Science In Sport Ambassador and Performance Chef Alan Murchison provides us with top recipes to take your performances to the next level.
Marathon Training: Eat to Perform!
To really get the most out of your marathon training, it’s important that your food choices match your training load. Every training session you do should have a purpose, whether that is to build endurance, push up your speed or aid recovery and it’s important that you think of food in the same way; if you’re running hard or long, this will cause muscle damage and deplete glycogen stores hence the type of meal you have should reflect this.
IMPORTANCE OF CARBOHYDRATE
Carbohydrate is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen. The higher the intensity of exercise, the greater amount of glycogen is used for fuel. For exercise of all intensities, ensuring you start with sufficient fuel will help you perform at your best. If glycogen stores are fully depleted, this causes a reduction in endurance and sprint performance, loss of skill execution and impaired decision-making. Consuming appropriate carbohydrate before and during exercise are both strategies used to delay fatigue and improve performance.
If you’re struggling to hit your target run pace it’s usually down to one of 3 things:
- Under/over fuelled
- Over trained
The first two are hugely down to what you eat, so here are some good ideas to help you eat for success during your marathon training.
FUEL FOR YOUR RUN – BREAKFAST IDEAS
Often deemed the most important meal of the day, and if you’re out to run hard, then it certainly is!
Here’s three different breakfasts depending on the intensity of your run.
LOW INTENSITY TRAINING DAY:
BLUEBERRY YOGHURT SMOOTHIE
Packed with nutritional value and ready in two minutes.
- 100g frozen blueberries
- 200ml non sweetened almond milk
- 100g low fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
Method: Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
This smoothie can easily be turned into a prefect post run recovery smoothie by adding 50g of SiS REGO Rapid Recovery vanilla, if you do this, ensure you increase milk content to 350ml
Good old fashioned porridge is as good as anything; it’s easy to digest and really simple to make, this is one of my favourite recipes:
MIXED BERRY PORRIDGE
- 50g oats
- 200ml water
- 75g of frozen mixed berries
- 1 tbsp of Greek yoghurt
- Sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
- Manuka honey (optional)
Method: Mix oats with water in a pan and heat, allow to simmer to thicken. When almost ready (4-5 mins over a medium heat) stir in frozen mixed berries and simmer gently. Top with Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast add some good quality Manuka honey.
HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING DAYS
These are perfect for fuelling a hard training day where you are either introducing intensity or volume. You can hugely increase calorie & protein intake by varying the topping, add some low fat Greek yoghurt and banana for lighter option or go with chopped nuts, full fat yoghurt and maple syrup/Manuka honey for a very different type of breakfast. The choices are almost endless.
Ingredients (makes 6 – 3 per serving):
- 4 eggs
- 250ml milk
- 230g gluten free, self-raising flour
- Handful of seeds / raisins
Method: Whisk all ingredients together. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan. When the pan is hot add a ladle of the batter (approx. 125ml), allow to cook to golden brown on each side (should only take a minute or two!) Three of these with toppings of your choice will set you up for a great day of running!
The “30 minute window”
It is accepted that you should take on nutrition within 30 minutes of finishing tough exercise, as this is the time when your metabolism remains lifted and your body is more susceptible to absorbing and using nutrients. The key concept behind this theory is ‘kick starting’ muscle protein synthesis and helping to restore muscle glycogen levels so that you can go again. Taking on a quality source of protein and carbohydrate immediately post-exercise is ideal. REGO Rapid Recovery provides the ideal recovery formula, when a full meal may not be available. It is suggested that a full, carbohydrate/ protein based meal should be taken within 1 hour of finishing exercise.
LOW INTENSITY TRAINING DAY:
On lighter days it’s all about refuelling without loading up with unnecessary calories, and it’s a great opportunity to load up on some good fats.
POACHED EGGS ON TOAST
Put simply, nothing beats classic eggs on toast. I’ve included some good options below to help add deliciousness as well as extra nutritional value.
- 2-3 eggs
- Option: one medium avocado crushed with dash of olive oil, white wine vinegar & seasoning, nice with linseed and sunflower/pumpkin seeds.
- If hungry or fatigued add 50-100g of smoked salmon / smoked bacon or good quality cooked ham
Method: Crack eggs into a separate bowl (ensure yoke remains intact). Boil a shallow pan of water with a dash of vinegar, once bubbling, reduce to medium heat and create a swirl in the water, add eggs gently. Cook for roughly three minutes and remove from pan, dabbing off any excess water. Serve with hot toast and serve as one of the options above for a high protein meal with good fats!
MEDIUM LOAD TRAINING DAY
SPICED CHICKEN with QUINOA, MANGO & POMEGRANATE SALAD
This is still a light meal but it contains a good balance of carbs & protein and it’s easy to make!
Ingredients (serves two):
- 250g pre-cooked quinoa
- 8 chicken mini fillets (approx.. 200g of chicken per person, marinated in cajun or BBQ spices)
- Salad: 1/2 cucumber, 2 tomatoes, 50g green beans, 50g mange tout.
- Salsa: 1 ripe mango, pack of pre prepared pomegranate, small bunch of fresh mint & fresh coriander
- Dressing,1 tbsp fish sauce,1 tsp soy sauce,1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Baby spinach
- Chopped cashews.
Method: Combine cooked quinoa with the dressing and salad ingredients. Make salsa by dicing one large mango and mixing with one pomegranate & chopped fresh mint and coriander. Dice 200g of chicken per person and mix with Cajun seasoning and olive oil, the grill. Combine the quinoa salad, salsa and spiced chicken. Serve on top of a bed of baby spinach and finish by sprinkling with chopped cashews. Can be served warm or at room temperature & makes amazing lunch.
Hard training days will require complex carbs and protein, to ensure glycogen stores are full and protein is available for any muscle maintenance.
GRILLED SALMON WITH FRESH ASPARAGUS, PEA, MINT & BASIL RISOTTO
Ingredients (Serves 2 – with a good portion of risotto left for lunch!):
- 200g of risotto rice
- 600ml of stock, chop
- 1 onion
- 25g butter
- 300g frozen peas (defrosted)
- 2 salmon fillets
- Bunch of Asparagus
Method: Chop the onion and cook in 25g of butter until soft, add the rice and cook over a medium heat for a further 2 minutes, add the stock and simmer for 16-18 minutes until liquid has absorbed & rice is soft. Season the salmon and set under the grill once rice has been cooking for at least 10 minutes (should only take 6-8 minutes to cook under a high heat grill). In a food processor blend 300g of defrosted frozen peas with good dash of olive oil, salt & pepper. Once risotto is cooked, stir in pureed pea mix and another 100g of peas, add fresh mint and basil correct seasoning and serve with grilled salmon & fresh asparagus. Substitute asparagus with broccoli if you can’t get it or have both, you can’t have too much green veg in your life! This risotto also works really well with grilled lamb chops.
Read the article here