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.
These meal plans were last updated on 20 February 2020 by James Collins.
James Collins is recognised as a leading Performance Nutritionist through his work with Olympic and professional sport. Over the last decade he has worked with Arsenal FC, the England and France national football teams and Team GB. He has a private practice in Harley Street where he sees business executives, performing artists and clients from all walks of life. He is the author of the new book The Energy Plan, which focuses on the key principles of fuelling for fitness.
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