Hey all. My first half-marathon is next Sunday. Any suggestions on proper carb loading? I've loaded up on carbs the night before a biathlon but I've heard some people load up on carbs like three days before a race.
One method to ensure enough or maximum energy stores is to consume mostly protein for 3 days followed by 3 days of high carbs just before the marathon. By depriving yourself the carbs during the first 3 days you send a message to your body that carbs are needed and when you do finally consume the carbs your body will tend to store more of them than it would without the 3 day protein phase. Hope this helps.
I would suggest eating your massive pasta meal two nights before your race. Eating too much the night before (I'm assuming it's an early morning race) can give you the dreaded "food hangover" leaving you sluggish and unable to run at your peak performance. However, the night before, I would ensure that you still eat a hearty meal. This way, if you load up on carbs a little beforehand, you will have even more glycogen in your body so you don't plenish it all. And, of course, keep hydrated.
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If you eat a good diet high in carbs for the week before your race you should be fine without actively carbo-loading, particularly if you take in some carbs during the race, through sports drink, gels, etc. There is some debate lately about how effective carbo-loading really is anyway. If you want to "top off your tank", go for a short, fast run the day before the race, and eat a lot of carbs for the next few hours. Realistically you shouldn't need to do that for a half-marathon anyway. Normal glycogen reserves (which is what carbs turn into) are good for about 20 miles. You're only running 13.1.
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