Thursday, March 12, 2009

Carbo Loading - "to be or not to be"

With the Condura Run 09 getting nearer each day, a great number of the running community are at present at their final stage of physical preparation for the 21K run each with their own individual goals to conquer.

As the last week of preparation approaches, a subject matter that is in the air is “Should I Carbo Load before the event? Is carbo loading just a myth? Will eating more carbohydrates the day before the event help my endurance?

In the website “It’s” a good write-up on the issue has been written which I would like to share herewith-

Answer: The expert physical panel at the 2005 Marathon Directors College said carbohydrate loading has been dropped by most serious marathoners. You should eat a normal diet with 60-70% carbohydrates the week before the marathon, but do not increase your total calories.

The Old Carbo-Loading Theory
The older regimen had endurance athletes go on low carb diet for 3 days, followed by a 70% carb diet for 3 days. This supposedly increased the glycogen in the muscles. However, it was found that eating a moderate 50% carb diet followed by 3 days of a 70% carb diet increased the glycogen just as much. And simply staying on a 50% carb diet all week still increased the glycogen, although not as much. There was NO performance difference between any of these groups.

Dangers of Carbo-Loading Pasta Party
The worst thing you can do for your marathon comfort is to load up huge plates of pasta and salad and high-fat salad dressing the night before the marathon. As one expert commented, “Constipation is unknown among marathon participants.” You don’t want the extra weight in your digestive tract the next morning. You don’t want any roughage, such as from the salad. You don’t want the extra weight, period. If you have been eating a balanced diet the week before the marathon, you have already loaded your muscles with glycogen.

How to Eat the Week Before the Marathon
As you taper your activity in the week before the marathon, you should eat a balanced diet with 60-60% carbohydrates and not overeat or under eat. If you have been on weight loss diet, increase your calories to match your basal metabolic rate.

Two Days Before the Marathon
If you want a traditional pasta party, the time to do it is 2 nights before the marathon. Do not overeat. Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Drink plenty of water. A giant bowl of pasta and a huge salad with lots of roughage are not recommended – you need moderation.

One Day Before the Marathon
Eliminate any high fiber foods and foods that cause gas, such as beans, broccoli, bran cereals, etc. If you are lactose intolerant, eliminate milk products. If spicy foods speed up your gut, eliminate them. Stick with low-residue foods and eat only enough to satisfy your basal metabolism. Eliminate alcohol and reduce caffeine to the bare minimum.

Morning of the Marathon
Many marathoners can’t eat anything before the starting gun. Whatever you choose for breakfast should be bland and high in carbohydrates and easy to digest. If you must have some coffee, have as little as possible. Drink a large glass of water 1-2 hours before the start and have nothing more to drink until the starting gun. That starts you off well-hydrated but gives you enough time to eliminate any extra.

The above article was by WENDY BUMGARDNER November 13, 2008. I find the same full of wisdom. Bottom line –Yes Carbo Load, but, do it correctly.


  1. nice post mr amado. see you at the seminar, sir!

  2. RPA- Thanks. Now you have given a problem to recall your face. It's my age na.