• Helen Phillips

Eat for energy and success!


A few years back if you were training for an endurance race, such as a half or full marathon, carbs were king. Us marathon runners, we loaded up on massive plates of carbs at every opportunity, without a second thought!

Pasta was just perfect!

As a nutrition coach working with runners, to get their diets back on track for weightloss and training, these days I'm more likely to see CARB PHOBIC CLIENTS LACKING IN ENERGY, MOTIVATION AND MORALE than runners who are piling up too much pasta on their plates.

Carbs are now the enemy and sugar detoxes are now the thing!

But when you're training for a marathon or half your body NEEDS CARBS for energy. Yes you can train your body to burn fat for fuel. But training in a carb depleted keto state is hard ... and I don't know about you ... I'd rather train easy!

Lots of people believe that carbohydrates are fattening and sugar is addictive, but 1g or carbs actually contains about half the calories of 1g of fat! Instead, it's the fats that are added to our favourite carb treats and dishes that increase calorie count and the combination of carbs and fats in sugary treats that we 'see' as addictive (there is no scientific evidence that backs up the belief that carbs are addictive).

Eat too much of any food and you'll pile on the pounds!

But carbs are really important for us runners, as we NEED CARBS TO BURN AS FUEL TO POWER OUR TRAINING.

Yes, we're training to run a marathon and to do that we need to get our bodies trained to burn fat as fuel. But our bodies biochemistry is such, that you will NEED CARBS TO BURN FAT ... it's a simple (actually rather complex, but I dont want to bore you with science) chemistry equation

CARBS + FAT = ENERGY

🧀 Yes you can train your body to be more efficient to burn fat as fuel. 🍗 Yes lots of marathon and ultra runners have a ketogenic diet (with very very low amounts of carb in their diets) 🥩 Yes you can go keto too!

But unless you want to change up your diet completely and miss out on all the great foods, meals and nutrition that carbohydrates, fruits and whole-grains bring to your diet, then you need to be eating good quality carbs to give you energy.

Training for a marathon and eating healthy is hard enough for most people ... throw in 'taking out carbs' to the mix and most people just give up!

So todays tip, if you're training for an endurance race, such as a half or full marathon, make sure you're including quality carbs in your diet, plenty of starchy whole-grains and vegetables, rather than foods containing refined sugars.

What's so great about starchy whole-grains?

Starchy carbohydrates fill you up and provide energy, so should be included in every meal and eaten as snacks. Starchy carbs are broken down in the body to simple sugars and provide the body with fuel.

The best types of starchy carbs to eat are whole-grains (rather than refined grains ... yes I realise I have a pic of processed pasta in this post) as they contain heaps of great vitamins a minerals (B vitamins, calcium and iron), as well as more fibre which is essential for good gut health.

So what do you suggest I eat?

For breakfast eat wholegrain cereals, porridge or oats, for lunch you could have a pasta or rice dish, or a baked potato with the skin on for added fibre and make sure you're eating a portion of starchy carbs for your main evening meal.

So let's get eating carbs for energy!

If you need to tune up your diet for your training take a look at Eat Right for Running my nutrition coaching programme designed to help you transform your training for goos!

And if you're training for a marathon this spring, I've just launched Eat Right for Your Marathon. 10 weeks of online coaching to get you in shape, ready and prepared to run the race of your dreams.

Click here to tune up your diet for training with Eat Right for Running.

Click here to get in shape and ready to run your marathon with Eat Right for Your Marathon