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Although it has not been widely studied, evidence suggests that beta carotene may enhance athletic performance. Runner's World has published several stories about recommended foods for runners, and most of those stories include a few beta carotene-rich foods. They can't hurt and beta carotene is good for you from a nutritional standpoint, even if it doesn't shave minutes off your marathon time.
Pumpkin is a great source of beta carotene, and you can find many pumpkin-filled foods to enjoy in the fall when you're training for a fall marathon. Carrots and papaya are other good sources (think orange), so carrot cake and carrot muffins count, too. Quick breads and muffins, especially if they are made in part with whole-wheat flour, are a great snack for runners while marathon training or at any time, but add the carrot or pumpkin and the nutritional payoff is even bigger. If you like to cook, quick breads and muffins are easy to make and most cookbooks and websites have a variety of recipes, depending on your personal taste. Not a cook? Look for pumpkin items at your favorite bakery.