London Marathon: Top nutritional tips from expert Matt Lovell

When clients come to me wanting to enhance their training potential, one of the biggest pitfalls is that I see them start to eat way more carbs because they are training for the marathon – some actually gain fat in spite of the increased running!

Tip: don’t believe the hype that you need sports drinks and gels every time you go for a run. Unless you are going for more than an hour, water with some salt is just fine. Once your runs get longer and your weekly mileage is higher OR if you want to gain weight, then increase calories and carbs, see below for more recovery tips.

You’ll be running on what you’ve had to eat recently or even the night before. There are plenty of calories to burn from your meals and, let’s be honest, it’s likely you could do with dropping a couple of pounds, which will make the whole marathon feel much less like hard work.

Hydration: going out to exercise when dehydrated is dangerous. Make sure you hydrate first thing with water (I like a pint with some lemon juice and salt – a pinch); you actually get a lot of hydration from your foods, things like smoothies (try PACK’D smoothies for their added functional nutrition, their Energy variety also features a targeted natural energy boost from milled flaxseed, maca, cacao and gaurana powder) and soups, salads and vegetables contains loads of water. Something I’ve noticed with clients who are ill and don’t eat, is they often get very dehydrated, this is because they are losing the fluids they’d normally get from eating good foods.

Salt:
we’re told salt is bad for us, which it is in excess – it raises blood pressure a little bit. However if you train, and you train a lot, not taking salt can be dangerous, fatal even when water is drunk to excess without sufficient electrolytes.
Tip: use a moderate amount of salts and electrolytes when in training. You will need more fluid and salt when it gets hotter, planning ahead and having a weather station is a good idea.

Grade your recovery: if you go for a quick 45 minute run, eat normally. For your 15 mile runs, these need to be fuelled better and you need to replenish before your next exercise bout. Smoothies can be a great way to recover, add some protein into a PACKD Defence smoothie (which additionally helps the function of your immune and nervous systems and helps to protect cells from oxidative stress from its combination of pineapple, mango, papaya, banana, ginger and goji berries) for example for rounded recovery. I like to increase my wheat alternatives – so other grains like rice, sweet potatoes and root vegetables over massive bowls of pasta. I find my clients report less bloating with these sources of carbs.

Anti-infammatory foods are another great idea for your marathon recovery and ongoing training. So plenty of fish, spices, berries and so on to help the body recover and be less inflamed after your extensive running sessions. Pineapple and papaya have great anti-inflammatory benefits so eating these can be a great way to get sugars and bromelain (the cool stuff which lowers soreness) back into the system.

Matt Lovell, ambassador for PACK’D, is Nutritionist to Tottenham Hotspur, the World Cup Senior Female team and the England Rugby team, BA (Hons) Dip ION NTCC CNHC Registered mBANT.

Matt says, “I spend a lot of time working with elite athletes and professional international teams. I wanted to get involved with PACK’D because I saw it as the perfect addition to my tool kit for getting athletes into the best shape possible. One of the biggest challenges I face as a nutritionist is instilling consistency into the day-to- day lives of my clients.  The PACK’D kits are a first class product for nutrition and flavour, but they also provide consistency that is otherwise hard to achieve.  Each PACK'D kit has been perfectly portioned, ensuring that you get exactly the same nutrients time and again.  And, the sachets have been specifically formulated with key superfood ingredients related to the chosen function, elevating the smoothies to a source of real, targeted nutrition.”

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