Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sunday Runday: Carb Loading

If you run, or know someone who runs, chances are you're familiar with carb loading - eating a lot of carbohydrates the night before a race.

In theory, this makes sense.  Complex carbohydrates, that take some time to break down (as opposed to something like fruit or candy which burns quickly) help to give you energy through the race.

But have you ever had a really big, carb heavy meal?  Right after you feel sluggish and tired.  Which is NOT helpful for race day.

So how do you balance those two opposing forces?  Like I said, carb loading makes sense, but not that giant never-ending pasta bowl the night before a race.

Instead, smart runners increase their carb intake over days in the week before a race.  (Slow and steady, just like the tortoise!)  And they continue their carb-loading the morning of the race, with something like toast or oatmeal. 

Personally, I like my night before a race meals to include a mix of proteins and carbs - pizza is a big plus for me with the crust and some meaty topics.   One of my friends likes Chinese food, which also combines protein and carbs.   Because life can get so crazy, sometimes my pre-race meals seem to lack carbs completely, but because I've upped them over the week before, missing out on the night of doesn't seem to have a detrimental effect.  Of course, it probably helps that the half-marathon is my longest distance!

So eat up my friends, just make sure you don't do all your eating the night before!

1 comment:

  1. We used to do pasta before long runs (and by long I mean...over 13), but in general I think most people load way too excessively!