Carb loading and running

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run…

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run far.

Carbohydrate loading can help you. What is carbo loading? It’s a strategy involving changes to training and nutrition that can maximize muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores prior to endurance competition. Athletes believe that by loading the muscles with glycogen, they can prevent hitting the “wall” and hopefully allow them to run at their desired pace for longer. It has the potential to improve performance by 2-3%, if done properly. The issue is, a plate of pasta isn’t carbo-loading. Follow these simple steps to properly carbo-load:

  1. Don’t skip the carb depletion phase. 7 days prior to the event do a long or strenuous workout which will deplete your body of glucose. For the next 3 days maintain a lower carb diet of 35 to 50% of total calories. For the final 2 days prior to the race switch to 75% of calories from carbohydrates, while dramatically decreasing overall work volume (the other 25% is largely protein).
  2. Avoid simple carbs! Don’t eat junk food, and avoid sugar. Ideal carbo-loading foods: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. If you have trouble with high fiber/runners trots, look for options like sourdough bread with honey or sweet potatoes.
  3. Don’t carbo load for short distance races. 5K or 10K? Too short! Carbo loading is only needed if you’ll be running OVER 90 minutes. I would even argue that it’s not necessary for a half-marathon but should be done for a full.
  4. Don’t load for too long, only do it for about 2 days prior to the race. The rest of the time before the race? Not loading! Don’t load up for a week, that is just un-necessary.
  5. Don’t freak out over the weight gain. Carbs make you retain water, which is needed for race day! Don’t even worry about that number on the scale, unless you’re ignoring step #2 and eating cookies.
  6. Don’t skip your last load due to nerves. You want that race morning fuel! You must give your muscles that last boost of glucose to help prevent energy lulls, mood swings, and fatigue. Aim to 1-3 grams of high quality carbs, low fat and low fiber – oatmeal with banana or yogurt with fruit if you can stomach it.
  7. Don’t eat that pasta dinner! One large meal of carbs is NOT carbo-loading and for many people it has the opposite effect of what they desire.

Of course, at the end of the day, everyone is different. You have to find what works best for you. Personally, I haven’t carbo-loaded before. But, I have also never ran a full marathon before. I usually eat before every race though. On the morning of a half marathon I eat fruit, drink lots of water, and drink some coffee. The week leading up to the half? I just focus on eating healthy: lots of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Now that I’m training for the full marathon, I will be sure to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my body.

Food is fuel. And fuel is energy. Do you carbo-load? What do you eat before running? Or do you run on an empty stomach? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

How to taper

Are you training for a half or full marathon? If so, is it your first? Have you heard of tapering? Do you know what taper means? If not, continue reading as this can and will change your life! #welcometothetaper I’m currently training for my first full marathon, but I’ve ran two half-marathons. The first one…

How to taper was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you training for a half or full marathon? If so, is it your first? Have you heard of tapering? Do you know what taper means? If not, continue reading as this can and will change your life! #welcometothetaper I’m currently training for my first full marathon, but I’ve ran two half-marathons. The first one…

How to taper was originally published on Self Evolve

The Importance of Fit

All runners should know the importance of a proper shoe fitting. Unfortunately, beginning and seasoned runners alike make many common mistakes when picking out new running shoes. Some runners just pick a shoe based on brand or how it looks. They think if they look cool enough they’ll run better (illusion). Giving into peer pressure…

The Importance of Fit was originally published on Self Evolve

All runners should know the importance of a proper shoe fitting. Unfortunately, beginning and seasoned runners alike make many common mistakes when picking out new running shoes. Some runners just pick a shoe based on brand or how it looks. They think if they look cool enough they’ll run better. Giving into peer pressure or…

The Importance of Fit was originally published on Self Evolve

Do or do not

There is no try… I spent this past weekend at Disney World where I ran the Star Wars Dark Side half marathon. And it was amazing! It was my second half marathon, but I’ve ran several races over the past 3-4 years. This one was definitely one of my favorite. The course took us through…

Do or do not was originally published on Self Evolve

There is no try…

I spent this past weekend at Disney World where I ran the Star Wars Dark Side half marathon. And it was amazing! It was my second half marathon, but I’ve ran several races over the past 3-4 years. This one was definitely one of my favorite. The course took us through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, the Disney boardwalk, and Epcot. What an amazing experience!

 

Sarah and I dressed up as BB8 and R2D2. There were a good amount of people dressed up, but not as many as I thought. Quite a few people didn’t dress up and just ran in running clothes, like a normal person. I wonder if they forgot they were running a Star Wars race? Or wanted to be lame maybe?

The medal we received is amazing. I’m in absolute love with it. It makes me want to run more Disney races to collect more awesome Disney medals. 🙂

The only cons of the race: some of the course was very tight making it hard to run around the walkers and the majority of the course was between parks which wasn’t as exciting as going through the parks. If possible, I would rather run through two or three parks more and less outside of the parks. But everything else was amazing: Star Wars characters and music throughout the course made the run enjoyable. And after about 3-4 miles, I found my pace and basically ran the rest of the race easily. Easily is a relative term here. Sarah and I only walked through the water stations as we drank water. Lots of water since it was humid and pretty hot, especially the last 2-3 miles. Thankfully we started very early (6am) so the temperature stayed mild for the majority of the run. It was a mostly cloudy day, and a little gray.

Our official time was 2 hours 56 minutes, which isn’t bad. This does make me want to try and increase my pace a little bit as I train for the Chicago Marathon in hopes that I finish under 6 hours. Or 5.5 hours… or 5 hours. I don’t want to push myself too hard, but I also don’t want to run for 6 hours lol. #goals 🙂

What inspires you? Any ideas on how to work towards a certain pace for a marathon? Asking for a friend…

Do or do not was originally published on Self Evolve