My favorite, favorite, FAVORITE part of training – the carb loading! Who doesn’t love forbidden white bread and pasta?! I am three days out from my race and I have to admit, I may have started the carb loading a little early. I couldn’t help myself and I went crazy at the store. Tortellini, gnocchi, animal crackers, white bread, bagels, pita chips, pretzels. And a lot of it I ate already. I’m a carb-aholic and when I have been given the green light to eat all the things I don’t allow myself on a regular basis, I just go off the deep end.
Seriously, though. I have been doing a lot of reading about carb loading before a race this week mainly because my husband is running his first full marathon and I want him to not hit the wall. (*Note: I am not a doctor or an expert on carb loading. Please take the following information with a grain of pasta…I mean salt.) One of the important things I learned in this article is to start the carb loading 2-3 days before the actual race, dispelling the ‘huge bowl of pasta the night before the race’ myth. Your body can store and build glycogen stores a little at a time so eating a few days of small carb-loaded meals is the way to go. I also learned 85-95% of your calories on those days leading up to the race should consist of carbs, with a little bit of protein mixed in. Go easy on the fiber and skip the butter, oil, and cream as well. This Runner’s World article even has a sample menu for a day:
A day of carbo-loading for a 150-pound runner
1 bagel with 2 tablespoons strawberry jam (71 g)
1 medium banana (27 g)
8 ounces fruit yogurt (41 g)
8 ounces orange juice (26 g)
2 Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey
Granola Bars (29 g)
8 ounces Gatorade (14 g)
1 large baked potato with 1/4 cup salsa (69 g)
1 sourdough roll (40 g)
8 ounces chocolate milk (26 g)
1 large oatmeal cookie (56 g)
1 Clif Bar (42 g)
8 ounces Gatorade (14 g)
1 chicken burrito with rice, corn salsa, and black beans (105 g)
1 2-ounce bag Swedish Fish (51 g)
One thing I noticed about this plan that I am going to try is including Gatorade in the days leading up to a race. I usually reserve Gatorade as a drink I use only during the race and maybe one cup following a long run, but never outside of running. I’m interested to see how this affects my hydration and how I feel during the race.
My meal plans for the rest of the week will go something like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/berries
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich on White Bread
Dinner: Stir Fry with white rice
Breakfast: Waffles with berries and bananas
Lunch: Baked Potato with Salsa
Dinner: Gnocci w/ marinara
Breakfast: Waffle with berries and bananas
Lunch: Sandwich from the airport – something on white bread!
Dinner: There is an Einsteins Bagel in our hotel, so I am hoping to grab a sandwich from the for dinner as well as a bagel for my pre-race breakfast the next morning.
Snacks: Cliff Bars, Gatorade, Pretzels
Happy carb loading!