Sue’s Food Diary Analysis (3:15)

Age: 36
Job activity level: Two to three days per week in an office; other days more active with children and household chores

Marathon history: 2 marathons (2007 and 2008)
Goal: 3:15
Current PB: 3:30

Height: 1.52m
Current Weight: 46.7kg

Sue's Profile | Sue's Training Thread

An Example Training Week

Day 1 11.45am 52-minute steady run (75% MHR)
Day 2 9.30pm 30 minutes core stability work
Day 3 5.30pm 50-minute steady run (75% MHR)
Day 4 7pm 30-minute easy run (approx 3 miles)
Day 5 11am Cross-country race (approx 40 minutes, 90% MHR) plus 10-minute warm-up and 5-minute cool-down
Day 6 8.30pm 45-minute easy run (70% MHR)
Day 7 8.30am 110-minute run (80% MHR)

Seven-day Food Diary Analysis Summary


Average daily intake

Recommended amount per kg/ day or per day








84g (29.6% energy intake)

Approx. 25% energy intake



Approx 2100 – 2850kcal per day, depending on training

Comments & Recommendations

Energy intake

Sue's energy requirements vary depending on the training she does each day. Her actual intake was mid-range and she reports having enough energy during her training runs, so is clearly meeting her requirements well.

Carbohydrate intake

Sue's carbohydrate intake is also good and she is meeting the additional requirements that her training schedule demands. Her choices of carbohydrate sources were also varied and included some high-fibre options. One improvement could be the inclusion of more lower Glycaemic Index (slow-release carbohydrate) foods such as multi-grain or granary bread, porridge made with oats (rather than instant porridge), muesli and basmati rice. These foods help to sustain energy levels during the day and can enhance the ability of the body to access its fat stores for fuel.

Fat intake

Sue's fat intake is slightly above ideal and should be around 70g per day. Her saturated fat intake provided 10.6% of her energy requirements when it should be below 10%. Foods she ate during the seven-day period which contributed to this included ice cream, chocolate, cheese and cream. However it was Christmas, so Sue really only needs to fine-tune this aspect of her diet.

Protein intake

Sue's protein intake was higher than required (2g/kg maximum). Additional protein - that the body doesn't need - is broken down and used as energy. Sue eats a good mix of protein-rich foods including red meat, chicken and fish. Salmon in particular is an oily fish that is also a good source of Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain and retina (eye) function and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Vitamins and minerals

The analysis highlighted no vitamin deficiencies in Sue's diet.

Fluid and hydration

Sue drinks between 3500 and 4800ml water per day - there is no need for her to drink any more than this. Drinking large quantities of water over short periods can be dangerous at it can dilute your blood sodium levels. However, it is important to drink sports drinks during a marathon both for the sodium (which helps replace sweat losses) and the carbohydrate (which will help maintain energy levels) they contain. The amount you consume should be dictated by your sweat loss - try not to lose more than 2% body weight from fluid losses.


Sue is eating a meal or having a recovery drink within 15 minutes of training which is excellent. Ideally your recovery meal or drink should contain both protein (approx 10g for someone of Sue’s size) and carbohydrate (approx 50g). Sue drinks chocolate milk which is a good example - 300ml of chocolate milk plus a small banana will do the job perfectly!

Example Meal Plan

Breakfast Porridge made with oats, muesli or Special K with semi-skimmed milk and fresh fruit; a glass of fruit juice.

Mid-morning Fruit or fruit smoothie.

Lunch Multi-grain bread, cous cous or rice with chicken, tuna, beans, ham or egg plus salad; yoghurt with dried fruit and a handful of nuts and seeds.

Mid-afternoon  Fruit, yoghurt, nuts and seeds or a cereal bar.

Evening Fish, lean red meat or chicken with pasta, noodles, sweet potato or basmati rice, vegetables or salad; frozen yoghurt with fruit.

Wendy Martinson is an Accredited Sports Dietitian, Registered Dietitian with the Health Professions Council and qualified group exercise and BTS instructor. She has experience of working with world-class athletes from a wide variety of sports and is currently the Sports Nutrition Consultant for the British Olympic Association, British Gymnastics and GB Rowing. She also works as a Consultant Sports Dietician for Lucozade Sport providing evidence based information on sports nutrition.