Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carbohydrate Loading

Are you running in the SK Marathon this Sunday in Saskatoon? Whether it is your first 10km, half marathon, or full marathon - or even if you are an experienced runner - what you eat and drink will impact your run.

With only a few days before the race hopefully you have already tried eating and drinking during your training runs so you know what you can tolerate. Many people are familiar with the term carbohydrate loading, although what it actually means for the athlete has changed in recent years. Athletes used to deprive themselves of carbohydrates while training hard and then switch to high carbohydrate to store glycogen for the race. This was physically hard on athletes and didn't make for great training leading up to race day.

Today, carbohydrate loading means tapering your training the week before the race and keeping your carbohydrate intake the same as when you were training more intensely. This means that you will be taking in more carbohydrates because you won't be burning as many. This also means that you can continue to eat meals and snacks with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low fat dairy to get the carbohydrate you need. During this taper week and carbohydrate loading phase you may see your weight increase by 1-2 kg - this is because you store water with glycogen, so this is a good thing and will help fuel you through your upcoming race.

Take advantage of the few days you have left - don't count on one massive pasta supper the night before. You can plan to eat a normal size supper and perhaps a bedtime snack (if this is what you have practiced during training) along with breakfast (again what you have practiced) on race morning.

Steph Wheler