On heavy training days you'll need to pay close attention to hydration levels and up your carbohydrate intake. Make sure you're eating the right kind of carbs with our recipe suggestions...
On heavy training days, getting your nutrition right is especially important in order to meet the increased demands of training and ensure rapid refuelling and overall recovery. Hydration is a key element too as you will be sweating more and losing water.
Nutrition plan for heavy training days (two or more training sessions or a long, endurance-based session)
Increase the carbs
Carbohydrate intake is raised on these days, and as a general rule, a serving should be included at all main meals, to top up muscle glycogen (fuel) levels.
Snacks can also be used to support high training volume. Higher-GI carbohydrate snacks mid-morning or mid-afternoon can be a useful tool to increase overall intake, or as a quick pre-training snack.
The priority is to increase carbohydrate intake (as the main fuel), but don’t forget to maintain both protein and polyunsaturated fat intake with each meal. Be sure to include an evening snack containing protein, as this is vital to help your body recover from a heavy training day and assist muscle growth overnight, as this is when a large amount of growth and repair (adaptation) will occur in the muscles.
Up your fluid intake to compensate for sweat losses during training and stick to tried and tested foods before setting out on a long run. Avoid foods that may cause gastrointestinal issues, such as spices, fatty or very high fibre foods.
Afternoon snack suggestion:
Instant frozen berry yogurt
Evening snack suggestions (optional):
More training & nutrition tips for runners
- Now you've perfected your training nutrition, make sure you eat right in race week with our marathon meal plans.
- Get to grips with eating before, during and after running with our guides.
- Our marathon nutrition hub will teach you how to hydrate properly, carb-load and even how Mo Farah fuels for training.
This article was last reviewed on 22 January 2018 by sports nutritionist James Collins.
James Collins is head of nutrition at Arsenal Football Club. He’s worked with some of the world’s best athletes over the last decade within Olympic and professional sport. His Performance Nutrition principles are now helping everyone to look, feel and perform better each day. Find out more at: www.jamescollinsnutrition.com.
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