Marathon training: what to have for dinner and other teatime tips

In the fourth of her marathon training blog posts, Ruth Walters from Let Her Eat Clean talks dinner dos and don’ts. 

I wished for a lot things during my 22 weeks of marathon training: new feet, a hover board, the perfect playlist, but most of all I wished for a live-in chef. One thing you’ll definitely learn as you prepare for your big run: cooking dinner after a day of work and training is a real pain in the asparagus.

Getting home cold, tired, and sometimes soaked to the bone, didn’t always get me in the mood for cooking. But a gal’s gotta eat and practice makes perfect.

The golden rule of marathon running is very appropriate when it comes to preparing the perfect dinner: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you arrive home not knowing what you’re having for dinner, you’ll probably have beans on toast, and that’s not what you need.

The thing to remember about dinner is it’ll usually be the meal that immediately follows a training session. That means it’s about recovery, repair and a good night’s sleep guarantee.

Once I got into a training rhythm I dedicated Sunday afternoons to preparing 2-3 nutritious and delicious one-pot wonders with my trusty slow cooker that would see me through the week. That way school night dinners were taken care of with a simple reheat.

Here are a few of my post-training one-pot favourites:On many a Monday night my marathon mantra for the final mile of my run was: beef, fennel, mushroom, hotpot, beef, fennel, mushroom, hotpot. Yum.

This chicken dish is a real favourite and a great reason to keep enjoy tasty Brussels sprouts long after Christmas.

If you’re having training buddies round for dinner I recommend this delicious and easy-to-make lamb pilaf. Always goes down a treat.

Race day: the night before the big day

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I did a lot of experimenting with meals and meal times and how my various choices made me feel and perform. But I settled on a night-before race day dinner that never failed me: roast chicken (and the crispy skin) with a mountain of spinach, sliced creamy avocado, all drizzled with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and chunky sweet potato wedges dunked in delicious houmous. Just typing that makes me hungry!

It was a hearty meal that never left me too full or bloated but brilliantly fuelled for the big event the morning after.

What are your supper saviours? Have you worked out your winning pre-race dinner combination yet?

You can follow Ruth for training inspiration and nutrition tips on her blog; on Twitter @ruthwalters, on Instagram @ruthwalters83 and at

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