What should I eat if I'm a marathon runner?
The runner, compared to other athletes, has one more problem: the shock of impact with the ground. This very often has an impact on the digestive system and is essential to take into account both "before" and "during" a long and intense effort such as a marathon.
The week before the race, forget the myths that still reign in the amateur and non-amateur world, of the unloading and loading of carbohydrates. We’re now in the 2000s and what we thought was right in the 80s and 90s has since been contradicted several times by science where the research has come on in leaps and bounds.
The night before the marathon, you could fill up on pasta or rice as a first course as these are both examples of high glycemic carbohydrates, followed by a second course of a lean protein source such as chicken, fish or red meat. Add cooked or raw vegetables and then a portion of potatoes and a good drizzle of olive oil. At this point you will be sure to be full to the max. Having a rest will be more pleasant "with a full belly".
Upon waking, the next morning, you will still be quite full so you just need to top up the little amounts of muscle and liver glycogen consumed overnight. Many of your opponents will eat in relation to the distance of the race they are about to run - this is completely wrong and should be avoided!
You need to organise yourself depending on how long beforehand you should eat: if it’s 3 hours before the start of the race, you can have a meal, for example this could be 4 slices of wholemeal bread or 6 rice cakes with a protein source such as cooked ham (60/70g), 1 tablespoon of jam and some almonds. If you have as little as 2 hours before the start, you can have the same quality and type of food, but half the quantity, so you start the race so you start the race not feeling too full.
During the marathon, depending on your eating habits, you will have to eat foods which are easily digestable. I would definitely recommended having specialised foods such as isotonic gels or energy bars at regular intervals of 30/45 minutes but keep in mind, the complete strategy is always to try first in training more than once, in order to test your body’s reaction.
Hydration is of fundamental importance, so make sure you take full advantage of all the refreshments along the way to drink water and if the mineral salts you find are the ones you usually use, then alternate those along the race course.
After the race, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself for your performance: have a portion of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index and even some protein - a minimum portion size of 30g. You can use this moment to eat pasta, your favourite first course dish or a dessert, then a second portion of protein, or, if you prefer, a rapidly assimilated protein source such as isolated Whey powder proteins.
Iader Fabbri, Nutritional Consultant and Scientific Communicator
Tips for the days leading up to the race
"Here I am with just a few days to go before the race, my gosh, I can already feel the adrenaline pumping." This is a very frequent thought among those who are about to take part in an important race - especially if they have been preparing for a long time with training and various sacrifices. Let's see what tips we have for the period leading up to the race.
I would like to point out that these tips refer in particular to endurance races such as marathons, ultratrail, gran fondo etc. and are the result of more than 20 years of experience in this area where I have seen just about everything. In this article I’ll share some practical and simple concepts which are easily applicable and can be integrated with your own personal “rituals".
If you’re going to take part in a race and come from an area at sea level or from a country far away, we recommend that you spend a period of adaptation and acclimatisation in the area where the race will take place:
if you have to face a 4-6hr journey to get to the location of the race, I recommend that you try to arrive at least the afternoon of the day before the start;
If you have a 6-10hr journey ahead of you, try to sleep at least 2 nights in the area before the start of the race.
If you also need to deal with a change in time zone, keep in mind that for each hour of time zone change (+/-) it is recommended that you spend at least 1 day on site before the start of the race (for example 3 hours of time zone = arriving 3 days beforehand).
If you are lucky enough to arrive two days before the race, I recommend that you look at some of the sections of the course and acclimatise yourself, perhaps going up in the morning or early afternoon to any easily accessible areas where the altitude is higher.  In the afternoon I recommend you take a "nap" of up to 30 minutes and then get ready for the race.
With regards to meals, make sure you have your main meal at least 4 hours before the start of the race and don’t forget to have a small snack an hour beforehand.
Also, don’t forget to find out where the bib collection is located and what procedures the organisation requires. This phase is often a source of stress and inconvenience which is unnecessary and easily preventable.
Last but not least, in the days leading up to the race, do not change your habits and/or what you usually do during training sessions. The hard work is done, relax and try to enjoy the moment and the fact that you’ve got the chance to take part in and enjoy such an occasion that many can’t! Remember to eat well, rest and above all...
… Good luck.
Riccardo Marini
In collaboration with Total Training
Using rest as a means of training to absorb the effects of running on the road, on the track and in the gym
It is well known that the arrival of autumn signals the start of the period of great marathons: running 42 kilometers represents the goal of a long preparation of training programs studied in detail. To accompany the long distances, there are also the half marathons, 21 intense but less demanding kilometers than the real marathon.

To arrive in perfect shape for a half marathon it is essential to try to sleep as much as possible. Whilst sleeping, the glycogen stores are recomposed and protein synthesis is activated, which allows the recovery of the damage caused by small muscle traumas.  Fatigue is absorbed, adaptations are implemented and the conditions are created for improving performance.

The question, however, that haunts every runner the week before the race concerns what pace to keep: "What is the right pace to take?"

It varies from 5 seconds to 10 seconds slower than the reference speed (VR). The lower the runner’s level, the wider the difference between the VR value and the race pace.

- Conconi test
- Lactate test
- 10km in the race or race pace
- 5km: 0.93
- 3km + 10%

Now let's take a look at the recommended training methods during the 7 days leading up to the half marathon divided according to the level of the participant: beginner, intermediate and advanced level:

Beginners: 12-14km slow run + stretch
Intermediate level: 8-10km at race pace + stretch
Advanced level: 2 x 6km or 2 x 7km rec. 3 min. the first trial at half pace the second at tempo run pace

Beginners: cross training or a rest day
Intermediate level: 6-8 km slow run + stretch
Advanced level: 8-10km slow run + stretch

Beginners: 6km slow run + stretch
Intermediate level: if they ran the previous day, then have a rest day. If they had a rest day, then 4-5 km of repeats at a distance of 2-3 km at race pace, recovery 2-3 minutes
Advanced level: 6-8km slow run + stretch

Beginners: 3km slow run + 3km run at moderate pace or have a rest day if they ran the previous day
Intermediate level: rest if they did repeats the previous day, repeats if they rested the previous day
Advanced level: 5-6km of repeats of variable distance between 1000 and 3000m

Beginners: 3km slow run + 3km run at moderate pace or have a rest day if they ran the previous day
Intermediate level: rest if they did repeats the previous day, repeats if they rested the previous day
Advanced level: 5-6km of repeats

Beginner: rest if they ran the previous day or 30 minutes cross training, 4km slow run if they rested the previous day
Intermediate level: 6km slow run + stretch if they rested the previous day or rest or 40 minutes cross training
Advanced level: 6km slow run or rest

Beginners: rest
Intermediate level: rest or 3-4km slow run if they rested the previous day
Advanced level: 6-8km slow run + stretch if they rested the previous day or rest if they ran the previous day
Like any programme or generic training plan, this chart is a general indication and may not be suitable for everyone.
This program must be supplemented by general and specific strength training.

Now all that’s left is to wish you ‘happy running!’

Fulvio Massini - Running consultant for training
Everyday life and recovery
Recovery, and sleep in particular, are real training tools. It may sound strange, but it’s true.

It should be acknowledged that runners are more often than not tired, not only because of their training program: everyday life along with work and family commitments are very important. In this case, proposing stressful training sessions such as repeats, half pace or tempo running would be really detrimental to their psycho-physical health. It is better to only do short training sessions, perhaps with a slight progression, if possible outdoors and in the company of runners who go at the same pace, without controlling the pace of the race but "listening to the music of your body". Doing repeats would increase stress levels and, in the case of performing below expectations, even frustration.

A fundamental part of training is the so-called "recovery management". Over the years the recovery time between the various training methods or between the competitions tends to expand: knowing how to manage this time is fundamental to obtain an optimal performance and to avoid injuries. At the age of 20, you can recover from a repeats training session in 48 hours, whilst at the age of 50, it takes 4-5 days or more. 

An adequate recovery linked with the correct diet will also help to avoid leg pains. Erroneously associated with the accumulation of lactic acid (in reality very little is produced and this quantity is not enough to create pain Ed.), this pain is to be attributed in reality to DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), a late muscular pain that is caused by microdistructions of the muscle fiber damaged during the race.

Therefore, as we said at the beginning, for us runners it is of fundamental importance to fully recover the psycho-physical energies. A good night's sleep is ideal for recharging glycogen reserves and then restoring energy reserves in the muscles. Furthermore, while we are sleeping, the growth hormone GH is also produced, which facilitates muscle recovery by promoting cell regeneration and growth (J. Weineck, 2009).

Personally, since last year I have been involved in the Dorelan ReActive project and I must say that having a technical tool available that allows real benefits to be achieved in the night recovery phase is undoubtedly an added value. Improving the quality of rest as well as improving the quality of life allows, in fact, an improvement in the quality of training sessions. Another aspect, by no means secondary, is the preventive function had when sleeping correctly.

Here’s some practical advice. Over the years, especially after the age of 50, it is normal to wake up during the night and this can cause more tiredness during the day, compromising the success of the race and encourage overtraining. Sleep can also be disturbed by training late in the evening and not followed by adequate nutrition: the main cause is to be found in the production of catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline) generated during training especially when working at high intensity. Other sleep disorders arise after travelling to countries with different time zones, so it would be ideal to arrive at the location of the race one day earlier for each hour of time difference. Whoever goes to run the Chicago marathon, where there are seven hours of time difference, should, for example, arrive in the city seven days beforehand to be sure of sleeping perfectly on the night before the marathon. In reality, there are few people who can afford such a trip: in this case taking melatonin can help. In these years, not only in those who make long plane journeys, but also in those who have normal sleep disorders, have achieved good results by doing abdominal breathing. So if you wake up during the night and can't sleep, don't panic, breathe deeply with your diaphragm and you will see that you fall asleep immediately. Finally, there is one rule that always applies.

If there are days when you can’t be bothered to train and you find yourself torn between that sense of duty that tells you to respect the program and the little voice inside your head telling you to leave your running shoes in their bag, in these cases your body is sending you a clear signal, respect it and don't go running.

by Fulvio Massini
The runner's training tool? Recovery!
Born in 1954, he was born in Caldine in the province of Florence. From the age of 16 he realised he was a runner - as he says - and has never stopped since then.
A lecturer at the CDL in Exercise Science at the University of Florence, since 1976 he has been involved in training runners. Today he collaborates with the magazine "Correre" and is the technical coordinator of the magazine "Runners World Italia", in which he publishes articles every month. He has been a FIDAL collaborator at a regional and national level. He is the owner of Training Consultant, a structure that deals with training consultancy for runners of all levels. For some years he has also been a writer.

Recovery, and sleep in particular, are training tools. It may sound strange, but they are. If there is no recovery there can be no adaptation; without adaptation, there can be no improvement in sporting performance.

It is difficult to get runners to understand the importance of recovery on the body because they always want to run, but once understood, the results are obvious.

In the field of recovery, the fundamental aspect is sleep: resting a certain number of hours and resting well is a rule that I try to teach my students because, through sleep, energy is recovered, glycogen stores are reconstituted and the protein synthesis, by means of GH growth hormone, which allows us to optimize training. 

The ideal scenario is to sleep at least 7 hours a night, but even having a nap lasting 15 minutes during the day can be useful as it allows you to recover your energy, especially when you train early in the morning or at lunchtime . If you have the chance, follow this ideal scenario which allows you to recover more efficiently and ultimately perform better in the race.

"Recovery also means managing your training load by having a few less intensive days of training or rest days after more intense workouts. You should therefore avoid the need to follow a demanding training regime on consecutive days."

It may seem absurd, but there are still runners who do repeats after a run and then wonder why they can’t perform and feel tired in the race. A comprehensively planned run is very tiring and needs at least 2 days to recover. Doing repeats the day after a run means dilating recovery times and therefore always being tired. Even repeats, if done carefully, and therefore not at a pace which is too fast, require two or three days to recover.

In addition, try not to schedule intense workouts in the evening after 6pm: catecholamines produced by training, especially if it is an intense workout, can cause a state of agitation that hinders the ability to fall asleep and, consequently, do not allow recovery from the training session.

If during the week the evenings are the only time you can dedicate to running, schedule intense training over the weekend, so you can manage it in the best possible way. The recovery strategy also includes cross-training strategies, that is other sporting activities other than running, such as for example cycling or swimming which is highly recommended, both in the "unloading" phase after a competition, and in the early stages of planning training.

Lastly, there are days when you can’t be bothered to train and you find yourself torn between that sense of duty that tells you to respect the program and the little voice inside your head telling you to leave your running shoes in their bag. What should you do? In these cases your body is sending you a clear signal, respect it and don't go running.

A day off can only do you the world of good! You must learn to manage the "addiction" effect of the race, which pushes you to run at all costs. In fact, let's not forget that recovery is synonymous with improvement for chronometric performance, but above all synonymous with feeling good, which is the real aim of those who practice sport at an amateur level.

Fulvio Massini - running consultant for training
The 34th Huawei Venicemarathon and Dorelan focus on rest as training
The  leader company in the "Bedding" field becomes sponsor of the Venicemarathon and on the official Venicemarathon Facebook page will propose tips to guide athletes to rest as “passive” workout

Venice, July 11, 2019 - Good sleep is essential for the physical and mental well-being and health of people; sleep is a real passive training because it allows you to restore energy spent during the day and improve performance.

In Venicemarathon family enters this year a partner who cares the "good rest" of the athletes as a training tool: Dorelan, the Italian company with a history of 50 years in Bedding sector.

At 34th Huawei Venicemarathon of next 27 October, Dorelan will present the line of mattresses and pillows scientifically designed to improve the recovery, well-being and performance of athletes.

The company from Forlì wanted to look out for the sporting world for over a year and a half ago and created the product Dorelan ReActive : «To recover the maximum of his/her energies, the athlete must improve the quality of sleep and the fundamental instrument to achieve this aim is the choice of a high quality mattress designed and studied to satisfy the needs of professional athletes» said Riccardo Tura, marketing manager of Dorelan.

This is the aim for ReActive®: an innovative patent that arises from the result of an in-depth study between sleep and sport performed by Internal Skiing Committee, composed of doctors, researchers and trainers Athletic. A real revolution in the world of Bedding that reduce pressure points and simultaneously maintain perfect musculoskeletal alignment, for maximum freedom of movement and the best comfort. 

Furthermore, Dorelan ReActive ® has developed the "Sleep Trainer" algorithm, which helps to identify the most suitable mattress for each athlete.

Finally, Venicemarathon and Dorelan will explain all the benefits of a good rest as a passive training tool thanks to tips on the Venicemarathon Facebook page, where users can interact and receive personalized advice.