/or within an hour. Suggestions welcomed. thanks

Mike, eating asap /within 1 hours is vital if training twice a day, you have a little more time when training daily or everyother day but it is a good thing to do becasue if you do not eat after a long run  you can become very hungry and over eat later and be more tired for the reat of the day etc . Great recovery foods are a combination of carbs and protein so cereal & milk, milk based drinks such as milkhakes, drinking yoghurts , lean meat/fish sandwich with fruit or fruit juice or pasta/rice with some lean meat or fish all do the job very well.Tthe protein is best to come  from an animal source (unless you do not eat meat/fish/dairy). The carbs shoulD be around about 50g but more if stuggle to keep weight on and less if need to lose some weight (only need 0.8grams of carb per kilogram of your body weight and some protein if want to reduce the carbs).

Hope that helps

Ruth

10/08/2012 at 14:20
Martina Garnham wrote (see)

Hi Ruth

I am preparing the New Forest Marathon brochure for our event on Sunday 23rd September and would welcome a cut down Q&A from you to feature in it?  Would that be possible?

thanks

Martina (martina@rocketfuelsports.co.uk)

 Hi Martina

I will email later; need to dash away to a presentation after this but will be in touch. Thanks Ruth

 

10/08/2012 at 14:27
Jonathan Meadows 2 wrote (see)

Hi Ruth!

 I’m currently trying a low carb diet as I’m trying to shift some weight before my next half marathon in an attempt to improve my time, obviously I need carbs for long runs but what would you say are the top 3 sources to get good carbs from and continue the weight loss?

 Also is mackerel good for a diet, i've been eating ir more but it seems to be very high in fat but I keep reading it’s good? I was hoping you could put it into English for me!

 Thanks,

 Jonathan 

Hi Joathan

I would need to see a little more of your diet to give best advice but I woudl base your meals on oats, wholegrain pasta or rice and sweet potatoes but portion control.

Mackeral should stay in your diet; have a a couple of 125g portions per week . I think  this link sums it up very nicely and from

Reputable/reliable & in plain English! :  http://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/omega3.pdf

I hope this answers your questions

Ruth

10/08/2012 at 14:29

A big thanks to Ruth for joining us for today's webchat and for all of her great advice.

Many thanks to all of you too for posting such interesting questions. We'll have another half-marathon webchat with the ASIS PRO Team on the site in a few weeks.

Best,
Dominique RW

10/08/2012 at 14:31
Thanks ruth, much appreciated.
10/08/2012 at 14:31
Adam Haylett wrote (see)

Hi Ruth,

Sports drinks and protein drinks have been in the news recently as to their effectiveness and whether average people actually gain any help or advantage from using them. I wondered what your take on them was.

Thanks

Adam

Hi Adam

I don't think anyone NEEDS them but in marathons etc they can be very useful as compact readily avaiable. I totally agree with the recent news that kids and people who just exercise for a gentle hour do not need them nor gain anything from them! But kids also do not need coke and other sugary drinks  so I think used in the correct situation they can be useful.

Thanks Adam

10/08/2012 at 14:32

Hi All

I think I have managed to answer all questions. Thank you so much for posted and all the very best of luck.

Ruth

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