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How to Eat Better, Run Faster and Ace your Garmin Marathon

Nutritionist Adele Wong (right) is the best person to tell you what to eat before and after a marathon. (Adele Wong)

In the run up to Garmin Marathon this weekend, we spoke to some Garmin Ambassadors to pick their brain and get some tips to eat better, run faster and ace your run!

Who better to ask ‘What to eat?’ than nutritionist and dietician, Adele Wong from Nutrition Track. Adele will be running the 10km race at the Garmin Marathon. Besides her day job, Adele also coaches F45 Training gym focusing on a functional full body workout to improve energy levels, metabolic rate, strength, and endurance.

Good news – Carbo-loading is a myth!

Well, for most average Joe and weekend warrior runners, you do not need to load up as you will not be draining your glycogen supply as quickly as professional or elite runners. However, if you’re an advanced runner running the marathon at high intensity, then you should start your carbo-loading sessions two days before the actual race.

Adele Wong giving advice on nutrition during the fasting month. (Adele Wong)

What should you eat before a marathon?

  • Key advice: Don’t try any NEW food, gels or drinks in 3 days leading up to race day.
  • Pay attention to FOOD QUALITY; minimise processed food.
  • You can eat anything but you need to know how to fit food into your own diet.
  • If you’re not used to eating fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, do not load up in the week up to race day. This is to avoid gastrointestinal distress – feeling like you have residue or ‘leftover food’ in your stomach.

What to eat after a marathon?

The nutritionist in Adele will advocate that most average Joes can just go back to their usual diets after a marathon. Perhaps, just add on a little bit more carbohydrates, protein and coconut water to replenish your body.

Mohd Affindi’s passion for running started since his schooling days. (Fiz Said)

Mohamad Affindi Nudin recently ran a 03:05:37 marathon at the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon, so he definitely knows a thing or two about nutrition. To fuel his full marathon race, the Sarawakian brings 3 carbohydrate gels and eats one every 10-11km to maintain his energy.

A physical education coach for the army based in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, Affindi conducts coaching clinics occasionally, but mostly one-on-one with clients. To learn how to run fast and increase your speed, he advises to focus on workouts and training on the track. However, this last week before the Garmin Marathon is not the time to do so, as you should taper your training and rest sufficiently.

Mohd Affindi is fast both on the road and trails! (Affindi Nudin)

Affindi has been very passionate about running since his schooldays and has moved to running long distance over the years. He’s been very actively racing ultramarathons in overseas trail running races in Indonesia and Vietnam this year, besides running local road marathons in Terengganu, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. Recently, he won first place in the Action Asia Janda Baik 50km race and has been rewarded with a trip to race with the world’s best at the Asian Skyrunning Championship in Hong Kong in December.

Karen Siah warms up to a marathon with 3.8km swim and 180km cycle! (Fiz Said)

Kia Kaha Fitness Founder Karen Siah not only runs marathons, but she has also completed 2 IRONMAN triathlons which require you to ‘warm up’ with a 3.8km swim and 180km cycle before running 42km in the single day race.

Such sage advice, the Fitness Coach suggests to book a massage after running a marathon!

If you’re time deprived like Karen – who also juggles duties of a mother – she advocates stretching out all those tired muscles for about 20 minutes. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds to make it more effective. It will make you feel better and prevent injury so that you can perform better in your training or next race.

Book a massage after your run – sage advice from Karen Siah. (Facebook/ImDavid)

How soon should you start training again after a marathon?

It varies from person to person, and resting is also part of training. Karen generally advise people to take 4-5 days off from running, and do other forms of leisure activities like easy swimming, or yoga or just walking in the park to recover. Even when you decide to start training again after 5 days, Karen would advise you against going too hard too soon. Take it easy and build from base again instead.

You always remember your first, as does Karen with her first marathon at the KL Marathon in 2004.

“I told everyone that I wanted to finish it in 4 hours, and finished the race in 4 hours plus 56 minutes.” Karen said with a laugh.

All these advice should enable you to set your best foot forward at the Garmin Marathon this weekend. One last advice from Karen, respect the distance!