Nutrition webchat this Friday

Join us for a nutrition webchat with Nutritionist Ruth McKean this Friday 12-1pm

1 to 20 of 36 messages
22/02/2013 at 17:09

This Friday March 1 at 12 - 1pm here on the forum ASICS Pro Team Nutritionist Ruth McKean will be joining us to talk about nutrition strategies in the lead up to a marathon.

If you're struggling with fuelling just before your long runs, can't get your head around the different energy gels on the market, or need advice on hydration, Ruth will be on hand to help.

Join us 12pm - 1pm on Friday, or post your questions in advance below.

Edited: 25/02/2013 at 11:50
22/02/2013 at 20:07
I'd be interested in nutrition for the ordinary person on an ordinary wage with wife
/husband and kids. Too many suggestions these days involve fancy new age foods like quinoa or exotic berries not to mention expensive ones like avocados and (tastless) chicken breasts.

Have you seen the price of gels or nutrition bars these days were not ALL on football star wages ya know!
25/02/2013 at 11:05

Hi Ruth,

I’m in week 8 of an 18 week marathon training plan.  My marathon is in May.  I managed to find a plan which I can hit most sessions, despite being away from home 12-14 hours a day during the week. As a result, 2 of the ‘quality’ sessions are done on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday is typically race pace miles (this will be getting up to 8 miles in the coming weeks), and Sunday is a long slow run, designed to be on tired legs, after the fast work on Saturday.  In various of your posts, and in general, nutritional advice centres around eating to match your exercise, however, I actually find I am most hungry on the days I’m not running (Friday and Monday).  In effect I have to do a carbo load before each weekend to manage these sessions.  This weekend it was 7 miles race pace, followed by 14 mile LSR on Sunday.  I’m taking electrolyte drinks and energy gels for the long runs, but what advice would you have for eating for the rest of the day, so that I can still do other things.  I do like to lay around recovering, but I don’t think I should take more than 90 minutes on this!  And would you recommend I stick to my Friday carbo load?



25/02/2013 at 11:48

I'm running 2-2.5hrs long runs on Sunday and struggling to keep my energy up - gels make me retch as I haven't got a sweet tooth. I find I am so distracted by feeling sick that i can't run as well & feel demoralised. I have tried quite a range and although a few of them I can manage tokeep one sachet down, any more & that feeling returns. Is there any other more natural or less sweet options you know of that I could try

25/02/2013 at 12:07

Timely post. I have started cramping around 14/15 miles on the long runs. Lots of advice from fellow club runners about hydration, carbs, gels and electrolytes.

I weigh just over 200 pounds, do I need more fuel than say a 168 pounder.

My pace is a pretty solid 9:30min mile in training.

25/02/2013 at 20:40

i echo some of william brown comments but i would like some info on the lead up to a first marathon say the week before what to eat and drink and because you are on a rest week do you downsize your portions or eat more to build up for the race.....

Also 'normal' foods to eat during a marathon would be useful, i plan for malt loaf, banana etc but any ideas would be good....

Many thanks


26/02/2013 at 12:52
Hi similar to William Brown. I need quick family style receipes & ideas. I have 1 veggie son in the mix.
Like everyone I am flat out doing training, family, & my job.

Also with Sarah I can't stomach the gels so whilst I try everything on the market what alternatives are there.

Finally can you give us a few ideas for a whole day - breakfast, snack, lunch snack etc for training days & non training days

26/02/2013 at 14:10
Hi Ruth

Am having trouble knowing if im eating enough. What should my daily calorie intake be whilst marathon training I don't know if this helps you answer but I'm 36, 5ft 4inch and weigh 8 stone. I'm currently running 45+ miles, 5 times a week. I'm also a busy mum of two small girls so don't tend to sit down much!

Thanks for your advice

26/02/2013 at 15:47

Hi Ruth,

I'm looking for some advice. I've recently being diagnosed with the following intollerances: Cows Milk, Peanuts, white sugar (any refined sugar). I'm in the process of getting a second opinion but in the meantime - can you suggest any gels or anything that I can eat on long runs if refined sugar is out? Maltodextrose is in EVERY gel that I can find.

I've heard some good things about Beetroot juice - would you recommend this?

Do you think it's wise for a serial marathon runner to avoid cows milk for calcium?

26/02/2013 at 19:54

I echo what William says,   Simple and healthy and inexpensinve.,

26/02/2013 at 21:38
Hi Ruth,

I read the advice you were giving to the Asics crew regarding carbon loading for their half marathon with a view to using the same strategy over two days before the marathon. It seemed you were suggesting a lot of food but on the day it really seemed to help them - I think they said as much themselves.

It was interesting the foods you suggested using and those to avoid and recommendations on keeping the correct balance of carbs/protein/fat.

Is it possible for you to summarise this here along with the amount of carbs needed. (I'm about 115lb).

Also, when it comes to gels in the marathon, how many would you recommend and at what time? I usually take me first one at 13-14 miles but in my last marathon took the first one at 7 miles (a friend marshalling passed it to me at this point) and I actually think this was better.

Sorry that's a lot! Thanks.
Edited: 26/02/2013 at 21:39
27/02/2013 at 14:45

It's as simple as a big pasta meal with some garlic bread on a Saturday night, a bowl of porridge & honey 2 hours before my long run Sunday morning and I'm good to go for a 2 & half hour 20 miler with just a 500ml bottle of water to keep me going on the way round.

Gels / drinks / sachets / fuels etc are all a fad and convenience for not preparing in advance. What do you think they did in the days of a few cups of water around the London marathon course?!

Build up your miles and prepare in advance and your body will soon adapt. 

27/02/2013 at 17:08

Interesting comments Alscott78!

The last time I heard that (gels etc) was from a senior runner (like me) at Mile 9 of a HM just as I was taking a 2nd gel......

I beat him by 4 mins at the finish - how does that work again?

Horses for courses (maybe not an apt phrase at the moment) - but I start my dietary preparations for an "A" race on Wednesday evening, not the night before! 

27/02/2013 at 19:10

Haha Aliscott - I'll beat that - meal the night before, no breakfast and just water keeps me going.   However, I am interested to read Ruth's more professional view on carbo loading.

27/02/2013 at 19:42

Personally I prefer to eat Jelly Babies running but it is a personal choice.

28/02/2013 at 22:55
2 gels by 9 miles? Really?

Level with 4 miles to go and finished 4 minutes ahead of him says poor training on his part than you winning with gels! Or did you run the last 4 a minute per mile quicker than your average pace before then? I doubt it..

I'm not against gels, i use them myself for marathons only but never see them as a shortcut to proper nutrition and carbo loading.
01/03/2013 at 09:58

Aliscott78 - let's agree that proper nutrition with carb loading and the correct use of gels is the way to go.

My avg pace was 6:53min/m with last three at 6:51; 6:37; 6:30 - gel effect or not, I think they work for me

01/03/2013 at 12:00

Afternoon all!

Thank you for all your posts, I will do my very best to answer all questions.


01/03/2013 at 12:24
William Brown 7 wrote (see)
I'd be interested in nutrition for the ordinary person on an ordinary wage with wife
/husband and kids. Too many suggestions these days involve fancy new age foods like quinoa or exotic berries not to mention expensive ones like avocados and (tastless) chicken breasts.

Have you seen the price of gels or nutrition bars these days were not ALL on football star wages ya know!

Thanks for your post. There is some basic nutrition principles that you need to consider to perform well and stay healthy (not just for the short term but also long term health). A good diet will help support consistent intensive training (that marathon training usually requires!) while at the same time reducing risk of illness, &  good recovery from training can also help promotes adaptations to training (i.e. changes that happen when you change than make you fitter or able to run for longer etc). My job is often to get the basics right in someone’s diet and often I manipulate energy intake to achieve certain goals such reducing body fat levels or improving recovery etc. To do any of these things you do not need to include expensive foods.

So consider the basics you need. The base of all meals should contain carbohydrates and in an ideal  world should be mostly wholegrain versions so wholegrain pasta, rice, cereals or other carbs such as potatoes (all varieties are fine) and bread (homemade can be cheaper and easy if already have bread machine). Quinoa is not new age it is just more traditional in other countries and due to the word getting smaller in terms of trade we start to see these foods in the UK but these are a choice but not needed nor is a diet necessarily better for having these foods in it as that will depend on bigger picture of someone’s diet.

The next food you need to think about in a meal is protein: you have the obviously ones such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese but you do not need to eat meat or fish every day, so cheap options are lentils & other pluses such as beans. You only need to eat up to 2 portions of fish per week (up to 4 if heart problems) one of which should be oily (mackerel, salmon, sardines/pilchards, trout). You can buy these can quite cheaper or vacuum packed you are still getting the fish oils.

Then you must consider colour in your meals – your vegetables (or fruit but always try and get a decent about of veggies in meals) and try and use a variety the more varieties the bigger the range of vitamins & mineral your body will get. Frozen is cheaper and could actually be fresher than any supermarket varieties & buy what is in season.

The price of food  has gone up but if you plan your meals and avoid buying to many extras such as  chocolates, 2 for 1 offers you don’t need  or you are just buying as they are 2 for 1  but not good for your health etc People can feel it is too much hassle to meal plan (and you may not be one of these people) BUT you can save a lot of money by planning meals and probably eat better and use the principle cook once eat twice (freeze the extra). A tin or carton of chopped tomatoes (can get for as little as 35p) with some herbs and garlic can make a sauce that can feed a family without the salt content etc. Fat is important in your diet but a little oil (olive sunflower, linseed, rapeseed etc ) is a great source as is your oily fish (oily fish also has vitamins D in it)

Recovery foods post run can be a bowl of cereal and milk - its perfect as a recovery food. It has the protein & carbs. Drink water for fluid replacement as salt from food will help with the fluid replacement

01/03/2013 at 12:26

.contined from above

...  fluid replacement. These foods advertised as super foods such as berries are very high in antioxidants (and they are to be fair) but if you eat at least 5 but ideally more of other brightly coloured fruit and veg and have a good mix/variety of these then you will get a good source of antioxidants (although you can buy berries frozen and could add to natural yogurt etc). I think if you plan you can eat on a budget and not waste foods then you have to spend time on planning.

Gels: the convenience of gels  for some is the ease digestion, they are compact, stay fresh in foil and only ned one gel for say 5 jelly babies and this is probably what makes them popular and of course the marketing,  but they are no different to eating  jelly sweets if you work out the carbs to be the  same . If smaller jelly sweets such as jelly beans you have to eat a lot to match a gel. In hot marathons sweets can get very sticky or in cold condition harder to chew. Some people find out what gels suit them then rarely use these until marathon day but jelly sweets are also fine! Work out the pros and cons for you

So look past the marketing and really see what  needs to go in your trolley to make simple inexpensive meals.

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