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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Carbo Loading Before the Race

Only three more sleeps until the race. We're tapering and getting ready for 42.2 km on Sunday. It's not our first marathon, but this time we spend noticeably more time in the kitchen loading up on carbs and trying to satisfy this unusual hunger every couple of hours. For example, late last night, we could not resist another "snack". Helen had a bowl of cereal. I had a bagel with Greek yogurt. Why this unusual appetite at the time we run much less than during regular training week?

Studies show that reducing mileage during the taper will allow muscle enzymes to store more carbs and build up energy reserves. Maybe those thirsty enzymes demand more calories to compensate for 20 weeks of deprivation during the training? Well, our plan is to quench this thirst and consume 4 grams of carbs per pound of body weight as recommended by Runners World. In my case, 170lbs x 4g = 680g of carbs daily. That's lots of carbs (approximately 15 bagels!). Bagels, pasta, rice, and bananas can help max out glycogen stores. Eating so much I suddenly feel heavy and overweight. Explanation from nutritional experts: runners should expect to gain a couple of pounds as extra glycogen absorbs more water. 

Another important nutritional pre-race recommendation I will try to follow for the first time is a breakfast four hours before the race. Doing a simple math it translates into 3AM meal for 7AM race. This graveyard breakfast should include 1g of carbs for every pound of body weight (in my case another 4 bagels!) and include only small amounts of fats and proteins which digest more slowly than carbs. 

Taper is not easy: running less is hard to accept and eating several bagels a day is hard to digest. Three more sleeps until the race. Can't wait!

Run Strong, and carbo-load before the race!

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