It’s London Marathon time and there will be a lot of runners running this distance for the first time. Hopefully they will have prepared well, not only in their training but also with planning their food intake before, after and during the run – this is one of the trickiest things to get right.
The night before running it’s important to get a good amount of carbohydrate into the body, to help fuel the energy you are going to need the next day, followed by a good nights’ sleep.
The day of the race start with something like a berry smoothie – rich in antioxidants, easy to digest and maybe add a tablespoons of oats or muesli to give a carbohydrate boost.
During the run stick to whatever you did in training – never try anything new on race day, so if you trained with gels and water or bananas and water, or whatever it may be, stick to that.
After the race is probably the time when most people forget to replenish all the nutrients that have been used (they are far too busy celebrating completing the race!), but this is one of the most important times, when the body is best able to absorb what it needs. A simple recovery drink in the first 40 minutes after the race is 500ml skimmed milk or chocolate milk – both have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage, including delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), plus they contain high concentrations of electrolytes (sodium, calcium, potassium), which are naturally lost through sweat during exercise. These high concentrations should aid in fluid recovery after exercise – fluid uptake in the small intestine is enhanced by the presence of glucose and sodium, both of which are found in milk in ideal quantities. Low fat milk (skimmed) has been shown to be as effective, if not more effective, than commercially available sports drinks as a rehydration beverage.
Within a couple of hours, a meal rich in protein and carbohydrate will assist in replacing those important nutrients and hopefully aid recovery, so within no time at all you will be thinking about the next marathon you want to run!
Quick Flatbread Pizza
Pizza is a great carbohydrate food, but buying prepared ones is obviously not as nutritious or tasty as making your own – you can choose the topping that suits your nutrient needs and tastes.
200 g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
200 g natural yoghurt
1 courgette, sliced
150 g butternut squash, chopped (no need to peel)
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tbsp Coconoil
1 tsp cumin seeds
100 g passata
30 g fresh anchovies
25 g sun-dried tomatoes
150g grilled salmon or chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
30 g cheddar cheese, grated
few rocket leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas mark 6.
- To make the dough, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, and then stir in the yoghurt and bring together to make a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss together the courgette, butternut, onion, 1 tbsp olive oil and cumin seeds. Place in a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and heat the grill.
- Roll out the dough to fit a large frying pan.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the dough. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until golden underneath. Flip over and cook the other side for 5-6 minutes.
- Spread the passata over the pizza then sprinkle with roast vegetables, anchovies, tomatoes, salmon or chicken and cheese. Grill for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Serve with a scattering of rocket leaves.