My approach to marathon training wasn’t just about running. I approached it holistically and tried to make changes in all areas of my life, from how much sleep I was getting to what I was eating.
I worked out a diet plan with help from my personal trainer. It required some quite significant changes but the results were amazing.
My previous diet was usually based around:
- Breakfast – porridge or granola
- Lunch – white bread and cheese sandwich
- Evening meal – pasta, or beans on toast, or casserole
- Snacks – cakes, yoghurts, chocolate bars, some fruit, lots of tea and coffee
I thought this diet was okay – maybe a bit too much sugar but nothing too hideous.
My new diet looked like this:
- Breakfast – porridge or wholemeal bagels and honey, banana
- Lunch – couscous and mackerel, chicken salad wraps
- Evening meal – wholemeal pasta or chicken, rice and vegetables
- Snacks – fruit, yoghurt, one cup of coffee a day and then fruit tea
The initial change was stupendous. I had a couple of woozy days as my caffeine and sugar intake reduced, but after that I found I had much more stable energy to use for longer as I wasn’t peaking and troughing. I also slept much better. I was eating a lot so I didn’t feel like I was being cheated or starved, and I still ate out one night a week with wine if I wanted it.
My weight went up when I was marathon training but I wasn’t too worried about it – since the marathon finished 2kg has just fallen off. In the week after the marathon I ate horrendously, but I’m getting back to a happy medium now. Basing all meals around a mix of protein, carbs and veggies is a simple way to get what you need – and get to the right weight for you. It’s surprising how much fuel you need when you’re training, and I think the number one top tip is don’t be hungry!