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Marathon Training Top Tips

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Marathon Nutrition

Running a marathon is fantastic, but there’s no doubt that it places extra nutritional demands on your body. Putting your body through those 26 and a bit miles warrants a bit of TLC foodwise as you are using up far more nutrients than usual. If you put good fuel in, then it makes sense that your engine will last longer, run smoother and have fewer niggles or breakdowns along the way. If you put poor quality fuel in, then your aches and pains will be greater, you’ll be more prone to injury, and your muscles (and you!) are more likely to fatigue.

Here are my top ten tips for reaching your running potential! Please note that the food advice is very general and may not suit everyone. Our individual requirements can vary enormously.

1. Make sure your muscles have an optimum supply of fuel, especially glycogen. Include lots of low GI meals. This includes meals like chicken, veg and rice, or salmon, green veg and sweet potatoes, or chick pea curry and a salad. If you include some form of protein (animal or veggie source) you will help convert the carb to glycogen.

2. Avoid relying on sugary snacks to up your carb amounts or fuel your training after work. While these give you an instant lift, once you start upping the mileage and running for more than an hour you are likely to crash. Have a low GI snack/small meal a couple of hours before training – eg oatcakes and houmous or avocado, large handful nuts and dried fruit, natural yoghurt and chopped apple.

3. Don’t forget your fruit and veg. Endurance sports increase your need for antioxidants as you will be using these to quench all the free radicals produced in training. They are also needed for your immune and digestive function. A simple way to get them in is to remember the rainbow and have something green, red, purple, orange, yellow at least once, if not twice a day….umm, that’s in the fruit and veg department not M and Ms or Skittles!

4. Increase your supply of essential fats. In times of training we are crying out for good fats to help combat inflammation and improve our recovery. They also help get oxygen to your muscles. Up your oily fish intake and make smoothies with hemp seeds or flax oil. Snack on avocadoes. Add seeds to your porridge and home-made flapjacks. Don’t go for doughnuts, biscuits, fish n chips and other trans fats if you are injured (or not!!) as they encourage inflammation, slow down healing and block the beneficial acts of the good fats!

5. Consider your protein intake. It’s needed to repair and fuel muscles, and to heal injuries. Pasta and tomato sauce is hopeless for repair, but chuck in some chick peas and some other veg and you have a complete meal. Whey, hemp or brown rice protein can be useful additions, especially if vegetarian, but avoid the ones with added sweeteners. And don’t forget to have some form of protein and carb 30 minutes or so after your training.

6. Female runners often have low iron counts. We need adequate iron to transport haemoglobin and get oxygen to our muscles. Lambs liver once a month can do wonders for iron levels (avoid chicken liver unless organic) as can mussels. For veggies it’s harder as non animal iron is harder to absorb, but pulses, nuts and seeds are reasonable sources and have with some vitamin C rich food such as dark green veg .

7. Up your B vitamins. B vits are great suppliers of energy and if you’re stressed or juggling training and work and/or family life, your need will be pretty big! If you’re getting really tired, consider supplementation with a good quality brand, cut back on the refined sugar (this uses B vits up in its metabolism) and increase whole, unprocessed foods such as nuts, seeds, eggs, and fruit and veg.

8. Stay hydrated. We just can’t perform if we’re under-hydrated. A fast runner can lose 2.5 litres of water in an hour, even when it’s cold. And if you’re not fast you’re still going to lose a lot. You should be taking in 400-600ml every hour, breaking it up in 15-20 minute intervals.

9. By all means use isotonic drinks on longer runs as your glycogen stores could do with topping up, but remember we can’t absorb more than 60g glucose per hour. You could have 20g fructose on top of that to give you 80g of available sugars.

10. Look into any digestive issues as if you’re having problems it will prevent absorption and utilisation of all the good stuff you’re putting in. You may want to supplement with some good probiotics to support your digestion and immune system as your training increases.

If you’re a serious athlete I am now doing fascinating DNA testing looking at your individual genes in relation to your sporting potential. You can find out about your recovery times, your tendency for injuries and just how cut out you are for endurance. For more information read here.

For the month of April I am offering £10 off a sports nutrition consultation. Why not get a tailored plan just for you!

DNA Sport


If you’re a competitive athlete this test could be for you!

Find out:
• if you are genetically more suited to endurance or power sports
• how quickly you should recover from training sessions
• your genetic susceptibility to tendon and other soft tissue injuries.

Genetic testing can allow individual athletes to learn more about training patterns that will help you to progress towards your full potential.

To perform well in sport you need:

• to be doing a sport that suits your genetic type
• the right training, nutrition, lifestyle and environmental interactions to optimally express your inherited genes.

Price: £199 including a thorough report by Kate with your results and suggested dietary changes clearly explained.

DNA Oestrogen

This is another in the series of revealing DNA tests I’ve been trained in and am now using in practice this year. This is a particularly interesting one for women, but also for men regarding prostate health.

DNA oestrogen includes 10 genes involved in oestrogen biosynthesis, oestrogen metabolism and liver detoxification pathways.

Oestrogen hormones affect the growth, differentiation and function of a number of target tissues. This test may be of use to women who suffer from possible oestrogen-dominant conditions such as endometriosis, PMS, fibroids, or where there is a family history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. We know that these conditions arise in the presence of excess oestrogen, or oestrogen dominance, when the hormones oestrogen and progesterone may be out of balance. Knowing how we metabolise oestrogen and what foods promote oestrogen production and help prevent its absorption on a cellular level is a useful tool in achieving hormonal health. It may also be interesting where prostate issues are concerned.

Modulation of oestrogen metabolism can be accomplished through dietary and lifestyle modifications.

Price: £199 including a thorough report by Kate with your results and suggested dietary changes clearly explained.

DNA Health

Colorful Medley of Fresh Organic Fruit. Raspberries, blueberries, cherries, lemon, and lime for vibrant colorful display of fresh organic fruit.

This is a great test if you’re looking to optimise energy, wellbeing and health by making better lifestyle and diet choices to suit your indivdual DNA. The test looks at 28 genes involved in 8 key biological processes, which are all key factors in the onset of chronic disease.

• Insulin resistance
• Cholesterol metabolism
• Methylation (primarily concerned with energy production)
• Inflammation
• Bone health
• Iron metabolism
• Detoxification
• Oxidative stress

For example, you could have a SNP that predisposes you to having elevated triglycerides, or a SNP that could result in a slower ability of breaking down certain hormones or one that could encourage inflammatory markers within the body. We could then implement dietary changes that would help to keep these in check. There are positives to be had to, such as a SNP associated with decreased risk of heart disease.

Price: £279 including a thorough report by Kate with your results and suggested dietary changes clearly explained.

DNA Testing – DIET

In January I attended an intensive course in London and am now a certified DNAlife practitioner.  What that means is that I can find out some really interesting things about your health and even sporting potential by looking at your DNA.  Fascinating stuff I can assure you!

These are non-invasive tests that require a swab from the mouth and your DNA is then looked at to see whether it contains any markers (SNPs) that indicate a predisposition towards a behaviour, physical or physiological attribute.

If you’re finding it hard to lose weight the DNA Diet test would tell you whether your genes indicate whether you may be suited more to a low carb or lower fat diet or whether you are easily able to mobilise fat stores for energy.  You can also find out if you are more prone to insulin resistance or whether high physical activity levels may incur less weight loss than expected.

Genes involved in regulation of energy expenditure, appetite and fat metabolism all play an important role in weight regulation. In fact, 40 to 80% of the variance in body weight is due to genetic factors, which helps to explain why some people might become obese in a particular environment while others won’t. Genetics looks at an individual’s susceptibility to obesity when exposed to an unfavourable environment. It also explores how a person responds to diet and exercise.

DNA DIET looks at 13 SNPs that when analysed give information on how an individual’s genetic profile will impact their response to the three most scientifically proven weight loss plans:  low fat, Mediterranean and low carbohydrate.  The results show that there is not a one-size fits all plan and can help determine which of these 3 (or indeed a combination of these 3) ways of eating would help you lose weight healthily and effectively.  From the outcome I can then work with you to devise a suitable plan of action.

Price £199 including test and a thorough written report of all the SNPs for you to understand results.



Top Ten Spring Tips


  1. Have some form of protein at every meal and snack as this gives a more even supply of energy.
  2. Give your body a week off gluten and see how you feel.  Gluten is deemed by some researchers as almost impossible for the human body to digest properly and many symptoms of gluten sensitivity are not linked to digestion.  For your carbs go for sweet potatoes, butternut squash, rice and quinoa.
  3. When you are eating gluten and grains then do of course make sure they are wholegrains, as the white refined stuff contribute to energy dips and have very few nutrients.
  4. Replace sugary snacks with healthy protein choices such as almond butter and chopped carrots, turkey slices and tomatoes, even a hard-boiled egg mid-afternoon.
  5. Minimise caffeine intake as caffeine causes surges in blood sugar levels followed by crashes and consequent low energy.
  6. Look after your stress and thyroid hormone levels.  If you feel burnt out or are constantly on the go, or having difficulty unwinding or sleeping,  ask me about an adrenal stress index test or a thyroid panel, to see what levels these hormones are at.  Addressing any imbalances through your diet and taking targeted supplements could help you find a bit more spring in your step.
  7. Reduce alchohol intake  due to its high sugar content.
  8. Dehydration exhausts the cells so drink enough water and herbal teas.
  9. Include nuts, seeds and oily fish to provide essential fats needed for energy control.  A diet low in these fats could mean you become less sensitive to insulin, so you need to kick more out and your cells eventually respond poorly to what is there resulting in weight gain and energy issues.
  10. Be wary of fruit on its own as a snack as its high in sugar. Bananas, mango and pineapple are very sugary.

And just one more (so really there are 11!)…..breathe, relax and find that “me” time you totally deserve! It’s so important.

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at