Teaching your body to burn fat for fuel during marathon training means you are able to spare glycogen, and will be less likely to ‘hit the wall” or “bonk” during the latter half of the race.
Here are a few marathon training tips to rev up your fat burning engine:
- Long, slow runs. These will help to burn fat for fuel during marathon training as your body relies more heavily on fat for energy during long duration, low intensity exercise.
- Run in a fasting state. By that I don’t mean starve yourself for days and then run, but a pre-breakfast run should be part of your training at least once a week. Your glycogen stores are slightly depleted when you wake in the morning, so if you run pre breakfast, your body will turn to fat for fuel. Try having a light evening meal the day before a pre-breakfast run for greater effect. If you’re not used to doing this, you may struggle at first, so start with some shorter runs, and build up to longer runs in a fasted state. I find low to medium intensity training is fine pre-breakfast, but I personally struggle too much with higher intensity workouts. I don’t feel the quality is there if I’m not fueled.
- Burn fat by eating fat. Your body is actually more likely to burn fat for fuel during marathon training if you have a small amount of fatty acids in your bloodstream, so eating a small amount of fat before your workout will help to initiate fat burning. Perhaps just a few nuts and seeds, or some avocado, about an hour before you set off on your run.
I’d love to hear how you go with pre-breakfast runs. They can take a bit of getting used to.