Marathon and Half Marathon Nutritional Training Tips

Many are beginning to train for the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll half and full marathon that will take place here in Phoenix in January. Sports dietician Brooke Schohl is sharing some nutritional tips with the Fab AZ readers that will help you get the most out of your training and perform your best on race day.


What are the best foods to eat before a long training run (over an hour)?

  • A high carbohydrate meal or snack should be consumed pre-run (the amount of food consumed depends on when the training session is taking place). This tops off carbohydrate stores before activity, translating to increased energy!
    • Meal ideas – peanut butter & banana bagel / steel cut oats with brown sugar, peaches, & walnuts / hummus, cucumber, and feta on a whole wheat pita
    • Snack ideas – fig newtons and a banana / a Clif Bar / Greek yogurt and mixed berries

What are the best foods to eat after a long training run (over an hour)?

  • A 4:1 ratio snack of carbohydrate-to-protein is ideal (4 grams of carb to 1 gram of protein) – should be consumed within 30 minutes of training session conclusion. Carbohydrate replenishes depleted glycogen stores; protein rebuilds and repairs muscles.
    • Snack ideas – recovery drinks such as chocolate milk, smoothie made with fresh fruit, ice, and milk or yogurt, protein bar, wheat thins & a string cheese, banana & peanut butter

What are the best drinks to refuel after a long run (over an hour)?

  • Chocolate milk – 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate-to-protein (replenishes lost nutrients)
  • Water – important to re-hydrate after long training sessions
  • A sports drink – replenishes lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium)

Is it important to run with water?

  • Yes – we live in Arizona! Drinking water consistently throughout a workout assists in preventing dehydration. However, do not go overboard- recommendation is 20-24 ounces per hour.

What are the best foods to eat the night before and morning of a race?

  • Night before – a balanced meal with a quality carbohydrate source, low fiber, low fat, high fluids
    • Grilled salmon, baked sweet potato, and spinach salad
    • Whole grain pasta, ground turkey, tomato sauce, and asparagus
  • Morning of – carbohydrate rich meal (see meal ideas before a long training run), low fiber, low fat, fluids

What are the best foods to eat after a race?

  • 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate-to-protein recovery foods (see best foods to eat after a long training run); after consuming snack immediately post-race, continue to refuel with a larger meal

Are there any common nutritional mistakes that runners make?

  • Not eating breakfast!
  • Not drinking adequate fluids during training session or race (consume 20-24 oz fluid for every pound of weight lost)
  • Excessive carb-loading pre-race
  • Not eating during training run or race over 60 minutes in length

About Brooke Schohl, MS, RD
Brooke Schohl, MS, RD grew up in Paradise Valley and attended high school in Scottsdale. Brooke holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Arizona State University as well as two Bachelor’s Degrees (Communication & Nutrition). She worked in pharmaceuticals for several years after obtaining her first degree, but resigned in 2007 to pursue her dream of becoming a sports dietitian.

In the summer of 2007, a friend proposed the idea of registering for an October Olympic-distance triathlon in Tempe, Arizona. Brooke agreed – though she was not a swimmer, a cyclist, or a runner, to say the least. This first race began her love affair with triathlon. Since 2007, she has completed more than 25 races of varying distances including 6 70.3 races, Ironman Arizona & Ironman Florida. Next on the agenda will be Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2014.

Destination Kona Triathlon Store originated as a result of Brooke’s two passions – nutrition and triathlon. She incorporates her expansive nutrition knowledge, excellent writing and interpersonal skills, and significant triathlon experience into an unforgettable retail and endurance nutrition coaching experience for her triathletes. Beginning as an online retailer, Destination Kona will be expanding to a North Scottsdale retail location this fall.

Ryan, M (2007). Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. Boulder, Colorado: VeloPress.

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