Food crucial for marathon fuel - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Food crucial for marathon fuel

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The marathon finish from 2014. (WFSB file photo) The marathon finish from 2014. (WFSB file photo)

As thousands of runners prepare to take part in one of the capital city’s largest events, eating the right food can be crucial for fuel and recovery.

The Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon is Saturday.

Experts say runners don’t want to eat too much before a big run or they might feel sluggish.

Before they take their marks, runners may want to load up on carbohydrates the night before a big race. Still, the intake should be limited.

“Just having something about the size of your fist of pasta is plenty of energy the night before,” said James McKirdy, a running coach.

Before the race, McKirdy said it’s important to have a healthy breakfast, something like oatmeal.

“So have what you would normally eat for breakfast about 2 hours ahead of time and that should be enough to handle the 5K events,” he said.

For someone running the half or full marathon, it’s different.

“For some, it could take 2 hours, for others it would take 5 to 6 hours so that requires a lot of time and energy,” McKirdy explained.

McKirdy suggested talking with a coach about specifics, but he suggested eating while running.

“Make sure you're eating every 25 to 30 minutes in the race itself to provide you with enough energy to last you that 4 or 5 or 6 hours you're going to be on your feet,” he said.

After the race, runners should avoid drinks with high amounts of sugar.

“Something like chocolate milk is a fantastic recovery drink,” McKirdy suggested. “It's got 4 carbs to every one gram of protein and that's a great formula for muscle recovery as well as some sugar back in your system.”

Runners also shouldn’t forget to hydrate by drinking plenty of water both before the race and after they’re done.

For more on the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon, click here.

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