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Long distance runners - what do you eat?!

(36 Posts)
teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 18:41:54

I'm a fairly experienced runner (been running 30 ish miles a week for a couple of years). I'm currently training for my first marathon and have a time goal, so have upped my training quite significantly.

I'm currently covering 45-55 miles per week including LSR of 15 plus.

Since upping my mileage I'm losing weight like no tomorrow. I'm not a huge eater anyway and really have to force myself but I am struggling to come up with a diet that goes with my training.

I have lost a few stone in the last few years and although I loathe to admit it, I'm scared to overeat and put it back on. But I think eating too little is affecting my health. I often feel dizzy and sick in the afternoons and I wake up in the night starving hungry.

I'm 5'8 and weight about 8 stone 10 but I have a muscular build.

So I need help to get the balance right between staying slim and nutrition!

If anyone could share their meal ideas/plans/any help at all/ it would be much appreciated.

shushpenfold Tue 05-Dec-17 18:48:06

When I was running heavily I had to intersperse meals with higher calorie snacks...bacon and cheese danish at 11am is the one I remember. I ended up having a ‘running weight’ of 9 st 11lbs (I’m 5’10”/5’11”) At less than that I started to feel weak and dizzy and more than that and I felt I was just carrying stuff around with me. You seem light to me so I suspect you need to find your running weight too. Good luck. X

lljkk Tue 05-Dec-17 19:15:03

Don't eat junk, keep the protein & fats up.

MarmaladeIsMyJam Tue 05-Dec-17 19:20:31

That’s a very low weight for your height and the amount of miles you are packing away.
What exactly is the problem?
Not hungry after a run (takes me ages to eat!)
Not fuelling properly before a LSR?
What kind of MM are you running?

teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 19:28:42

I run 8 minute miles... think the problem is not feeling hungry after a run, being scared to overeat and out on too much weight and not knowing the most efficient way to fuel! There's also only me to feed so I suppose I need to put in more effort.

teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 19:30:55

Did LSR Sunday of 16 miles at 8.45 MM.

But straight after I felt sick so didn't eat until about 3pm; had half a chicken sandwich then went out to the pub and had a burger. Nothing else all day. Woke up at 3am on Monday starving and struggling with hunger today too.

lljkk Tue 05-Dec-17 19:32:33

Do you have a history of Eating disorder, tea&cake?

abbsisspartacus Tue 05-Dec-17 19:34:03

Is that you Janet? hmm

MarmaladeIsMyJam Tue 05-Dec-17 19:35:51

Are you fuelling during?

lljkk Tue 05-Dec-17 19:53:12

You need to look at nutrition as an important part of your training, at that mileage. Google all the different strategies about recovery after training. Look at the unwanted eating as part of your self-discpline.

If you look at athletic training & recovery regimes, most advise that you get some calories in your body within 45 minutes after stopping (as well as during event if it's more than about 90 minutes). Protein is highly advised to help muscle recovery. Carbs to keep your blood sugar on even keel.

Even if it's just a glass of milk or orange juice is all you can stomach in that 45 minutes. The T.dFrance cyclists wolf down bowls of rice, typically, as soon as they finish their warm down sessions & sometimes before.

teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 20:03:23

No, I don't have an eating disorder, but I've been heavier and feel much more confident now that I'm slimmer so I am conscious of not over eating.

teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 20:04:24

Normally fuel with gels during run (1 every hour) and usually eat half a bagel for breakfast, although I forgot on Sunday.

lljkk Tue 05-Dec-17 20:13:11

DS asked about how many calories he eats so I was studying bagel packaging earlier (DS has bagel for breakfast daily).

One bagel = 240 kcal, so half = 120. I sure hope you put some butter or cream cheese on there, too.

Like I said, nutrition is part of your performance plan, now.

MarmaladeIsMyJam Tue 05-Dec-17 20:19:49

So you ran for roughly 2.5 hours at a pretty speedy pace after eating nothing? No wonder you felt rotten, you are going to burn out.
You cannot maintain that kind of speed/distance for training on what you’re eating.

ultrababy Tue 05-Dec-17 20:23:16

Are you following a plan? The mileage seems excessive for a marathon.

MarmaladeIsMyJam Tue 05-Dec-17 20:27:26

Actually what Ultra said as well! I start my training next week for my spring marathon but my top mileage is only about 30-35 miles at the top end of my training.

scruffpup Tue 05-Dec-17 20:29:30

@abbsisspartacus 😂

scruffpup Tue 05-Dec-17 20:32:27

Op I'm certainly no expert, but I found eating lots of good fats and protein was the best thing for my running. Don't be worried about eating fats, I didn't gain weight whilst eating these and it really helped my running. Good luck! smile

teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 20:48:21

Am following a Runner's World plan for a sub 3:40 Marathon. I've run a lot of halves and have trained around 30 miles per week without needing to worry too much about nutrition but I seem to be struggling with the extra mileage.

lljkk Tue 05-Dec-17 20:53:52

runners world has loads of info about nutrition including post-run recovery nutrition, like this article. RW seems very keen on protein (some articles say 10-20 grams right away), and advocate there that you get some food in within 30 minutes of run-end (within 15 minutes in this article).

ultrababy Tue 05-Dec-17 21:08:42

I ran a sub 3:45 marathon and have never run that mileage. I did one speed work session of one hour. One up tempo run up to 13 miles and then one long run at race pace.
I've moved on to ultra marathons now and only hit 55-60 miles at the peak of my training.
If you are running more than four times then cut a run out.
I'm no expert but I have done Ironman triathlons and relied heavily on Hi-5 4:1 carbohydrate drink straight after training. It definitely aided my recovery and replenished my carbs to stop me dropping too much weight when the training got to approx 20 hours a week. Good luck!

teaandcakeat8 Tue 05-Dec-17 21:23:19

Thanks for all the advice given... I've eaten a huge bowl of pasta for dinner with leftovers for lunch and planning on porridge for breakfast.

MaidOfStars Wed 06-Dec-17 13:38:22

You’re right on the lower end of the healthy BMI scale. You cannot keep losing weight.

If the weight is dropping off you ‘like no tomorrow’, you are eating nowhere near enough calories.

If you can’t rationalise that lots of running + not eating properly + scared to put on weight = eating disorder territory, the you need to have a long think.

Calorie dense food. Nuts, butter, etc.

And I agree that 55 miles a week is overtraining.

TinyTumble Wed 06-Dec-17 15:09:40

Agree with MaidOfStars. I think you're struggling to up the calories to the level you need and in fact you are continuing to restrict, perhaps even more now you realise that running + calorie restriction= further weight loss. I find it really, really hard to believe that you would 'forget' to have breakfast before a 2.5 hr run. I ran 14m this Saturday and knew I had to build in time to eat before I did anything else (I can and do run up to 12m or so fasted but no further)

And I say this from a place of concern. Everything you've described reminds me painfully of myself some time ago. I didn't pull it back in time and ended up with a significant eating disorder, my periods stopped and I was very ill for a while. My periods never returned and even at a healthy weight I needed IVF to conceive my first child. It took me a long, long time to disentangle running/eating/calories/body image and reconfigure it in a healthy way. Like you I lost weight initially and then got seriously into running and training which is when the problems properly started.

Hopefully you did eat all that pasta and will continue to eat more healthfully - please, please do. And good luck with the marathon!

thunderbrat Wed 06-Dec-17 15:16:01

Chocolate milk is a good recovery drink for the end of a LSR - it's got a decent ratio of protein/carbs, and it's easy to get down if you don't feel like eating straight away. Good luck.

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