Fuelled up: managing your meal plan—and your demons

Categories: Expert guidance

In the run-up to the London marathon, resident expert baker and veteran marathon runner Beca Lyne-Pirkis shares her tips on keeping full and fuelled during training

Running is predominantly a solo sport. You may well train weekly with someone else or belong to a running group, but you have to motivate yourself to go out and run, and to keep on running and keep on pushing yourself to keep your pace, and to keep pushing to get faster.

Motivating yourself to go out on a dark, wet and windy night, or not to drink with your work colleagues after a long and difficult week at work as you have your long run planned for first thing Saturday morning is mentally tough, and often harder than doing the run itself. You may often ask yourself “why am I doing this?”

The lighter mornings and evenings are definitely making it easier for us runners to go out and get another training run under our belts. There are some runners who are able to step out of the door without any fuss or hesitation regardless of the weather, but there are many more who can easily find an excuse or chore that they simply have to do before they do anything else.

Going through the motions
I find that the best thing to do is to not think about it and not have that internal monologue. Just simply put your kit on and step out of the front door—it’s almost like you’re a robot and you’re just going through the motions. Once you’re out and running, you’re fine and you can switch your inner-voice back on again.

If you want to get through the marathon you need to put in the time and, most importantly, the miles now, so that you can enjoy the experience. Another way that helped to motivate me was thinking about how the money I was fundraising was going to help the charity and all its supporters. 

Receiving well wishes from family and friends on my fundraising page was also a good motivator and I would print off the odd page to take with me on long runs, so that if I was finding things difficult then I could walk and read some people’s comments. After laughing and maybe having a little weep, I would be ready to carry on with my run and feel almost rejuvenated.

Plan your meals
Plan your runs for the week ahead, switching the times to fit in with work and other life commitments. It’s also a good idea to plan your meals for the week to fit around your training, too. The most important meals being what will fuel you before your runs and what will refuel you post-training.

I spend the night before preparing a salad to take into work, making sure it has a good balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein to help with energy and muscle development and repair.  I also take in snacks like homemade energy bars or some fruit and nuts to keep me going through the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps.

It may feel like training is taking over your life, especially if this is your first marathon, but when you get a good routine in place, it should feel like second nature and not dominate so much over everything else that you’re doing. Be very, very proud of yourself and keep up the good work—you’re doing something amazing. 

Read Beca’s recipe for chicken satay buddha bowls