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Excelsior Training and Nutrition Tips


A Marathon Training Plan Overview - The basics of every plan

Base Mileage –Most beginners are running 3-5 x a week to prepare the body for the rigors of training for a distance event. By establishing a solid training base, you reduce your risk for a training injury or setback.

  • Long Run – This run  typically represents 20% of your weekly mileage and is completed once each week.

    • Follow the 10% rule – be wary of increasing your mileage by more than 10% a week. Increases over 10% per week increase your risk for injury.

    • Find a running partner –long runs can get lonely! Having a running partner for the whole time or even part of the time can make it more enjoyable.

    • Plan your route - Map my Run is a great tool to help you with distances and keeping you on track.  This can also help you plan your hydration, food, and your bathroom stops.

    • Pace calculator - Another great tool to help you target your race and training pace.

    • Pace training is a type of interval run which challenges you to maintain your race pace over a specific period of time or distance.

  • Rest – Rest is a necessary component of training. Your body needs time to recover from the stresses you are placing on it. Rest days are essential to any effective training program.

  • Taper – Mentally, this may be a challenge. The fear of not being ready for race day because training has slowed down is a real fear. However, physically and mentally it is preparing you to run the race you have trained for.  Trust your plan and trust yourself

Remember, listen to your body, trust your training program, run and have fun!


What should I be eating to improve my performance and overall health?

As a distance runner, nutrition plays a crucial role in providing the body with the appropriate energy required to meet exercise demands. 

Having a better understanding of the nutritional requirements of a distance runner will assist in personal progress and aid in overall health throughout the season and year-round. 

This is not the time to be counting calories!  Total calories should not be restricted in any way: 

When in doubt, eat!  The following information will provide the distance runner with a nutritional foundation to perform and train at his or her best.

Nutrition for a distance runner can be described best when broken down by macronutrient.  Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.


Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and for the avid distance runner should represent approximately 55-60% of the athletes’ nutritional composition. 

The typical intake of carbohydrates is 4-5 grams/kg/day, but a distance runner should aim to consume approximately 7-10 grams/kg/day to ensure endurance needs are met.  Carbohydrates can be broken down further into simple and complex carbohydrates.  Simple carbohydrates often contain a lot of sugar and should be avoided in a distance runner’s diet. 

Examples of simple carbohydrates are: 

  • soft drinks

  • candy bars

  • pastries.

Keep in mind, some foods with high sugars should be consumed in a distant runners diet – such as:

  • bananas

  • apples

  • oranges

  • raisins.

Alternatively, distance runners should focus on providing the body with a good source of complex carbohydrates like grains, breads, vegetables and beans.  Complex carbohydrates are stored within the liver and muscles, to be used for energy when called upon during bouts of high intensity exercise.


Protein contributes to energy both at rest and during exercise, however only a very small percentage of protein is expended while exercising.  Protein plays a key role in supplying blood sugar when exercise duration increases and stored complex carbohydrate levels fall. 

The typical intake of proteins is .8 grams/kg/day, but a distance runner should aim to consume 1.2-1.4 grams/kg/day

The increase in protein consumption is especially important during the first 3-6 months of training to coincide with strength training.  Strength training aside, this increase in protein will also aid in microtrauma healing associated with endurance training. 

Despite the increased demand for proteins, distance runners should be cautioned to maintain a protein composition of 20-25% of one’s daily intake and not allow protein intake to displace carbohydrate intake. 

Dietary protein can be found in many different kinds of foods – such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, nut butters and milk.


Fat is the final macronutrient essential to distance running and should only account for approximately 20% of the athlete’s total nutritional composition. 

Fat is an energy source used through a wide range of exercise intensities and is found to be increased after about 15-20 minutes of exercise.  As exercise intensity and duration continue to increase the body will limit the amount of fat used for energy and stored complex carbohydrates begin to take on the main energy source once again. 

Very low to moderate intake of fats has shown no performance benefit and athletes should not restrict fat within their diets.  Other than meeting energy needs, fat maintains body temperature and protects vital organs.  The best sources of fats can be found in meats, poultry and fish.  Milk and some vegetables will also provide the distance runner with sources of fat. 

A unique benefit of fats many endurance athletes like is that fats are much more calorie-dense than other macronutrients; therefore this allows the endurance athlete to consume more calories without as much food “volume.”

Stay tuned for more tips from the team at Excelsior!

 Want to learn more about Excelsior and our STRIDES program? View the program here, or if you experience a training injury please contact us at 716-250-6539.  Be sure to let our Patient Contact Specialist know that you’re registered for the Buffalo Marathon and we will get you in to see a member of our STRIDES program ASAP.