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Marathon Walking to Lose Weight: Nutrition

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 1/20/2009

A common misconception about marathon walking is that it is much easier than running. However, because walking takes longer than running, marathon walkers will be out on the pavement much longer during training and on race day. With this in mind, be sure to properly fuel and hydrate.

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    Carb Up

    The key to proper fueling is to develop enough glycogen (starch that easily converts to glucose) for the body to break apart to use as fuel. However, because you are also trying to manage your weight, take special care not to overdose on carbohydrates to achieve your results. Be sure that whatever you choose to eat fits into a sound eating plan, taking into account calories expended each day for your training. In training, it is essential to fuel up about an hour into training, then for every subsequent 15 minutes. Favorite fuel sources among walkers include gummy bears, orange slices or performance enhancing snacks such as energy rich jelly beans. The day before the race should be spent loading up on carb-rich foods such as pasta and bagels.

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    Protein

    Ensure that you have enough protein necessary to help your body rebuild its muscles. You don't necessarily need to load up on protein powders or power bars unless you believe you are lacking enough protein in your diet. Bottled protein water is another way to get in protein, however the best way is naturally through the whole foods you should be eating. Nuts, avocados, skim cheese, legumes and lean meats and poultry are all excellent sources of protein.

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    Hydration

    Proper hydration is essential to optimum performance. Always be sure to get in your six to eight glasses a day. In addition, be sure to carry water via a hydration belt, or make sure your training site will have water stops. A good rule of thumb is to drink two glasses of water about an hour before training. During training, be sure to drink one more cup every 15 to 30 minutes. Electrolyte-rich sports drinks are good to have on hand, especially for the longer workouts, but be sure that your primary form of hydration is water.

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