You’ve probably heard the term carb loading thrown around, especially around athletes right before a big race as they stuff their faces with mountains of bread and spaghetti. Truth be told many of us don’t really understand Carbo Loading.
With OSIM Sundown Marathon roughly around two weeks away let us throw some light on Carbo Loading.
What is carbohydrate loading?
Carbohydrates are stored in our muscles and liver, and it is the most efficient and easily accessible form of energy our body uses when we engage in physical activities such as running.
Carbohydrate loading ensures that our muscles and liver are loaded to their maximum capacity with glycogen, and it is the most beneficial for events lasting over 90 minutes. It is not essential to carbo-load for shorter events which are under 90 minutes.
When done correctly, carbo-loading can prevent the phenomenon of “hitting-the-wall”, reduce fatigue, and improve performance by up to 3%!
- Practice carbo-loading a few weeks before the race to find out which carbohydrate sources agree or disagree with your body. To do this, plan to eat a high-carbohydrate meal before your longest run of the week.
- Ensure that about 85% of your food intake come from carbohydrates.
- Start carbo-loading 2 to 3 days before the race.
- Include energy or isotonic drinks as they also contain electrolytes to keep your body well-hydrated the days prior to race.
- Carbo-loading unnecessarily – activities under 90 minutes will not require carbo-loading.
- Eating too much fibre – high fibre foods can cause stomach discomfort on race day.
- Trying new food and recipes – this is not the time to try out that new Italian restaurant in town. Stick to carbohydrate sources which you regularly eat.
- Eating too much of everything – carbo-loading isn’t about eating more; it’s about eating more carbohydrates, while lowering the protein and fat intake.
Here are a few examples of carbo-loading-friendly food:
- Low fibre fruits e.g bananas, oranges and watermelon
- Fruit juices
- Isotonic drinks
- White rice, noodles and bread
- Low-fibre cereals e.g Corn Flakes
- Skinless potatoes
There are still two weeks to go before race day, and do join Running Department for the Run With Pacer sessions!
You can register for these sessions at https://www.sundownmarathon.com/sg/training-runs-clinics/.