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
Greek yogurt pancakes made with 0% raspberry Chobani
Vitamin Water Revive (normally I drink the Zero, but I want the potassium AND carbs today + tomorrow so I will drink the regular kind)
Baked tofu (marinated in dijon + agave) sandwich on double protein whole wheat bread w/ spicy red pepper hummus & romaine
Thai Chili popchips
Homemade burrito bowl (quinoa, black beans, sweet potato, red/orange peppers +onions, avocado, lettuce, 0% plain Chobani)
0% plain Chobani w/ raw blueberries + strawberries
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?