As a marathon runner, carbohydrates are a staple part of my diet. Keeping my energy levels up for a long run is key for progression, however, carbs are a scary thing for us women. Especially as someone who has lost a lot of weight during my training, I like to eat as healthy as I possibly can… Carbs and me do not have the same love for each other. Don’t get me wrong, I make sure I am eating enough to fuel my runs, but I try to eat them at the correct times in my training plan. Try, I say!
I love nothing more then ‘being able’ to indulge in a huge carb fest. Tucking into something that will send you into a food coma is the best feeling ever. Would there be a way I could maintain a healthy weight but still keep myself energised for my long distance running?
I was contacted by a team that had worked with nutritionist Sara Schenker and Vapiano UK within Manchester who were working on a campaign, that I knew many women would be interested in. Sara, #EatPastaRunFaster, had created two diet plans. Both of these plans would advise people of the foods they would need to help fuel their runs without any unwanted weight gain.
We need carbohydrates to stop us from feeling fatigued when we are running the distance, however, it is easy to eat the wrong kind of carbs (or too much of). Both diet plans include tasty dishes that are very healthy, yet they balance out the right amount of protein and carbohydrates for runners like me, who are in the midst of training and need to perform at their best.
This is where Vapiano UK come into play, as the dishes designed by Sara would be on the menu at this colourful resturaunt based within the Corn Exchange, Manchester. (Also in London!) The campaign, #EatPastaRunFaster was exactly what I had needed, as this was the week running up to my very first marathon. I needed ALL the delicious carbs!
So after reading up on both diet plans, one being for regular runners (5-10k distances) and the other being the 3 day carb loading plan for pre-race long distance runners, I had decided to stick with the latter for now. As this was the Thursday evening, three days prior to my big event, I was ready to feast! Perfect timing, I’d say.
Sara explains the benefits of each dish on the plan, in which you should reciprocate in the lead up to a long distance run (a half or full marathon). She also offers advice for a recovery meal, post run.
In this instance, I chose the spaghetti bolognese. This particular dish delivers plenty of carbohydrates to build stores of glycogen in the liver and muscles, needed for stamina, progression and the avoidance of ‘hitting the wall’. Beef provides a great amount of protein, which is needed for muscle strength and repair. The iron within the red meat also is needed for transportation of oxygen in red blood cells. I personally chose Spelt pasta, as I had also heard about the health factors of this particular pasta type, plus it would keep me fuller for longer.
I thourghly enjoyed my time at Vapiano UK, and will most defiantly be returning. The dishes are fresh, tasty and created specifically to my taste. It would be great for friend or work dates, or even a solo date prior to a race.
Sara Schenker has also opened my eyes to healthy eating as a runner who burns many calories a day through training. I will be keeping an account of these dishes depending on my current training plan.
I want to thank the team for introducing me to the #EatPastaRunFaster campaign, and for letting me taste the great dishes prepared by Vapiano UK. It successfully took me the distance that following Sunday, without injury and without hitting that dreaded wall.
Women fear weight gain, but we need to make sure we are replacing what we lose during our big runs. It is difficult to get the balance right, so following a plan like this is great for those who are unsure on what they need day to day within training. Get yourself on board!