Proper Nutrition Is Essential for Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic

Editor’s Note: This article is the third in a weekly series of stories featuring training tips from Dr. Enoch Chang, a sports medicine specialist with Wheeling Hospital, leading up to the 41st-annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, scheduled for May 27 in Wheeling.

Those completing an endurance run such as the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic can expect to expend energy — and lots of it — during the race.

That’s why it’s extremely important for runners to pay close attention to their eating habits and calorie intake leading up to the big event, according to Dr. Enoch Chang, a sports medicine specialist at Wheeling Hospital.

“Most people will need to make sure that their carbohydrate intake is optimized,” Chang said.

A good rule of thumb, according to Chang, is to consume 5-7 grams of carbohydrates per day for every kilogram — or about 2.3-3.2 grams per pound — that you weigh.

In addition to optimizing carb intake, it’s also important to make sure your diet represents the proper balance for a runner. Chang said runners should consume approximately 60 percent carbs, like grains, pasta and bread; 25 percent fats, such as oils, nuts and avocados; and 15 percent protein — meat, fish or beans.

Although it varies by weight and how fast you’re moving, runners can expect to burn about 100 calories more per mile than someone who isn’t exercising. So for a half marathon, it’s likely someone will burn more than 1,300 calories — or about 65 percent of the recommended daily calorie intake for a normal person — during the course of the run.

That doesn’t mean, however, that one should eat a massive meal right before hitting the streets.

“Lots of people will talk about possibly ‘carbo-loading’ before a race, but its not recommended to eat large amounts right before a race,” Chang said. “Especially the night before, because their stomach may not be able to take that.”

It’s recommended, Chang said, that athletes eat a recovery meal — mostly protein, but with some carbs and fat — 30 minutes to an hour after running.

Race events on May 27 begin with the Half Marathon Walk at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Half Marathon Run and Run Relay at 8 a.m., the 5K Run/Walk at 8:15 a.m. and the mile-long Ogden Fun Run at 8:20 a.m. All those events begin and end at 14th and Main streets, with the exception of the Fun Run, which begins at 14th and Main but ends on Water Street.

Registration for the Tiny Tot Trot, a 100-yard dash for children 5 and under, begins at 7:30 a.m. and the trot takes place at 9 a.m. on Water Street near Heritage Port.