Carb Loading: The Unsung Hero of the Marathon

I am in week 2 of my two week taper.  My marathon is days away, and I am eating all of the carbs.

Well not all of them, but I am eating way more than I normally do.  In terms of carb loading for marathons I try to keep it really simple.

  1. I eat foods that are familiar to me.  I essentially take my diet from my marathon training, and increase my carb intake, and balance the increased carbs with protein, veggies, and fats- that again- are familiar to me.  Like running in a new pair of shoes- this is not the time (in my mind) to try the new recipe you’ve been saving, or try the new thai spot down the street.
  2. Despite my work week, I totally minimize eating away from the home.  This is probably the one “OCD-ish” trait I have leading up to a marathon.  I am already someone who likes to do more cooking at home anyways (but I am a total foodie, and will eat out more during training), but I am not as open to dining out in the week leading up to the marathon.  In fact I get a little paranoid, and just prefer to be in the most control I can be leading up to 26.2.  With that being said- this coming week I will be overnighting one night for work, and be traveling during the day for 2-3 days (so stay tuned for how I shovel ~400 g of carb in my belly).
  3. I eat carbs that provide nutritional value– in addition to protein, fat, and lot’s of veggies! I am not a fan of cereal, the only exceptions here are oatmeal and grits.  I swap out my lower carb/higher protein breakfasts and add in oatmeal or grits, yogurt, whole wheat toast, and fruit (and if I get wild- pancakes).  For snacks I eat fruit and/or yogurt, and lunches and dinners I eat whole grains, and sweet potatoes, and other root veggies.  It is really easy to treat carb loading like a free for all and eat “whatever” but again- please refer back to my first point, keep it familiar, and keep it nutritious.   
    these pancakes were definitely an exception to the “nutritious” piece but by gosh they were amazing
  4. No alcohol.  I have been limiting beer for some time now, but no alcohol in the week leading up to the marathon.  I’ll have the rest of April to be a lush.
  5. Stay hydrated!  Especially this week.  It is officially “warm” in Michigan, so staying ahead of the curve with hydration is incredibly important.  With hydration it is so hard to dig yourself out, once already dehydrated, so my hydration game is going to be on point!!!

These are my really big rules, and if I have to eat out I only go to places I am super familiar with- Tropical Smoothie Cafe being one of my faves. 

Some of the things I have already made this week are below. 

Sunday Night: pasta sans zoodles- but we still had a crap ton of zucchini and mushrooms in the sauce along with ground turkey, and instead of zoodles I used polenta – and topped with some ricotta. 😉 
Monday night: salmon with soba noodles, tangerine vinaigrette, and a LOT of vegetables- which I ended up topping with some Kimchi (all about that guy health) 

I was on the road all day Tuesday which allowed for breakfast at home, and a visit for my favorite salad at Trop Smoothie- which didn’t have a lot of carb- so I ended up eating two plums, and an apple in he car as snacks. Which I am ok with. 

I’ll update again later this week with some more helpful carb loading tips. 

And yes. By next week I’ll probably be sick of carbs. 

Leave a Reply