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Carb loading for Marathon

Just recently I have been reading up on carb loading for endurance running. I am a newbie to Tri so this winter I have decided to enter the Paris marathon in April 09 as a good way of establishing a decent training base.

Having now completed several half marathons etc on this trip, I have decided to look into my nutritional requirements for the race, one subject that keeps rearing its head is 'Carb loading'. Can someone please let me know what is the best method to carb load prior to an event?

Currently I am taking gel shots on the run and tend to have a carb shake prior, but wanted to know that my body was sufficiently full to avoid hitting the wall. - Any advise would be appreciated! Thanks all!!!


  • Please some advise would go along way here - I appreciate my request is all a little garbled but hearing the opinion of people have gone through this Carb loading effort would be invaluable!


  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Its mostly about complex carbs. Pasta is ideal. You need to balnca your protein intake with the carbs, I dont know the whole ins and outs and have not done it for a marathon but a colleague of mine has and we discussed alot. You will need to be building up your carb intake as you train so that its not just chucked in at the end of the traing as the marathon looms. Dont forget to buiuld up your water reserves as well. Akk those carbs wont help we you are dehydrated.

    good luck
  • EdstgEdstg Posts: 83
    i recently had the privelege of meeting chrissie wellington(double ironman world champ and general endurance sport heroine) She said she cuts out fibre a couple of days before the race then the night before eats a tub of ice cream?(we didn't go into flavours) apparently it has a very good balance of carbs and fat, she is not the only one to do this among the elite field. On the morning she has 3 english muffins with cream cheese. Sounds weird and i certainly haven't tried it especially in this weather but if it works for her then who can argue. She also gives up caffeine for a week before a race then drops pro plus during the race and has a caffeine gel on her bike... I hope this helps...

  • Thanks very much for the advise, I think even I can cop[e with eating a tub of ice cream the night before the race!


  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Don't do the carbo-loading too fanatically for shorter events like a half marathon. Danger of overloading is present, aka carrying too much dead weight.

    If you carry gels like you say during such event, that will be sufficient.

    (it is for me, try it in a race simulation before the real one).
  • The basic rule "used" to be starving yourself of carbs for 3 days and then eating huge amounts of carbs to 'supercompensate' your Carb levels. However in the early 90's they discovered that you didnt need to starve yourself of the carbs, simply eat more for 2 days before the event. Choose your carbohydrates well, i am not a fan of dried pasta, and you get a better energy yield from brown rice (although the peak is not as high the length of energy curve is longer than white rice)

    remember this golden rule, without water you cannot metabolise the carbohydrate into muscle glycogen so hydration is very very important and is my prime issue with gels as they can very easilly dehydrate you rather than giving you more energy.

    I am really not sure about the ice cream thing, it doesnt stack up theoretically, but if psychologically you think it will work, this is often a bigger performance enhancer than the actual nutrition itself and you cant argue with Chrissies credentials on performance.....

    I hope this helps, and will happily go into more detail if needed.
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