time to carbo load

It is getting so close to marathon day!!  I am so excited, but so nervous as well.  I know that I can do this…I can finish.  I have trained so hard for this, I have given it everything that I have, so I feel more than prepared for this big day!  I have a goal in mind, but will be happy enjoying the day and finishing!

I have been doing a lot of reading up this week to try to keep my mind off of the actual run…and I have been finding some interesting reading on carbo loading and how it actually helps an athletes performance. 

The biggest mistake that a runner can do is to overeat or eat to many fatty foods the week before a big race.  Research shows that the three days leading up to a race are the most important, so it is not the time to try new foods, rich foods, cheesy foods, etc.  I normally eat a very healthy diet, with some splurges every now and then.  I always say everything in moderation, but once I started eating healthy my body stopped craving sweets.  So, now I eat them when I want and crave them…not just to eat them.

This week, my goal was to stick to my normal eating routine of mostly protein and carbs with some fat.  I added some more carbs with lunch, and a snack in the afternoon.  Today (3 days before my race), I have been trying to eat more carb-dense foods.  Some pasta is on the agenda for dinner, mixed with protein.  I will cut down the fruits and veggies a lot for the next 3 days because sometimes my tummy gets a little upset from all that I eat.

Hal Higdon has a few tips for preparing for the race on his website:

  • Weight Gain:  Runners who have properly carbo-loaded should gain about one to three pounds-but don’t panic! This weight gain is good; it reflects water weight and indicates you have done a good job of fueling your muscles. For every ounce of carb stored in your body, you store almost three ounces water.
  • Fluids: Be sure to drink extra water, juices, and even soda pop, if desired. Abstain from too much wine, beer, and alcoholic beverages; they are not only poor sources of carbs, but can also hinder your ability to perform at your best. Drink enough alcohol-free beverages to produce a significant volume of urine every two to four hours. The urine should be pale yellow, like lemonade. Don’t bother to overhydrate; your body is like a sponge and can absorb just so much fluid.
  • Protein: Many marathoners eat only carbs and totally avoid protein-rich foods the days before their event. Bad idea. Your body needs protein on a daily basis. Hence, you can and should eat a small serving of low-fat protein-such as poached eggs, yogurt, turkey, or chicken-as the accompaniment to most meals (not the main focus), or plant proteins such as beans and lentils (as tolerated).
  • Event Day: Carb-loading is just part of the fueling plan! What you eat on marathon day is critically important and helps to spare your limited muscle glycogen stores. By fueling yourself wisely both before and during the event, you can enjoy miles of smiles.

Off to carbo load!!

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