Carb Loading?

With less than 48 hours until race time (yay!) I’m going a bit crazy over here. Physically, there isn’t much more I can do. I plan on getting some good stretching in tonight and tomorrow and maybe squeezing in an easy bike ride or a long walk, purely because the weather here is beyond perfect, but that’s about it. What I CAN do is completely obsess about everything else. Over the past week I’ve definitely read every article I could find about pre-half marathon routines. Despite this being my third half marathon I’m still approaching this whole thing like a beginner and trying to be as thorough as possible. Perhaps this is me trying to overcome my less than ideal training with perfect nutrition or something, but regardless I feel like I’m learning things.


So let’s talk about carbs.
While perusing Runner’s World I found a lot of differing opinions on exactly how many carbs one should eat pre-race. This article said a marathoner should eat 4.5-5.5g of carbs per POUND of body weight during the 2-3 days before a race, while this study showed that an average of 5-6g/kg of body weight led to an increased performance. What I took away from most of my research was that there really isn’t an exact answer to this question. There’s no magic number to aim for but there is proof that increased carb consumption does help.

What does that mean to me?

Generally, I strive to eat a lower carb diet. By no means does that mean LOW carb! When I first because a vegetarian (light years ago, ha) I relied on carbohydrates far too much. As I’ve grown up and learned more about my health (and become more serious about exercising) I’ve shifted my nutritional goals a bit. I aim to get more protein and good fats and a few less carbs. Since I’m “only” running a half marathon, I have simply shifted my diet around and I’m aiming (loosely) for 3-5g/kg for today and tomorrow. 

Something important to remember is that carbs aren’t just bread- they are found in fruits and starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of carbohydrates!) too. Most of the articles I read also recommended staying away from foods high in fats and not eating too much fiber the night before the race (obviously). Here’s a look at my planned eats for today

Breakfast
Greek yogurt pancakes made with 0% raspberry Chobani 
~44g carbs

Drinks
Vitamin Water Revive (normally I drink the Zero, but I want the potassium AND carbs today + tomorrow so I will drink the regular kind)
~32g carbs
Lunch
Baked tofu (marinated in dijon + agave) sandwich on double protein whole wheat bread w/ spicy red pepper hummus & romaine
1 clementine
~55g carbs

post-work snack
Thai Chili popchips 
~20g carbs

Dinner
Homemade burrito bowl (quinoa, black beans, sweet potato, red/orange peppers +onions, avocado, lettuce, 0% plain Chobani)
~53g carbs

Dessert
0% plain Chobani w/ raw blueberries + strawberries
~10g/carbs

Total Carbs
214g (!!!!!)

This puts me comfortably inside the 3-5g/kg range and also gives me a whopping 75g of protein for the day.  

What are your thoughts on carb loading? 
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3 comments

  1. I love carb loading but as a vegan I try to do it with a ton more whole veg, fruits and grains. Sometimes the fiber comes back to haunt me during the race but for the most part it works out ok. No pasta or bread here, though.

  2. I think carboloading has its place, but I don't practice it unless I'm about to run a marathon or a half. Also, I don't practice the heavy carb meal the night before the race, but instead, try to sprinkle in more carbs in the days leading up, then make sure to get fiber the night before to get things going, if you know what I mean. 😛

    By the way, I happened to stumble over to your blog via Meghann's blog after I saw your comment about having been a competitive gymnast. I was as well, back in the day. Three cheers for gymnastics!

    – Courtney at goingconfidentlyx.wordpress.com

  3. Greetings and yay for gymnastics!

    I think people tend to take the carb loading to the extreme. I like your approach and that's kind of what I'm aiming for. Seeing as I generally eat less carbs (and do most of my runs first thing in the morning in a fasted state) I know that even just a small increase will give me a little something extra in my tank.

    We do have pasta on the menu for dinner tomorrow night purely at my sister's request- she's running the half on Saturday as well and has a VERY finicky stomach so she can't mess with her pre-race routine AT ALL.

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