How to Kill a Marathon / NN Running Team


Armand works as an exercise nutritionist with many of the top NN running team athletes, including marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

What is important in the daily diet?

It highly depends on individual goals, but protein and fat should be a solid mainstay in the daily routine. Carbohydrates should be properly periodized based on goals (for example, there may be times when upregulation of fat oxidation (how to improve the body’s ability to use fat for fuel) is important, so a decrease in carb intake is necessary. So of course, more general advice: use enough quality produce, avoid processed foods as much as possible, and eat plenty of rainbow-colored vegetables. .

How is nutrition adapted/modified in the weeks leading up to a marathon?

You need to replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores. These processes require about two days of “carbohydrate loading” (so days -2 and -1 before the race). Good sources are rice, pasta, bread, pancakes, raisins, dates, fruits, etc. You need to find the most comfortable products that don’t cause any gastrointestinal stress. It’s really a matter of trial and error.

What is important when it comes to race day nutrition?

Don’t try anything new. Stick to your plan. Have breakfast 2h30-3h before the race with the products that suit you best (and which are the same products as on days -2 and -1). Don’t rush breakfast, take your time. This is an important time for recharging liver glycogen stores and supporting blood glucose levels (when used correctly). Depending on the start of the marathon, if necessary, set up a pre-race snack (when there is too much time between breakfast and the start). Develop your protocol. Comfort is key. Be aware of the weather conditions during the marathon. So, if needed, you can adjust your hydration strategy.

What role does nutrition/drink play both during training and during the marathon?

Know exactly when and where you can take your water bottles during the race. Familiarize yourself with the products used by the organization or prepare your own drinks. Train the intestine in the run-up to the marathon. This means incorporating your own bespoke drinking protocol into training (minimum six to eight weeks before the race). Familiarize yourself with consuming an appropriate amount while running that does not cause any distress. But again, when you want to boost fat oxidation for specific periods of time, you need to train on an empty stomach or at least not supply yourself with carbs during training.

How do supplements come into play with nutrition?

First, a proper basic nutritional plan is crucial. Depending on any suspected deficiencies (nutritional analysis) or specific phases (high volume/intensity), supplements may provide support for specific periods of time (periodization). Of course, blood work can also offer a guide to incorporating specific supplements (eg iron or vitamin D).

What supplements can be useful for athletes?

Personally, I divide products into four categories: basic (eg multivitamin), training and recovery (eg carbs, protein or a combination), blood and immune protection (eg iron, vitamin d, zinc) and performance enhancement . (eg caffeine, creatine, nitrate). So, depending on the individual context, I could advise different types of supplements. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all package. But on average, multivitamins, vitamin D, protein, carbs, and caffeine often show up in the personal plans I write for my elite athletes. When it comes to caffeine, you really have to experiment with the right amount and the right time. The same goes for the carb mix. Try different combinations and find the most comfortable individual combination.

Five Dos and Don’ts – Nutrition

  1. Find out exactly what you want to drink (carb mix and amount) during the marathon and use your training to train. Train the gut!
  2. Find out exactly when you can upregulate fat oxidation. So you can adjust your carb intake accordingly.
  3. Get insights into your weight loss during long runs (30-40km) so you can adjust your personal eating strategy.
  4. Practice breakfast before the race and on race day in combination with long runs. If possible, use the same timeline (breakfast – marathon start) multiple times.
  5. FIND YOUR PERSONAL PROTOCOL on nutrition and hydration, get comfortable with the protocol. It’s not all black and white, don’t copy the elites too much. They probably have a totally different context.

About Keith Johnson

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