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Professor of Sport at the University of Bedfordshire.
A keen runner, JB has completed the London Marathon on 15 occasions, as well as numerous half marathons and shorter distance races. He advises at the London Marathon Expo helping runners on all aspects of training, preparation and race day strategies, and has presented at many London Marathon "Meet the Experts" Conferences. John writes a monthly column for Running Fitness Magazine, and is a regular contributor to Trail Running Magazine.
Fuelling your half marathon training is as important as fuelling race day. The training miles that you will cover over the next weeks and months use energy, (for most people just over 100 calories per mile), so your nutritional strategy to support your training is a crucial part of getting fit to complete a half marathon. Each training mile needs energy, which comes from the body's limited stores of carbohydrate (glycogen), so making sure that you eat plenty of carbs on a daily basis is vital. These can include starch base foods, such as bread, cereal, rice, potatoes and pasta, as well as some sugary foods such as jam, honey and marmalade. Rehydrating after training is also important, since sweat rates of 1-2 litres an hour are common, even on colder days, which can quickly lead to a decrease in performance.
Start the race properly fueled and hydrated. The 13.1 mile distance will need around 1500 calories of energy to get from the start to the finish, and this should be achievable with the carbohydrate (glycogen) stores that you have, providing these stores are full when you stand on the start line. Unlike a marathon, where “hitting the wall” and running out of carbs is the big fear, this shouldn't happen in a half marathon.
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