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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2015 June;55(6):615-20

language: English

Dietary analysis of full marathon runners over 50 years of age: a retrospective study

Rech L. 1, 5, Premecz S. 4, Jassal D. S. 2, 3, 4, Zahradka P. 1, 3, 5, Taylor C. G. 1, 5

1 Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada;
2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada;
3 Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada;
4 Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface Research Center, Winnipeg, MB, Canada;
5 Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, St. Boniface Research Center, Winnipeg, MB, Canada


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AIM: There is little information known about the dietary intakes of older athletes. The purpose of this study was to assess the dietary intakes of full marathon runners over the age of 50 during the 3 days prior to and during a 26.2 mile marathon.
METHODS: Participants completed a 3-day food record prior to the marathon and a food recall post-marathon. Dietary records were entered into a nutrient analysis software program and were analyzed for total energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients.
RESULTS: The average energy intake based on the 3-day food records was 2670±225 kcal/day, which was below the estimated energy requirement of 3140±102 kcal/day. The participants consumed 56%, 17% and 27% of energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat, respectively, and these were within the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges. The participants had a favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 5:1. The participants were consuming 3920±350 mg/day of sodium which is 70% above the goal of 2300 mg/day. The participants met the dietary reference intakes for only half of the micronutrients. Based on the food recall, 87% of the participants’ energy intake was from carbohydrates (213±19 g or 852±75 kcal) before and during the marathon.
CONCLUSION: Marathon runners over the age of 50 have a balanced diet during the 3 days prior to running a 26.2 mile marathon. Carbohydrates were the main source of energy consumed before and during the marathon.

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