Find out how many calories and carbohydrates you need to fuel, recover and manage your weight effectively, plus recipe suggestions for normal training days.
On normal training days you should aim for a moderate increase in energy (calorie) intake mainly from increased carbohydrate...
Nutrition plan for normal training days (1 training session over 60 min or containing intermittent/high-intensity training)
Moderate intake of carbs and protein
You should have a moderate intake of carbohydrates on these days, which would include a serving of carbohydrate at breakfast and lunch, to fuel training and replenish muscle glycogen stores. Intake can then be reduced in the evening. Meal options should focus on low-GI carbohydrates for sustained energy release. Aim for a moderate protein intake as well - a serving of protein should be included with each meal for ongoing muscle growth and repair.
Depending on your goals, you may still wish to 'train low' by eating a low carb, higher protein meal. Simply put, this means exercising when the muscles' stores of glycogen (that you get from carbohydrate) is low. This primes the muscles to become more efficient at using fat stores as a fuel during training.
The most common way of ‘training low’ is to exercise before breakfast. More recently research has also shown that a workout after a protein-based (low carb) breakfast will also produce the same result. Other ways to ‘train low’ include training twice a day or following a low carbohydrate diet.
It should be noted that ‘training low’ increases the strain on the muscles, which can reduce the training quality of harder session, therefore it should be carefully planned for appropriate sessions.
Include polyunsaturated fats in your evening meal to promote the function of muscle cells. Foods containing iron should also be included in three meals per week, which is vital for carrying oxygen to the working muscles and supporting energy production during endurance exercise.
Morning snack suggestion:
Fruit & nut yogurt
Afternoon snack suggestion:
Chinese spiced seed mix
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 and top race day foods.
- 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.
Are you training for a race this year? What have you found most challenging and do you have any top tips to share with other runners? We'd love to hear from you below...
This article was last reviewed on 6 March 2017 by 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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