Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carb-Loading Made Easy

Information about the carb-loading phase of marathon training can often be conflicting and confusing. Make a copy of the Carb-Loading Made Easy info below and post it on your fridge. Refer to it as you get closer to your race date and then make sure you're following the tips beginning three days prior to race day. For more detailed information on carb-loading [click here].


Carb-Loading Made Easy!

• Complex Carbs (100% whole grain breads and pasta) should be ingested the 1st day, then transition to simple carbs during the 2nd day of carb-loading.)
• Avoid complex carbs on the 3rd day of carb-loading; stick mainly with simple carbs (but don't try anything new you haven't tried during your training).
• Raise the total percentage of daily carbs from 60-70% to 70-80% during the three carb-loading days. (Remember that your overall total calorie intake should remain about the same, so to increase the % of carbs, cut back a little on the protein % and fat %.)
• Bananas and salty pretzels eaten during your carb-load will ensure that you haven't depleted your sodium and potassium levels from the additional hydration during carb-loading.

• Last big meal should be 12-15hrs prior to the race start.
• Over hydration can be just as bad (if not worse) than dehydration because it can deplete vital electrolytes. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the carb-loading phase, but no need to drink excessive amounts.
• A light high-carb breakfast 2-3 hours before the race is wise and should consist of about 300 calories. (A little protein in fine, but stay away from the fat. Both take longer to digest and can make you feel sluggish during your run.)
• Don't be alarmed if you gain a few pounds. It's mostly water retention from the extra carbs. You'll sweat out the extra pounds during the race.

13 comments:

southofthecliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick said...

Timely post... I have a 26m training run in the morning, and here I am taking in complex carbs the day before! I'll shift to the simple carbs now and give that a try. Good info! My problem is that I have to wake up so early to get in the long runs (especially the ones before work) that I don't have time to test the light breakfast 2-3 hours before the run... its more like 15 minutes before.

Morgan said...

And so you continue to read my mind and post exactly what I am stressing about on any given day prior to my marathon. Thanks dude! :)

Shelley said...

Why simple carbs when complex carbs are considered the "healthy" carbs?
Curious,
Shelley
in GA

KBroome said...

Does this go for half marathon training too? I'm guessing it does.. Thanks for the info.

unathleticrunner said...

great post thanks for the info!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Rick!I hear ya about the early morning runs. I've not eaten 15 mins before a run, but I have eaten English Muffins with peanutbutter and preserves about an hour before and it worked okay. Course, it goes without saying, don't try anyting new on race day, try some how to test it out before hand, even if it's eating before a weekend run or something.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Morgan! So glad I'm tracking with you and the posts are helpful. You're gonna do awesome on race day!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Shelly! It's not a question of health at the carb-loading stage, it's what's gonna come back to bite you and send you running to the port-a-john during the race. You are exactly right you should be eating more complex carbs overall. They are your best source of fuel, because they take longer to process through the body, but with that said, if you load up on only complex carbs all three day's before the race you're risking having a "back log" (literally) that you might end up needing to void during the race. Stocking up on complex carbs on the first day of carb-loading will help fill up your glycogen stores and then switching over to more simple carbs later on day 2 and day 3 of the carb-loading phase will help you keep your glycogen stores topped off but those carbs will pass through your system more quickly and be voided before the race. By simple carbs, I'm not meaning hoho's or twinkies. The regular pasta that's served at most pre-race dinners is actually a simple carb. White rice is a simple carb. Potatoes are a simple carb. So you can be a little more selective with the simple carbs, they don't have to be fat-loaded, heavily processed foods. Hope this helps.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Kabroome! Kind of depends on how long you think you'll be running for your half. Your body has the ability to store about 2000calories of glycogen (your enegy) that will last you about 2hrs. So more than likely you'll need the fuel. Better to have more fuel than you need than to run out during the race. Hope this helps.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Unathleticrunner! Your welcome and thanks!

Meg Runs said...

I really needed this post today, thanks!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Meg! You are most welcome!! Thanks for reading!