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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

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Fitness Consultant


Marathon Training and eating

Hi, I am currently training for a half marathon and during some session I am burning 500- 800 calories and which will increase in the next few weeks. My question is how many of those calories can I add back into my daily allowance - as with this intense training I need to recover . Thank you :)


Our expert says...

Hi there,

Thanks for your question.

As you’ve recognised, when you are training for an endurance event it’s really important to make sure you’re getting enough calories not only to perform in the run, but also to recover properly afterwards.

The first thing I would suggest changing your activity levels to reflect the fact that you are increasing your activity. This will give you a few more calories to play with. In addition, when you have had a heavy training session it is worth adding some extra calories in to ensure proper recovery. It’s going to be a case of trial and error unfortunately because your weight loss may not keep on a steady slope as your muscle mass increases.

To change your activity levels, click on 'My Profile' followed by the 'Personal Details' tab below. Once amended, click on the green 'Update' button to save and for your calorie allowance to be recalculated.

I would suggest that you start by ‘eating back’ 1/3 to ½ of the calories that you are burning in any session, so 150-200 if you burn 400 calories. Choose healthier snacks where possible, and try and find things that are rich in protein. Milk and dairy are actually really good recovery foods and there has been quite a lot of research showing the positive benefits of drinking chocolate milkshake after an endurance run of an hour or more!

So over the course of the next few weeks, up your overall calorie intake by changing your settings, and then eat an extra calorie and protein rich snack or meal following training to aid recovery (but only eat back 1/3 to ½ of those burned). Keep an eye on your weight loss, your energy levels and your hunger levels and adjust accordingly.

Feel free to get back in touch at any point should you have any further questions.

Good luck with the training


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