Eating well before and after a marathon is a game-changer. Protima Tiwary spoke with coach and nutritionist Sheetal Sood to help us understand the diet to consume before a big marathon.
You’ve been training on the track religiously, making sure you stick to your training routine, carefully mapping out the distances and recording your progress. But you know what they say- the correct diet is more than half the work done. So take a pause and ask yourself a question- have you been eating right to be well equipped to run the marathon? We caught up with a fitness lifestyle coach and nutritionist Sheetal Sood to help us understand the importance of the diet leading up to a marathon.
It started around 18years ago during my first pregnancy. I started noticing my body and the way it was changing. I had always been an active child, interested in sports and outdoor games before college and professional life took over. I was a lawyer in the Mumbai High Court before I moved to Pune, and it is here when I embarked upon my personal fitness journey. I was recently married, my first baby was on its way and I started taking care of myself with yoga and Pilates through pre and post-natal classes.
I stuck with my training regime even after delivery and considered becoming a personal trainer 12 years ago. It was only three years ago that I went ahead with my certification, and I am so glad that I did! I love how fitness has gained importance in our lifestyles, and for me, my work doesn’t even feel like work anymore!
Today, a workout is an integral part of my routine. I want to be a role model for my children, and I wish to motivate my clients, so I guess that is what keeps me going.
A fit foodie at 47, do you find it easy to combine your love for food and your fit lifestyle?
Yes, I love to eat and workout. I do not let myself feel guilty for that one off cheat meal. Apart from that, my food choices are healthy. I satisfy my sweet cravings with homemade all nut butter or peanut butter, and my go-to meal is a mixed salad with good vinaigrette dressing.
Chocolate is my comfort food, so I do cheat sometimes with a rich chocolate cake or ice cream. However, if I can find a healthy option that tastes as good, I will always choose that.
Whenever we put ourselves through intense activity, we need a specially curated meal plan supporting the activity. Poor nutrition will always lead to poor performance, even injuries. Preparing for a marathon isn’t an overnight decision- your meals have to be designed weeks in advance.
Carb-cycling is important when you are preparing for a marathon. You need to have days of high carb, moderate and low carbs. Stock your house with good carbs like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, jowar and bajra flour, buckwheat and amaranth for rotis. Nuts, legumes, green veggies, paneer are a must too. Foods like bananas, sweet potatoes and beetroot are a must have. Remove all junk food.
Also, stock up on BCAAs and bulletproof coffees!
You need to have foods that make you feel light and energetic. Load up on foods that contain nitrate (eg- beet) Choose complex carbs for every meal. Go on a high carb, moderate protein, low-fat diet.
Lunch can be large but your dinners have to be light and early (but carb loaded) A light dinner could be a big bowl of soup with meat, vegetables and noodles or rice in the soup.
Please do not eat biryanis and pizzas thinking you will burn it off. The sugar in these processed foods are evil!
I would highly recommend a shake or juice first thing after a race. This is because our body absorbs liquids with much ease as
compared to solids. An ideal shake would be made of bananas, almond
milk, honey or peanut butter (and protein powder if you wish to)
The second meal after the run can be eggs (in any form) with multigrain bread/rotis. You can also opt for paneer bhurji.