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Thinking of Running a Marathon? How to Improve In Endurance Running: Nutrition, Vitamin D, and Personalised Training

Written by: Kiara Lipschitz



Time to read 5 min

Keywords: marathon, running, training, nutrition, vitamin D

How do you train for a marathon in the most optimal way to increase your performance? What happens in your body as you run, and does your endurance level have an impact on the performance and recovery of your body?

We will delve into nutrition questions and investigate what your most optimal running routine should be.

 marathon, running, training, nutrition, vitamin D

1. The Impact of Vitamin D Deficiency on Athletes

Traditional marathon training metrics are primarily focused on improving endurance, discipline, and mental toughness.

Most of the time, they overlook the importance of nutrition, particularly the role of vitamins, in an athlete's performance and overall health.

For instance, vitamin D deficiency occurs very frequently in athletes, according to a study published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation and Technology .

The body uses more of the vitamin D storage in there because of the physical demand that running a marathon poses.

Interestingly, the study found a higher prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy in power sports athletes than in endurance sports athletes.

This could be related to utilising the reserves of vitamin D in skeletal muscles.

This is why it is essential for athletes, especially those in power sports, to monitor their vitamin D levels and consider supplementation if necessary. 

 marathon, running, training, nutrition, vitamin D

2. The Role of Nutrition in Marathon Training

While the physical aspects of marathon training are often emphasised, the nutritional component is equally important.

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) , a 110-220-pound athlete engaging in moderate levels of intense training could need to consume 2000–7000 calories per day to support their activity.

Macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats serve as potential energy sources, with the body preferring carbohydrates and fats.

The ISSN recommends  athletes following intense training schedules to consume 5-8 grams per kg of carbohydrates per day.

Proper nutrition not only fuels the body for training but also aids in recovery, making subsequent training sessions more effective.

This balance of nutrients can significantly influence endurance and performance, highlighting the importance of a well-optimised diet in marathon training. 

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3. The Dynamics of Running: Understanding Body Reactions at Different Endurance Levels

When it comes to running, the body's response varies significantly based on the athlete's endurance level.

For instance, a beginner tackling a 4 km run might experience heavy breathing, increased heart rate, and muscle fatigue due to the body's unaccustomed stress.

An intermediate or experienced runner might handle the same distance with relative ease, thanks to their body's adaptation to regular physical stress.

This is primarily due to improved cardiovascular efficiency, increased muscle strength, and enhanced metabolic function.

Conversely, a 20 km run might pose a significant challenge to a beginner or intermediate runner, while an experienced runner might manage it more efficiently.

Despite being a popular sport known for its mental well-being benefits, up to 40% of runners  face shortness of breath (exercise-induced dyspnea) due to complex physiological changes.

This can lead to negative emotions and hinder enjoyment, potentially causing people to quit running altogether .

While slow, deep breathing is known to be helpful at rest, research is limited on whether it can improve breathing limitations or performance during exercise.

Existing studies in exercise science and sports science, along with experience from practices like Yoga and meditation, suggest there might be ways to improve various aspects of breathing through targeted techniques.

Running, being accessible, convenient, and highly effective, is a great way to combat naturally occurring changes in the body that happen with age.

This study  aimed to investigate the effects of consistent, long-term physical activity, specifically recreational running, on body composition.

It compared recreational adult runners who covered at least 10 kilometres weekly with inactive adults of similar ages.

Compared to inactive individuals, runners showed significantly lower body mass, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and visceral fat  (all with p-value < 0.05).

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that endurance training enhances the body's ability to utilise oxygen, thereby improving performance during prolonged exercise.

Furthermore, chronic stress from long-distance running can lead to inflammation and muscle damage, according to research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Therefore, it's crucial for runners at all levels to monitor their bodies' responses to stress and adjust their training accordingly. 

 marathon, running, training, nutrition, vitamin D

4. The Broader Impacts of Personalised Marathon Training

Personalised marathon training has been gaining traction among athletes due to its potential benefits.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that individualised training plans led to large improvements in marathon performance compared to generic training plans.

The study also noted that personalised plans were more effective in preventing injuries, reducing the risk by 50%.

This is primarily because personalised plans take into account an athlete's unique physiological characteristics and fitness levels, allowing for a more targeted and efficient training approach.

Some athletes who follow personalised training plans report higher levels of satisfaction and motivation, which can further enhance performance.

For instance,  Paula Radcliffe , the women's world record holder in the marathon, attributes her success to a personalised training plan that took into account her individual strengths and weaknesses.

Running isn’t only good for your physical shape, but also the state of your mind.

This study investigated the relationship between running and mental health and established that there are significant benefits, especially for people with depression and anxiety.

However, the exact impact is difficult to measure due to inconsistent reporting methods across studies.

These examples underline the potential benefits of personalised marathon training, making it an attractive option for athletes aiming to optimise their performance. 

5. Check Your Vitamin D Levels

Feeling sluggish? Struggling with low moods? It might not be a lack of coffee – it could be a vitamin deficiency.

The  OptimallyMe Essential Vitamins Test  goes beyond a simple blood test. It unlocks a deeper understanding of your body's chemistry, focusing on three powerhouse vitamins: B12, B9 (folate), and D.

Forget generic multivitamins – this targeted approach reveals if you're getting the exact amounts your body craves. Imagine the difference – soaring energy levels, a brighter mood, and a healthy inner glow that radiates outward.

Our convenient at-home test empowers you to take charge of your well-being. 

Don't just settle for surviving – thrive with the knowledge of your essential vitamins. 

Because when it comes to optimising your health and running, knowing your essentials is the key to unlocking your full potential.

 marathon, running, training, nutrition, vitamin D

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