Drop pounds early If you're going to slash calories, do it before you start training or during the first 4 weeks of training, when the mileage and intensity are low. The closer you get to race day, the more you want to focus on adequately fueling and recovering from those speed sessions and long runs.
Take It Slow Aim to lose 1-2 pound per week, which means cutting about 250 calories per day—the equivalent of an energy bar or soda. Over the course of the week, that's 1,750 calories, which is 1/2 pound. By slowly tweaking your diet, you'll avoid severe feelings of deprivation. You'll give your body time to adjust to the reduced calorie load, and you'll have a better chance of sustaining it for the long term.
Stay In Balance In order to stay energized for your runs, and therefore perform well and burn the most calories, you're going to need the same balance of calories that all runners do: Roughly 55 percent of your calories should come from carbs, 25 percent from protein, and 20 percent from fats (more on calorie balance here). Take out one of those nutrients, and you'll find your workouts will feel harder, you won't recover as well, and you'll feel drained all the time. Just make sure to include high-quality foods from each group.
Get The Timing Right You're going to need food most before and right after a run. Before a run you'll need carbs to get fast energy; right after a run you'll need carbs to restock your glycogen stores and protein to help repair muscle tissue. Eat your highest carb meal of the day a few hours before your workout. If you need a daily indulgence, have that sweet shortly after a run—during that 20-minute window when your muscles can quickly soak up the sugar to replace spent energy stores.
Eat Real Food Many diet foods are too low in carbs, fiber, or protein to give you the nutrients you need to train, feel satisfied, and keep your body in peak condition. There's also the potential to go overboard on diet foods, figuring that if the Oreos are low-fat, that's license to eat the whole package.
Good luck this month everyone!