What should you eat in the early stages of marathon training?

If you have just started training for your first marathon, knowing what and how much you should be eating can be incredibly confusing.

No doubt you will be aware of the importance of carbohydrates as the body’s “fuel of choice” to keep your legs moving, but how much should you be eating in the early stages of marathon training?

The answer is “not as much as you think.”

The video above (an extract from one of our Marathon Training Vlogs will explain why in more detail, but the key thing to remember is that during the early weeks of marathon training you will be burning less carbohydrate than you might think.

Going into detail about how the body uses carbohydrate as an energy source for running is beyond the scope of this article, but hopefully the above video and the explanation below, will give you the basics of how your body will use carbohydrate in the early stages of training.

All you really need to remember is the faster and further you run, the greater the body’s demand and requirement of carbohydrate.

If you’d like to lean more about running and carbohydrate, check our our blog post on the subject.

The faster and further you run, the greater your need for carbohydrates.

Slow and Steady

When you begin marathon training, the focus of your training runs should be on building “foundation” or “base” miles.

All this means is that your sessions should be slow, steady and frequent.

The body LOVES consistency and will adapt excellently to the demands of running if your training plan features regular sessions throughout the week – 3 or 4 runs is ideal.

Although these training runs will of course burn up energy, as they are performed at a slow and steady pace, your body will not be torching huge amounts of carbohydrate calories and therefore depleting your entire store of carbohydrate after every run.

So, go steady on your running speed and go steady on the carbs.

When the training speed and miles begin to creep up next month, then yes, then you can consider increasing your carbohydrate intake.

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