Help Wanted: I’d Love Your Nutrition Tips!!

About three weeks ago, I started training for my first marathon. A planner by nature, I spent a while researching training plans, drafting possible schedules and reading books, blogs and articles about running. Armed with knowledge and a training plan that (I hope) fits my life, I laced up my shoes and got started. I’m also incorporating strength training into my routine to prevent injuries and protect my body.

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks I’ve felt hungrier (probably due to the increased exercise) but I also find that I’m getting more relaxed in my food choices. I figure, since I ran 8 miles, it’s okay to eat the extra chips, big bagel, second helping of dinner, etc. Hmmm. Anybody else ever feel that way?!

My body doesn’t handle sugary foods well and fortunately I continue to stay away from those types of food. That said, I’ve been reaching for extra helpings or foods that don’t leave me feeling healthy or satisfied (processed foods, refined grains, etc.) because I’m busy and hungry. I know my body performs better and definitely feels better when I eat vegetables, fruits, protein and whole grains. However, I’m struggling with finding ways to fuel my body (and new workouts) while balancing life (great relationships, a full-time job, exercise, church responsibilities, etc.). I’ve read many blogs and know others struggle with the same concerns but have great strategies to eat healthy in a hectic world. I would LOVE to know your nutrition tips!

*What are your “go-to” meals?
*Do you have any tips for making weeknight meals easier?
*What are your favorite pre-workout and post-workout snacks?
*How do you stay motivated to eat healthy?
*Do you notice a change in your appetite when training for an event?
*How do you ensure you are getting enough food to train without eating empty calories?

Any other nutrition-related training tips would be appreciated! Thanks!

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14 Responses to Help Wanted: I’d Love Your Nutrition Tips!!

  1. For cooking meals, we use Feed Zone and Racing Weight Cookbook recipes especially those I can make in bulk and I cook ‘em all in 1 nigh; Lasagna (with extra veggies like zucchini, squash, spinach), fried rice, meat sauce loaded with veggies for pasta, chicken in big batches (feed zone has a red cabbage one I made that was yummy).
    Our food choices also fluctuate, like I’ll just crave chips or a soda (I didn’t drink sodas for almost 2 years until about a month ago) and I think that’s okay in limited quantities.
    Bagels are awesome for breakfast bc they keep you fuller. Greek yogurt with granola and fruit. Oatmeal with berries and peanut butter. Check out my blog for more.

  2. Rachel says:

    I’ve never trained for a full before, but a half yes. Stay away, away, away from refined sugars!! I just did an entire post on this today, actually. They are completely empty calories and do nothing for you. Eat as many fruits and veggies as you can each day. Peanut butter, whole grain breads and pastas. An easy dinner is what my family calls “mud tacos” (lol). Tacos with refried beans! Then you don’t even have to cook meat but just warm up some refried beans. It’s filling and delish. And make sure you are drinking enough water.

    So many options, such little time! Check out my blog for recipes, too. I post them every week!

    Good luck with your training. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

    • Em says:

      Rachel, thank you for the suggestions. I can’t wait to take a look at your recipes! The “mud tacos” sound delicious. I really appreciate the ideas!

  3. I find prep work and planning makes weeknight meals easier. I plan my entire weekly meals so that I know exactly what I am going to make and have it on hand. This also ensures that I planned healthy meals while I’m in the right state of mind rather than being ravenously hungry and reaching for anything and everything. Sundays are a great day to do some meal prep too. If you are in a rush, you can prep things like batch cook chicken breast, pre wash and chop vegetables, etc so things are easier to prepare.

    Pre-workout I usually just have fruit. I want something with a good dose of carbohydrates but that easily digests so that I don’t get any stomach trouble. Post workout depends on what my workout was. After running, I often go for chocolate milk or a homemade protein granola bar. If I only did strength training I might have a protein shake.

    I have a huge change in my appetite now that I’m marathon training. I know I need to eat more but I try to keep most of my routine the same. I added in an afternoon snack and a post workout snack. If I find I’m hungry in the evenings I will give myself a snack then as well. It’s easy to feel justified to eat whatever you want because you ran so long and allow yourself to do that once in a while but just not all the time.

    Hope some of this helps!

    • Em says:

      Jen, this definitely helps! I love the idea of prepping food ahead of time. It will make meals come together much quicker. Thank you for the meal suggestions too!

  4. “Runger” is totally a thing! If you’re doing both endurance training and strength training, your body needs a lot of carbs to recover.

    It sounds like you’ve mostly been reaching for carbs. I don’t have a ton of experience in the endurance field, but I do know that protein helps satiate hunger. Are you eating enough? If eating more carbs and fiber aren’t helping, then maybe you should amp up the protein intake. I like to make pulled pork at the beginning of the week to throw on sandwiches or salads. You can do the same with chicken.

    Hope you figure out what works for you!

    • Em says:

      Jenni, I’m glad to hear that “runger” isn’t just in my head. :) You’re right – I definitely I feel better when I eat more protein. Love the idea of making pork or chicken at the beginning of the week to make things easier during the week. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

  5. oh yes, RUNGER!! it can be dangerous! I find meal prepping (when I actually get to it) helps immensely. Lots of eggs, quinoa, peppers, turkey and chicken. I bought the Runners World cookbook recently too. I’m a boring eater and tend to eat the same things over and over. Lately while training I have an apple as a morning snack, some other fruit or veggie for an afternoon snack and KIND bar for post workout. I do need to refocus my attention on this though.

  6. Niki says:

    I’ve trained for two fulls and definitely experienced the hunger your talking about! One of my go to meals was spaghetti. Filling and can still be made nutritious. I didn’t know about them when I was training but…Quest bars are delicious and get you the protein you need. You expend so many calories that you don’t want your muscles wasting away! You’ll need those. Ha! Good luck in your training and journey!

    • Em says:

      Niki, thanks for reading! I haven’t tried Quest bars but I’ve been curious about them. Glad to know they are tasty!

  7. Esther says:

    I have not trained for a full, but many half marathons.
    One thing that really helped me were smoothies! Way to load in lots of healthy items! I also add extra scoop of almond butter to my smoothies to get some extra calories that are full of nutrition!
    Will post some of my fav smoothies on the link-up next week!
    I also eat lots of hard boiled eggs, Kind bars, and lara bars!

    Good luck with training!

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