How to Carb-Load for Marathon Week?

This questions is quite common especially for newbies and first time marathoner to be. According to one research, fueling become essentially for any form of strenuous exercise when its done for 90 mins or more or beyond 15 Kms when it comes to running, as our glycogen levels starts depleting fast beyond this. Some of us might even have to fuel before that depending on their individual fitness levels.

So we have all the more reasons to take the carb-loading seriously in the long run/marathon week, to make sure we dont become victim of low energy during the run. 

Carb-loading, or basically, carbohydrate loading refers to progressively increasing one’s intake of carbohydrates in the days leading up to an endurance competition. What’s more, carbohydrates aren’t just nutritious in the days leading up to a big race like a marathon — they’re pretty essential for your body.

There are a lot of misunderstandings around the same, so the simple way to understand it is to keep a goal muscles and liver, which are used preferentially during prolonged activity. Many researchers have shown that having adequate amounts of glycogen stores before competition can significantly improve performance outcomes. Now estimates may vary for different people, but normally, it is about 2-5%. This explains the craze among athletes.

Here are the 5 Carbs you must be eating before your marathon:

1. Whole Grains: They fight inflammation and they give us some fiber. They also keep the muscle stores stocked. What’s more, they also keep your GI system healthy and help maintain your cholesterol level.

2. Tart Cherries: They have proved to fight inflammation and help with muscle soreness. They also taste great when put in a smoothie, which is a win-win! Just make sure to choose whole fruit or juice made from real cherries, rather than just cherry flavoring, to enjoy both the flavor and health benefits.

3. Sweet Potatoes: They’ve got that sweet tooth-satisfying taste, they’ve got beta-carotene, and they’re a great source of carbohydrates. There are numerous way to prepare them and when mashed, they can even serve as a great gel fuel alternative mid-race.

4. Beets: They can improve performance and fend off some fatigue, especially if you’re more of a back-of-the-packer. What’s more, the beetroot is a rich source of inorganic nitrate, which means, they can help you finish that race up to 3 percent faster.

5. Tea with milk and honey: Don’t be guilty to have it, because let’s just face it, we all need that kick of caffeine. Just do it the right way, the way it can fit into your carbohydrate plan. One way to do it is to add skim milk or almond milk or even honey to add carbohydrates, and enjoy the boost of caffeine. Since you’re stockpiling it, and going to burn it off, so don’t worry!

Here are the common mistakes athletes should avoid, while carb-loading:

  • Not tapering enough before the marathon or the competition they are participating in
  • The fear of weight gain, which is usually just a few pounds that comes with carb-loading.
  • Consuming uneven amounts of carbs. One must aim for 7-12g/kg in 2-3 days before competition
  • Consumption of the wrong types of carbs can also be pretty harmful. Here are the things that must be avoided – fibre, fat and excessive protein
  • Thinking that carb-loading is a free pass to eat. It’s not. It’s extremely important to ingest high-carb, low-fat foods whilst maintaining protein consumption.

Keep these points in mind before your big run, carb load the right way, and there’s no stopping!

By Anurag

I am a blogger with a passion for Running!...

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