• Helen Phillips

5 Marathoner Meal Mistakes that Make You Eat More

You’ve running a marathon. Whoop Whoop Yippee! This will be your first and it’s your dream … to prove ‘THEM’ wrong, and run the race.

You know there’s lots of work ahead of you. You know it’s going to be tough at times, but YOU GOT THIS! You know you’re going to stretched for time and be burning through a ton of calories. You don’t know how that’s gonna pan out, but for now, you continue eating ‘HEAD IN THE SAND’ ... you'll worry about time, calories and food next year.

But Surely Training for a Marathon is a Great Excuse to Eat?

You’re going to be running, working hard and burning through more calories than ever … so surely IT’S GLOVES OFF FINGERS IN ALL THE FOOD TIME TO PIG OUT ON PIES, open season to eat!

Nope! Nadda! No way Jose!

Not getting your nutrition right, detoxing and dieting and forgetting about fuelling are sure-fire ways to screw up your training and maybe even race-day itself.

And if you’re a tad tubby and need to lose a little lard … and you were hoping to do this from training, I have news for you.

In a US study of charity marathon runners, JUST 11% LOST WEIGHT, over the course of their 16 week marathon training programme.


11% of those runners PUT ON POUNDS … despite training … despite long runs and hard workouts … despite WANTING TO GET IN SHAPE for their marathon !

If you're planning to train for a marathon anytime soon take note of my 5 Marathoner Meal Mistakes that Make You Eat More so you don't make the same mistakes in your training.

Mistake #1: Over Estimate Effort

Yes you’re doing more exercise. Yes you’re burning more calories. But NO that doesn’t mean you can eat ALL THE FOOD!

As a rule of thumb, you burn about 100 calories for every mile you run. The number of calories burnt depends upon your weight (if you’re heavier you’re burning more per mile), speed (run faster and you’ll be burning more and increasing your metabolism for continued burn for a number of hours), terrain (if you’re running uphill you burn more ‘fighting gravity’ and on grass and gravel footpaths you burn more from a less springy surface) and weather (running into the wind you’ll burn more!)

On your weekly LONG RUN you’re likely to burn through a ton of calories (more on that later), but mid week runs are likely to be much shorter and you’ll also have rest days.

So overall, the number of calories you need to consume over the course of a week is not likely to be significantly different than before you started training, especially if you were already reasonably fit and active.

And the calories you’ve burnt definitely won’t compensate from LOADING YOUR PLATE WITH SUPER-SIZED MEALS EACH DAY!

Over estimating the number of calories burned and loading up at meal times is one of the easiest ways MARATHON RUNNERS PUT ON WEIGHT TRAINING

Mistake #2: Reward for Running

It’s confirmed … YOU’RE A SUPER STAR! Strava, Twitter and Facebook are going mad … Kudos and Likes … they’re lovin’ todays run!

You DESERVE … YOU DESERVE A REWARD … For your achievement and the hard work you’ve put in TODAY! And EVERY DAY!

If your favourite reward is food, you reach for food to reward yourself for a job well done … A RUN WELL RUN … each and every time you’re done and if that REWARD isn’t a NUTRITIONALLY SOUND choice of food, laden with sugar, fat, salt and calories, then REWARD FOR RUNNING can also help you PUT ON WEIGHT TRAINING.

Eat for run recovery, but just be careful about what you eat and reward yourself for running.

Mistake #3: Daft Detoxes and Diets

You’ve been training hard for months … eating ‘well’ (Mistake #1) and giving yourself small ‘treats’ for motivation after your hard runs (Mistake #2)

It’s a few months out from race day and … YOU’RE IN NEED OF NEW KIT … Supersizing your food has led you to need SUPERSIZED LYCRA and you’re BUSTING OUT OF YOUR SPORTS BRA!


Severely curbing your calorie intake through training, at peak training weeks, will do as much damage to your marathon training preparations, as loading up on too much of the wrong foods does.


When you drastically limit the number of calories you consume (let’s forget you’re marathon training and need energy for fuel … let’s just assume you’re a normal person for a minute!), since you’re not feeding your body many carbohydrates and calories (which it needs to burn for energy to carry out normal body functions … like breathing, for your heart to beat and your brain to function) it has to use glycogen (the body stores carbohydrate as glycogen for use later) to fuel these functions.

The thing is … WATER IS STORED ALONGSIDE GLYCOGEN IN THE BODY. So when your body uses up glycogen to fuel your regular body functions, you’ll also lose water and it's WATER THAT IS LARGELY THE WEIGHT-LOSS YOU EXPERIENCE!

And guess what … Since your body will be using what glycogen it has to keep your heart beating, your brain functioning and doing everything else that keeps you alive, there WON’T BE MUCH LEFT TO FUEL YOUR RUNNING.

So try running, keeping up your hard marathon training programme, on a detox or diet is likely to lead to disaster. Just at the point in your plan that training get’s intense and your runs ramp up, you’re dieting, taking away your running fuel source.

Just don’t do it!


Mistake #4: Can’t Cut the Crap

When you’re training for a marathon you’re putting your body through immense stress and strain, day in day out, week in week out.


Your body NEEDS NUTRIENTS and in greater amounts when you’re marathon training.

If you’re not used to eating a balanced healthy diet, and you’re reliant on processed foods, ready meals, takeaways, sweets, cakes and treats you’re be missing out on great meals and necessary nutrition.

Processed foods, ready meals, takeaways, sweets, cakes and treats are often HIGH IN SUGAR, FAT AND SALT to make them palatable and tasty. They’re often low in good nutrition, low in vitamins, minerals and fibre which are essential to OVERALL GOOD HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

Marathon training is the time to CUT THE CRAP … and FOCUS ON REAL FOOD FOR FITNESS!

Mistake #5: Pig Out On Too Much Pasta

When you’re marathon training you need the mindset of an athlete and you need to think of your body as the engine that’s going to power you around the course on race day.


So just to make sure you eat ... and eat ... and eat ... AND EAT! Pile up your plate with pasta, pig out on pizza and paella.

Yes you need to be EATING MORE CARBS, but that doesn't mean EATING FOR TWO! Eating more than your body needs is an easy way to put on weight whilst training.

So now you know the typical mistakes that new runners make with their nutrition and you're worried that this'll be you, why don't you join my Eat Right for Running programme.

We'll talk tips to tune up your diet and talk about taking your training to the next level.

Click HERE to join NOW!