First, a Michael Pollan-inspired minimalist manifesto:
- Drink some carbs.
- Not too much.
- Some carbs are better than others.
One of the most daunting and mysterious aspects of preparing for a marathon swim is planning a nutrition strategy. And for good reason: Nutrition can make or break a marathon swim.
So, aspiring marathon swimmers often seek advice from their more experienced brethren. But how to sort through conflicting information and opinions?
- Lynne Cox munches on bagels with peanut butter
- David Barra spikes his drinks with ginger tea and agave nectar
- Erica Rose chews dried pineapple slices
- Capt. Matthew Webb favored (I mean, favoured) beef tea and brandy
- For Janet Harris, variety is the spice of life.
- Peter Attia has been pounding the table for SuperStarch.
- Penny Palfrey likes watered-down porridge, and famously once had a tub of chocolate ice cream flown in via helicopter (while playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in her head!)
The textbooks aren’t much better:
- In Dover Solo, Marcia Cleveland recommends “warm, energy-providing liquids, followed possibly by some solid food, or energy gel.”
- Steven Munatones’ book suggests to “try everything within reason: energy drinks, bananas, sliced peaches, chocolate, and cookies.” He also wisely notes that “what works for another swimmer may not necessarily work for you.”
- Penny Lee Dean devotes a section to nutrition in her book, but in 2012 her recommendations are a bit dated.