How to Train for Marathon Season: Summer

How to Train for Marathon Season: Summer

As the racing season commences, it’s time to put those trusty New Year’s resolutions to the test. There’s hope for all of us, though, as it turns out the complexities of training may be simpler than we thought.

As the proverbial “wall” approaches runners worldwide this summer, it might be too late to reflect on what brought us to that point. So let’s take a moment now to understand why it’s important we train appropriately from the beginning. This way we ensure that when the time comes, no wall will prove too high to climb.

Whether it’s your rookie debut as a marathoner or you already sport the 26.2 sticker on the bumper of your car, everyone’s preparation needs to start with a strict diet and the addition of some key ingredients. In my orthopedic clinic, I advise all of my endurance athletes to take their training seriously and have a plan of attack months in advance. This includes subscribing to organic, non-GMO diets and snacking on healthy probiotic products throughout the day. Eating healthy in the months prior to your race is just as important, if not more so, than your nutritional supplementation during the race. For most of us Modern Humans it’s difficult to find time throughout the day to prepare or eat well-balanced meals. Balancing our daily intake with organic snacks free of genetically modified organisms and a healthy supply of naturally occurring ingredients such as probiotics will help keep our bodies feeling fresh and eager for competition. According to Cara Marrs, R.D. and a nutritionist, runner and race director, “[in runners using probiotic supplements] there’s a huge reduction in mini-sicknesses, the two-day colds and GI bugs that are so common in during a tough training cycle.”1

Cash in with clean organic food on-the-go. 

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) cited there are “serious health risks associated with [genetically modified] food” including immune problems and changes in the gastrointestinal system2 Proven to be just the right micro-organism for the task, probiotics have both immune system3 and gastrointestinal benefits. But how does this help us in our training? As probiotics work to balance our normal gut flora, we are better equipped to digest our meals from earlier in the day. Hence, we feel less bloated and our bodies are allowed to concentrate on activating our muscles instead of our bowels. Additionally, we spend fewer days with nagging illnesses and more nights catching up on much needed rest leaving us more energized and ready for the next training run.

Not everything ‘Healthy’ is meant for you. 

Be cautious of what is sold as a healthy approach to getting fit. Of the many pitfalls one may encounter during training, fad diets set us up for disaster on race day. They are simply tailored for rapid weight loss, not long-term health or endurance, and they rarely incorporate exercise into their regimen. This combination puts athletes at serious risk for injury. My running partner of several years trialed a 3-day juice cleanse and found himself out of competition for 6 months. His depleted energy levels and lack of proper nutrition altered his running stride and he injured himself during a standard training run. Fad diets are known to reduce athletic performance via symptoms of fatigue, decreased energy supplies and endurance, and loss of fluid and electrolytes.4 They only offer short-lived solutions to lifelong problems2 and in many cases cause chronic issues due to acute deviations from proper training techniques.

Take it from me, the “wall” exists and is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t let your poor preparation and lack of proper training get in the way of your finish line. Get the right start and you’ll find yourself sprinting through the finish line.

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  1. Baston, Kelly. Sept 17, 2013. How Probiotics Can Help You Be a Better Runner. Runner’s World. Retrieved from:
    http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-for- runners/how-probiotics-can-help-you-be-a-better-runner
  2. Cleveland Clinic, n.d. Fad Diets. Retrieved from: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/weight_control/hic_fad_diets.aspx
  3. Institute for Responsible Technology, n.d. Healthcare Providers. Retrieved from: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/healthcare-providers
  4. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, n.d. Fad Diets. Retrieved from:
    http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/Pages/fad-diets.aspx

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