Try fueling your workouts by consuming any necessary carbs in the morning. And you do NEED carbs if you are going to be training for an endurance event. But remember, carbs don’t necessarily = bread, pasta, white rice, etc. Fruits are one of the biggest sources of carbs. By front-loading your carbs, you’ll give yourself more time during the day to metabolize them and burn them off.
Refuel after your runs with lots of protein. Greek yogurt, almonds, lowfat chocolate milk, etc, are all great sources of protein. Try to consume protein within 45 minutes of finishing a workout.
Lunches and dinners should be a good balance of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, etc.
Snack often to keep yourself energized and fueled – again, yogurt, fruits, veggies, nuts.
Make sure you ARE eating enough calories to fuel your level of exercise though, since not doing so will cause muscle fatigue AND could put your body into “starvation mode”, meaning it will slow down the metabolism and cling to fat.
– Avoid gimmicky recovery products. You don’t need tons of Gu and gels and Gatorade if you’re training for a half marathon, and those actually = extra sugar and refined carbs. If you fuel and hydrate properly before and after runs, you should be fine to consume water during the run, and maybe some honey during the run if you feel you need it. These are the best gels I could find in terms of nutrition: http://shop.honeystinger.com/products/Ginsting.html They are all natural. You can also experiment with ingesting things like dried fruits to refuel during a run (figs, dates, and apricots are good for this.) If you find yourself feeling dehydrated after a run, skip the Gatorade (so much refined sugar) and have a glass of water with a pinch of salt and a splash of lemon juice to replace electrolytes.
– Ignore the hype about extreme carb-loading. Research has shown that what most people define as carb-loading is not consistent with what actually works to store glycogen in the muscles. Carb-loading does not mean stuffing yourself with huge plates of pasta and bread the night before a long run or race. If you simply eat balanced meals of proteins, and some carbs, you are already getting what you need. In the 48 hours before the race, it may be helpful to ingest slightly more carbs than usual, while resting your muscles, to optimize glycogen build-up, but you don’t need to be overdoing it on the carbs during training.
– If at all possible, incorporate strength training/weight lifting into your workout routine, at least once a week. It can be very hard to lose weight through running/cardio alone. Weight lifting really boosts the metabolism, not to mention it helps strengthen bones and increase muscle endurance – all good things if you want to avoid injury training for and running a half marathon.